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.
I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.
— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie