The Los Angeles Kings suffered a 1-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night on the strength of a Tyler Ennis power-play goal. After the contest, Kings coach Darryl Sutter made it clear that he needed more from Mike Richards on that play.
“It’s a bad play by Mike Richards,” Sutter said, per LA Kings Insider. “You can’t drop off. It’s a set play for us. You can’t drop off in the corner unless we have full control. You’ve got to cover the middle of the ice.”
You can see the goal in question below:
There was rampant speculation after the Los Angeles Kings’ 2014 Stanley Cup championship that Richards would be subject to an amnesty buyout in light of his diminishing role with the team. However, GM Dean Lombardi shot down that notion.
It was understandable for Lombardi to want to keep this team together as much as possible given the success the Kings have enjoyed in recent years. At the same time, Richards has 10 points in 28 contests and is averaging just 14:35 minutes per game. True, the Kings are deep up the middle, but that’s still not much playing time for a forward that comes with a $5.75 million annual cap hit through 2019-20.