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Mike Richards, buyout candidate?

May 28, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Three Getty Images

We’ve already written plenty on the possibility of the Rangers using a compliance buyout on Brad Richards this summer. Turns out there’s another veteran center with the last name Richards — also on a team still very much alive in these playoffs — who’s garnering some buyout buzz.

From the Globe and Mail’s

Here’s a question that Kings’ general manager Dean Lombardi will need to answer this off-season: Does he offer Mike Richards a compliance buyout because the speed of the game has passed him by? Or does the fact that Richards seems to do so much better in the playoffs than the regular season make him safe? Lombardi tends to be like a lot of GMs – intensely loyal to the core group that helped him win. But unlike Jeff Carter, who has gotten better and better in his time in L.A., Richards has really struggled.

The Kings have yet to use either of their two compliance buyouts. Their last chance to do so will come in June. In Richards’ case, it would cost the club $19.3 million over 12 years (per CapGeek), but his cap hit — $5.75 million through 2019-20 — would be gone forever, which is the key.

Especially if the Kings hope to re-sign Marian Gaborik.

Not to mention, Anze Kopitar only has two years left on his deal before he can become an unrestricted free agent, while Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll can become UFAs next summer.

Richards has just two goals and four assists in these playoffs, while logging only 15:18 of ice time per game. When the Kings won the Cup in 2012, he averaged 19:31 and racked up 15 points.

Yes, he could still be a useful player on an NHL team. And at 29, he’s not exactly old. If there was no salary cap, this wouldn’t be a discussion, since at the very least he could be traded.

Come to think of it, could he be traded? Richards has $29 million in actual salary remaining on his contract, spread over six years. It’s not out of the question that a team would take that on, perhaps if it could send some salary back.

That is, if the Kings do actually decide his cap hit is too much for what he’s giving them. Depth down the middle is a great thing to have. In fact, it’s one of the reasons L.A. is one win from eliminating the defending champs and advancing to the Cup final. Even if it’s expensive.

  1. canucks30 - May 28, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    If they don’t want him, we’ll take him.

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 28, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      I dont think richards can skate in the WEST

  2. pirovash88 - May 28, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    I think it’ll depends on how the Kings finish the rest of the playoffs. If some changes need to me made to this core group, then Richards will probably be on that list of buyouts or trades, etc.

  3. mweekes22 - May 28, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    There’s a reason this guy has been dropped to the fourth line in these playoffs. The Kings run a more defensive system than the Flyers did when Richards was in Philly so I didn’t expect him to put up the same regular season numbers. At times he has played well in the playoffs but his contract is too much for his lack of production. The guy was non existent last year and this year in the regular season and he’s not scoring whatsoever. The guy has an attitude and even though he was part of our cup winning team, I think philly got the better end of the trade getting simmonds and schenn.

    • pirovash88 - May 28, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      At the end of the day, it’s all about winning the Cup. Which is something that he was a big part of bringing to LA in 2012, so i wouldn’t exactly say that Philly got the better end of the deal.

  4. arb927 - May 28, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    You know every Philly fan would love to see him back especially if he would be willing to play alongside coots and read

    • WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - May 28, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      Not this Flyers fan

    • phillyphever - May 28, 2014 at 7:54 PM

      Nah, they need to stop looking at the past and move on. Plus, we’re in cap hell right now and need Dmen more than another center.

    • caspermilktoast - May 29, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      The only time his best performance in Philly was in Olde City after the games or down the shore in the summer with Carter chasing skirts and belting down the brews. Lavi wanted them to dry out and they refused. Richards doesn’t really have an upside anymore. Good player – but for how long?

  5. ravenscaps48 - May 28, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Kopitar a free agent? Cha-CHING!

  6. canucks30 - May 28, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Couldn’t care less about his lack of production (although, I’ve ripped him for this before) because all he does is win.

    A team with Mike Richards on it is usually a winning team.

  7. 19to77 - May 28, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    He’s not likely to improve over the next six years. That cap hit is probably only going to look worse as time goes on. Still, I don’t believe it’s necessary to go the buyout route – there are some teams that could use leadership and centre depth badly enough to risk overpaying him somewhat. Edmonton, Toronto, Buffalo, Calgary, Florida… it’s worth kicking the tires before considering the buyout option, anyway. Always better to get even a fairly small return than pay a man to play somewhere else.

    • canucks30 - May 28, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      You mean there’s still hope the Canucks can trade the decaying carcass of David Booth?

      • 19to77 - May 28, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        Booth lacks Richards’ versatility. Richards is a centre, he plays a physical game, he’s useable at both ends of the ice, and he’s always been noted for his leadership ability – hence being named the Flyers’ captain at just 23 years old. I figure he’s over the hill, but there’s always a GM or two out there who believe in reclamation projects. Someone might think he’s worth the risk. The worst outcome there is that nobody’s interested and they end up having to buy him out. It’s at least worth trying.

      • imleftcoast - May 28, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        Booth is a weird guy. And that’s in Tort’s opinion. Mr. Shot block. Maybe the Canucks could get Vanek.

    • flyboystransport - May 28, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      Leadership and Richards shouldn’t be used in the same sentence. Go back and read some of the problems he had in philly. If he wasn’t traded he would’ve been stripped of his captaincy

  8. thefutureofoil - May 28, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Yes, Richards may be a candidate to be bought out, but referencing his time on ice is a bit misleading. The Kings actually do roll four lines a game so while Kopitar will have 19 to 20 minutes, the other centers will have anywhere from 14 to 18 a night depending on who is hot. This isn’t a team where the top two lines play all the time and the bottom two don’t see the ice much. In fact, Richards even plays on the power play which no other “fourth line” center in the league does.

    Still could definitely be bought out, but I’ll be there will be a line of teams waiting to pick him up. Teams need heart like San Jose and Vancouver come to mind…

  9. flyerspsu - May 28, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    I’m as big of a fan of Richards as anyone but id still buy him out, at this point in his career he’s a great bottom 6 gritty character guy that shows up in the playoffs, but at 5.75 mil a year til 2020 and how much his play has declined it would be smart to buy him out, it would also be smart for all other 29 teams to go after him at a cheaper short term deal, the guy flat out wins, but at his production his price isn’t worth it anymore

  10. theageofquarrel - May 28, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Useless and kinda washed up? Perfect candidate for a 5 yr. 40 mil. contract from Philly.

    • newgod99 - May 28, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      Or Toronto

    • mcphillthy - May 29, 2014 at 7:13 AM

      Hahahaha. It’s a good thing hexy took over otherwise homer would have resigned him. Probably for more than his original contract was worth

  11. krebsy34 - May 28, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    They highlighted him on his backcheck in coaches corner 2 nights ago when they were up 4-1. Yes he’s a 5 mil cap hit, but what he brings to the table other than scoring is something that can’t be measured. There is a reason he’s an assistant capt and a former capt of the Flyers. If he gets bought out I don’t see a team in the league that wouldn’t come calling.

  12. c9castine - May 28, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    thats a lot of money for his role. he sacrificed his production and individual achievements for team success, but now his team is stuck with a large salary that me see him have to go elsewhere.

    or maybe the Kings, win or lose, need him to fill a more mike richards like role next year with the inevitable player changes.

  13. flyboystransport - May 28, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    He has a nmc so he isn’t gonna get traded unless it’s somewhere he wants to go

  14. chrisk61 - May 29, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    i love mike richards, but it appears his long-term, excessive drinking has caught up with him.

  15. chrisk61 - May 29, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    and — i don’t follow the kings much — perhaps his concussion in last yr’s playoffs has affected his play long term

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