The New York Rangers bought out the last six years of forward Brad Richards' contract, ESPN.com reported Friday.
Richards, 34, was a key member of the team but his $6.67 million salary cap hit was too much for the Rangers.
Richards was in a nine-year, $60 million deal.
The Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, but need to cut salary to continue to be contenders. They have a significant amount of money in long-term contracts to goalie Henrik Lundqvist and defenseman Dan Girardi, and plan to give raises to several restricted free agents.
Richards has a no-movement clause in his contract so he did not have to pass through waivers. The team owes him $12.6 million over the next 12 years and another $8 million over the next three seasons since signing bonuses cannot be bought out.
Richards will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He had 20 goals and 31 assists last season. He added 12 points in the playoffs.