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Kings won’t buy out Mike Richards

Jun 20, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT

From Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times:

The Mike Richards compliance-buyout speculation peaked in the playoffs when the 29-year-old found himself centering the Kings’ fourth line — not a typical assignment for a guy with a $69 million contract.

Richards finished the postseason with three goals and seven assists while logging 15:33 of ice time per game, down significantly from the 19:31 he averaged in the 2012 playoffs.

Still, Richards has helped the Kings to two Stanley Cups since being traded from Philadelphia in 2011. He’s a leader on a very tight-knit, successful team.

“We like each other. We love each other,” said defenseman Alec Martinez after scoring the Cup-winning goal a week ago.

“From what guys say that have played elsewhere, what we have here is pretty special, in terms of guys really liking each other, and that’s a testament to [general manager Dean Lombardi] putting together a group of guys like that.”

Now, we suppose it’s still possible that Richards (and his $5.75 million cap hit through 2019-20) is traded. The Kings would no doubt like to re-sign Marian Gaborik. Also, Anze Kopitar only has two years left on his deal before he can become an unrestricted free agent, and Justin Williams and Jarret Stoll can become UFAs next summer, the same time youngsters Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson, and Kyle Clifford will need new deals.

For now, though, Richards remains a King.


“The biggest thing in the meeting with Michael – the important thing – is that he realized he’s going to have to make some adjustments in his offseason training,” Lombardi told the LA Times today.

“He’s 29. In his prime. So it’s not as though the dropoff should be related to age. But players need to realize when you start getting 27, 28 — you can’t train, can’t prepare like you use to when you were 22 or 23.”

  1. canucks30 - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    Why buy him out, when you can trade him?

    Even at his salary, some teams will be interested.

  2. lowenni - Jun 20, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Sounds like they think fitness was an issue. Interesting, as I thought he was just slowing down with age, but I mistakenly thought he was older than 29. If he trains harder this summer he should be able to come back in good form. He may not be worth nearly 6 mil, but with his leadership and two-way play, plus being good for 40+ points, there isn’t huge reason to buy him out. If he doesn’t work out again next season I’m sure a team like Buffalo, Calgary, or Florida would be willing to take him on for leadership.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      The Flames leadership improved greatly this year with Giordano as the captain, he runs the ship in that locker room, if they trade for Richards it would be as an upgrade on skill not to improve leadership.

      • lowenni - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:12 PM

        You can never have too much leadership. I completely agree that Giordano provides great leadership (although he’s been with the team for several seasons so I don’t know if that would be an improvement), but tell me that Mike Richards wouldn’t be a hell of an example for Sean Monahan, a great two-way forward in the making, to look up to. Richards would be both an upgrade of skill and leadership, just by being who he is, and while I absolutely love Mark Giordano, Richards does have two more rings on his hand than Giordano does.

    • namriverrat69 - Jun 22, 2014 at 3:28 AM

      Fitness became an issue in Philly. He was excising his elbow lifting those beers more than he was working out. They saw a future alcoholic on their hands. The Kings have gotten two Cups out of him as he has drifted to 4th line center, but if he continues to decline it will be the result of and confirmation that he is an full blown out of control alcoholic losing his skills due to his illness. I hope he can overcome the disease.


  3. DED - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    The Kings seem to have enough cap space to get Gaborik and Mitchell back on board. Why not just stick with the current lineup and take a shot at repeating before dismantling what was/is a winning team? Next summer (or trade deadline if things surprisingly go south) they can worry about all of the free agents and re-tool accordingly then. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    I’m not a Kings fan; Rangers fan, actually. No hard feelings about losing to them.

    • aldog83 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:01 AM

      I like this move.

      Dean Lombardi means what he says.

      He is dedicated to keeping the KINGS a winner….

      For Stanley Cups.

      And if why break up a good thing.

      Very few teams find a combination to have a 3 year run like this.

      If he sees something wrong…..

      I’m sure he will fix it and not comprise the culture he has created.

      No excuses and a commitment to great things.

      Lombardi knows what he came into, what he has created, and what he expects in the future.

      Thank you Dean, your emotion in the “rally speech” says it all.

      As fans you have given all KINGS fans MORE that we could have dreamed of in a lifetime.

      You have cemented the support of this fan base under your leadership.


  4. flyboystransport - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Hmmmm off-season training issues huh? Could a swore that was one of the issues in philly

    • iowa02 - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      Shhhhhh….don’t say things like that. They are not true. Also don’t about how out of shape he was coming back from the lockout and has not bounced back from that.

      • flyboystransport - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        Well maybe instead of partying he should of been training?????

  5. sjtorpitt - Jun 20, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Wow. I’m actually surprised he’s still under 30. Seems like he’s been around for a while.

    • 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      Makes sense. He made his NHL debut at 20, hit 75 points two years later. Was the Flyers’ captain by 23. Only a handful of players from the 2003 draft have played more than him.

  6. hockeydon10 - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Doesn’t Chelios still do his insane workouts with some NHLers in the bay area? Should be a no-brainer for someone like Richards when it’s a quick charter flight away to get that edge back.

  7. petersteelewannabe - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    To Mike Richards detractors I say this; underestimate him and his desire & abilities to your own peril. The dude is a Winner, plain and simple.

    • flyboystransport - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      In both of the kings cup wins he was nothing more than a role player. If what you say is true he wins cups with the flyers and never gets traded

      • mcphillthy - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        Damn right. I agree. Richie showed he can dominate when he wanted to. The problem was he stopped wanting to. He gave less and less effort but every day you saw new pictures of Richie, carter, and even carcillo out at the club.
        His priorities were way off track. But he was young, rich, and famous. He couldn’t resist. Lavy even tried to have a ‘dry island’ and Richie wouldn’t sign his name to commit. That is not leadership. He is not a leader and Philly figured it out

  8. robocop3999 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:17 AM

    Good choice L.A. Mike Richards is a winner.

  9. chrisk61 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    lombardi translation: quit drinking so much.

    which is what laviolette tried yrs ago when richards was a flyers.

    richards is a gamer. bottom line. he seemed to be on the ice a lot during OT in the scf. generally he won’t make the big mistake and turn the puck over, can gain possession via a turnover and can create the game winning play.

  10. johnmr12 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    If he comes into camp in shape with a focus on playing hockey, he won’t be centering the 4th line, and he will justify MOST of his salary. Otherwise, we are paying him to play in the post season.

  11. ronniethec - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    Last 3 years with Richards…. 10 out of 11 playoff series wins and 2 cups. Keep him!

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (2088)
  2. P. Kessel (1527)
  3. M. Richards (1340)
  4. N. Backstrom (1237)
  5. M. Giordano (1139)