Richards, 33, struggled late in the season as the veteran forward was demoted to the fourth line before he was made a healthy scratch in the final two games of the team’s second-round series loss against the Boston Bruins.
The 2003-04 Conn Smythe winner scored 11 goals and 23 assists in 46 games in his second season with the club.
Richards is scheduled to have a salary cap hit of 6.66 million until the 2019-20 season – which is why he was considered to be a legitimate buyout candidate.
The Rangers let go of longtime bench boss John Tortorella after the team was eliminated from the post-season. As a result, the club brought in new head coach Alain Vigneault, who may want to see what he can get out of the high-priced forward.
New York used their first of their two possible buyouts before the start of the season on defenceman Wade Redden.
They have until next season to use their remaining buyout or they could suffer serious cap issues if Richards decides to retire before the end of his contract.
By keeping Brad Richards, the #NYR leave themselves open to potential cap recapture penalties if he retires before 2019.