The first noteworthy news item following Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game is brought to us by the Los Angeles Kings.
The defending Stanley Cup champions reportedly have put center Mike Richards on waivers, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Richards has tallied just 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 47 games this season. The 29-year-old veteran has become more of a fourth-line center over the last year and his 13:42 of ice time per game this campaign is the lowest of his NHL career.
After tallying an impressive 32 points during the lockout-shortened 48-game 2012-13 season, Richards posted just 41 points in 82 games last season. Basically, Richards’ on-ice production doesn’t match his contract, which carries a $5.75 million salary cap hit for the next five seasons.
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The current collective bargaining agreement also makes Richards’ contract more of a problem for L.A.
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Richards was acquired by Los Angeles in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia Flyers following the 2010-11 season. He played a key role in the Kings winning Stanley Cup titles in 2011-12 and 2013-14.
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UPDATE (9:40 p.m.): Kings general manager Dean Lombardi confirmed to ESPN.com that Richards had been placed on waivers and would be sent to the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs if he clears at the noon Tuesday deadline.
“I don’t expect him to get picked up on waivers,” Lombardi said. “But there’s still time here. He knows what he has to do. That part I am not questioning. The way the schedule is down there, it allows him to get his innings in and conceivably he could be back here. That’s the way we’re approaching this. That’s the short term.”
ESPN.com cited sources in reporting that the Kings discussed a possible Richards trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets, among others. Lombardi said he did have those talks: “There were a few things, but I don’t think they were attractive.”
Thumbnail photo via USA TODAY Sports Images