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 such a privilege to be one of these 80 great players to do this milestone, and it doesn't get better than this doing it where I started. It means a lot to me. A big thanks goes to all the players tonight who helped me to achieve that and also all the players through my career.
— Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa after scoring his 1,000th career point on Thursday night in Ottawa