Los Angeles Kings

NHLPA reviewing Richards situation, determining course of action

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The Los Angeles Kings decision to terminate the remainder of Mike Richards’ contract rather than buy it out may have sparked a battle between the league and union, but the NHLPA isn’t ready to commit to anything yet.

“We are in the process of reviewing the facts and circumstances of this matter and will discuss the situation with the player in order to determine the appropriate course of action,” the players’ association said in a statement, per the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott.

As previously noted Richards is now a free agent in the eyes of the NHL and the Kings are free of any buyout penalty. However, many expect the NHLPA to ultimately dispute that position. It can take months of even years for grievances to be settled, but an expedited hearing might lead to a resolution in a matter of days or weeks, per Bob McKenzie.

It’s also worth noting that even if it’s ruled that the Kings were allowed to terminate Richards’ contract, he might not be entirely off the books.

By contrast, a buyout would have cost the Kings roughly $14.7 million in total cap space over 10 seasons. At its peak, the Kings would have been saddled with a $4.2 million annual cap penalty for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.

What’s next for Mike Richards and the Kings?

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The Los Angeles Kings’ decision to terminate – rather than buy out – Mike Richards’ contract is startling. It’s also a lot to wrap your head around, even without knowing how Richards allegedly “breached” his contract.

The situation generated a lot of interesting observations and speculation on Twitter, so consider this post an early look at what might happen next.

Considering the lack of specifics at hand, let’s focus more on the hockey implications rather than pondering legalities in too much depth.

Los Angeles’ cap situation

Richards’ $5.75 million cap hit is a huge concern, and one wonders about the sort of loopholes that might be exposed here. TSN’s Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston report that the Kings may operate as if the cap restriction has been lifted:

Simon Feenix brings up an interesting question on Twitter, too: what about the Kings’ attempts to trade Richards? Could that get into a fuzzy area, too?

Richards is a free agent, though a grievance may come

Obviously, the 30-year-old forward is likely to file a grievance through the NHLPA, though McKenzie rightly notes that it would be tough to get a resolution before free agency kicks off on Wednesday:

Richards can sign a free agent deal elsewhere, yet this situation is far from over. It might not go well for him in the long run, though.

Precedent-setting?

There have been some interesting questions surfacing regarding how this situation may set a precedent or two – maybe an ugly one, too – for future buyout and cap situations.

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Time will tell on a number of these issues, whether we find out the particulars of the contract breach or not. Regardless, hockey fans might have their eyes on the screen if Richards plays against the Kings in 2015-16.

Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’

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Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi isn’t shy about making some big gambles, but the franchise still raised some eyebrows regarding Mike Richards’ contract.

Instead of announcing a buyout as expected, the team terminated his contract, as this statement reveals:

“The Los Angeles Kings today have exercised the team’s right to terminate the contract of Mike Richards for a material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player’s Contract. We are not prepared to provide any more detail or to discuss the underlying grounds for the contract termination at this time.”

Obviously, they’re not sharing any additional information, yet it implies that they’re attempting to circumvent the hefty buyout fee involved with getting rid of Richards.

We’ll see if additional details emerge, yet it’s especially interesting considering the loyalty-leaning comments from Lombardi regarding why he kept Richards in the first place.

And here we were, thinking that the most interesting part of this situation would involve Richards as a free agent …

For more on the fallout and salary cap implications, click here.

Buyouts loom as Richards, Parenteau and Fistric clear unconditional waivers

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Significant buyouts appear to be mere formalities after Mike Richards (Los Angeles Kings), P.A. Parenteau (Montreal Canadiens) and Mark Fistric (Anaheim Ducks) cleared unconditional waivers on Monday. That word comes from a variety of sources, including TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Using CapFriendly’s buyout calculator, here’s how each buyout is expected to impact their respective teams:

Richards for the Kings: $1.22 million cap hit for each season through 2024-25; his two-thirds buyout will total $14.667 million.

Parenteau for the Canadiens: The total buyout cost is $2.667 million, with a cap hit of $1.33 million for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

The Canadiens already made the Parenteau buyout official. Here is GM Marc Bergevin’s statement:

“I would like to thank Pierre-Alexandre for his time as a Montreal Canadien and wish him the best with his career,” Bergevin said. “It was a difficult decision to make, but we feel it gives us more flexibility as we continue to improve our club and provide our young prospects with an opportunity to earn a spot on our roster.”

Here is Parenteau’s statement:

Fistric for the Ducks: Total buyout cost: $1.8 million; cap hit of $516K for 2015-16, $217K for 2016-17, 450K for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Note: cap hits are rounded up when appropriate.

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Once we digest what this means for the three teams, the obvious follow-up question is quite enticing: what kind of interest will Richards, Parenteau and Fistric drum up on the free agent market?

Preds’ Clune clears waivers, buyout coming

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Predators forward Rich Clune cleared unconditional waivers on Sunday and will likely be bought out by Nashville.

Clune has one year remaining on his two-year, $1.7 million deal with a cap hit of $850,000.

According to Capfriendly.com, the buyout will cost the Preds $283,333 in each of the next two seasons.

“I’m very grateful for my years playing for the Nashville Predators,” Clune said via Twitter. I want to thank David Poile and the rest of the staff for everything. Most important my teammates and the fans mean the world to me. Thank you.

“Nothing changes, I plan on playing in the NHL next season and will continue my rigorous training regimen out in Los Angeles this off season.”

Clune spent most of the 2014-15 season with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals scoring six goals and 17 points to go along with 181 penalty minutes.

Parenteau, Fistric land on unconditional waivers

In addition to Mike Richards, Ducks’ defenseman Mark Fistric and Habs’ forward P.A. Parenteau have also been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout.

Fistric’s buyout will cost the Ducks $1.8 million over the next four years while Parenteau will cost the Habs $1.3 million each of the next two seasons.