The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards appear to have finally, officially, put an end to the contract termination saga.
According to a report from TSN’s Rick Westhead, the Kings and Richards have reached a settlement regarding the termination of Richards’ contract in June, citing a “material breach.” In August, the NHLPA filed a grievance against the Kings on Richards’ behalf, but no hearing had taken place. Nothing has been officially released from the Kings, but Westhead added that the settlement is likely to be announced today.
The termination came following a June incident at the U.S.-Canada border-crossing in Emerson, Man., where Richards was allegedly found to be in possession of a controlled substance, which led to Manitoba RCMP charging Richards on Aug. 27.
At the time of his termination, Richards was owed 22 million over the final five years of a 12-year, $69-million contract he signed in 2007 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. Before the termination, it appeared the Kings were prepared to use a buyout on Richards, though it was also reported that the center was the center of trade talks during the June draft before Kings GM Dean Lombardi put a halt to those discussions.
Leading up to his contract termination, Richards had had the worst season of his career, scoring just five times and amassing 16 points in 53 games.
It’s possible that Richards, 30, could now find a place in the league. After spending the entire off-season as an unrestricted free agent, Richards has had the contract termination hanging over his head and didn’t sign so much as a PTO during the off-season. However, Richards’ legal status could put a damper on the interest teams have in inking the veteran pivot.
Over a 710-game career, Richards has potted 179 goals and 482 points and was a part of both of the Kings Stanley Cup championship squads. In January of the 2014-15 campaign, Richards was demoted to the AHL and played 16 games with the Manchester Monarchs.