There had been speculation the club would use its second and final compliance buyout to terminate the final seven seasons of Richards' contract, which runs through the 2019-20 season with a salary-cap charge of just over $6.67 million per season.
Richards had 34 points in 46 regular-season games but struggled in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scoring one goal in 10 games and finding himself a healthy scratch for the final two games of the conference semifinals against the Boston Bruins.
The Rangers used their first compliance buyout on defenseman Wade Redden prior to the 2012-13 season.
It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.
— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness