"He's a really good player. I think he had an off year, and we think he'll be much better next year, so that's the deciding factor [in bringing him back]," said Sather, who in 2011 signed Richards to a nine-year contract worth $58.5 million.
In his second season of the deal, Richards had 34 points in 46 regular-season games. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he had one goal in 10 games and was a healthy scratch in the final two games of a five-game loss to the Boston Bruins.
He has 816 points in 900 NHL regular-season games, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004 when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup.
Though Richards wasn't bought out this summer, there is speculation the Rangers may still buy out the center's contract next summer. They will have one more compliance buyout and could look to clear money for new contracts for goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, defenseman Dan Girardi, captain Ryan Callahan and center Derick Brassard.