There will not be a LeBron James-style countdown to July 1, and there certainly will not be an hour-long television show devoted to its conclusion, but once again, there is a singular focus of free agency at Madison Square Garden.

While nobody mentioned Brad Richards by name at the Rangers' breakup day Monday in Greenburgh, the Blueshirts' plan to address John Tortorella's declaration that they need to add skill following their first-round playoff loss to the Washington Capitals could not have been clearer.

"It doesn't have to be a trade," Tortorella said Monday. "If that right piece is there, maybe in free agency, yeah. I think we - I felt we really stuck with it through the trading deadline this year, we kept our kids, and the kids kept on growing. So I think our foundation has grown, and there is a chance to add that piece to our foundation that isn't a kid, that will help you in a position, then sure. And let's not upset the building process and get rid of all our kids for a maybe."

The Rangers refused to meet the Dallas Stars' exorbitant asking price for Richards at the trade deadline. The center, who turns 31 next month, would hardly qualify as a "maybe" to Tortorella after Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy for his Stanley Cup-winning Lightning in 2004.

Richards would address two needs for the Rangers, primarily finding a consistent center for Marian Gaborik, who dropped from 42 goals in his first year on Broadway to 22 this season, and issued a plea Monday for the Rangers to provide him with help in getting back to an elite level.