Tag: Mike Richards

Willie Mitchell

Kings won’t re-sign Willie Mitchell


The Los Angeles Kings decided against buying out Mike Richards, they signed Marian Gaborik to a seven-year deal and locked up Matt Greene.

All those moves were made in the interest of keeping the Kings’ Stanley Cup-winning team intact, but their cap situation would only allow for them to go so far. It looks like 37-year-old defenseman Willie Mitchell will be the odd man out as the team doesn’t feel they have the space left to sign him, per LA Kings Insider.

The Kings are close to the ceiling, but that likely wasn’t the only consideration. They already have six blueliners signed to one-way contracts now that Matt Greene is under contract and that doesn’t include restricted free agent Brayden McNabb, who might start the season with the team.

It’s also believed that Mitchell wants a two-year deal, which might have made the Kings nervous given his age. It would have also complicated matters next summer as Kyle Clifford, Tanner Pearson, and Tyler Toffoli will all need to be re-signed at that point.

Lombardi didn’t want to lose ‘special ingredient’ by buying out Richards

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings couldn’t afford to take the decision of whether or not to keep Mike Richards lightly. This summer represented their last chance to use a compliance buyout on him and entirely shed his $5.75 million annual cap hit through 2019-20.

Richards is coming off a rough season and spent some time on the fourth line during the playoffs, so if the status quo persists, then his contract will become an obstacle. All the same, Kings GM Dean Lombardi decided to keep Richards, in part because Richards’ self-analysis following the season was accurate, but also because it wasn’t that long ago Lombardi saw firsthand what Richards can bring to the table.

“We don’t win the first Cup without him,” Lombardi told ESPN.

When Richards joined them, the Kings hadn’t won a playoff series since 2001, but he played a pivotal role in the Kings beating the Presidents’ Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2011 postseason. As Lombardi put it, Richards taught the Kings how to win in the playoffs and since then, they have been one of the best postseason squads in the league.

“You’re loathe to ever give up on that kind of player, it’s very difficult to find that special ingredient,” Lombardi said. “Even through his negatives this year, who rises to the occasion in the end? Time and again he shows up at critical moments.”

The Kings would rather have a guy who steps up in the playoffs rather than a regular season star. That speaks to the way the team operates as they’ve won the Stanley Cup twice in three years without so much as earning a division title in the process.

Richards wasn’t particularly good in either situation in 2013-14 and now Lombardi has to hope his continued trust in him isn’t misplaced.

Patrice Bergeron wins second career Selke

Patrice Bergeron

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron won the 2014 Frank J. Selke Trophy on Tuesday, his second such victory in the last three seasons.

The two-way forward continues to distinguish himself as one of the top defensive pivots in the game after gaining mainstream recognition as the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Bergeron, 28, also came in second place in Selke voting to Jonathan Toews in 2013.

Speaking of Toews, the Chicago Blackhawks star joined Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar as the other Selke nominees.

Here are the voting results for the award, cutting off at the top 10:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 1,283 (112-21-2-2-0)
2. Anze Kopitar, LA 840 (20-66-26-15-3)
3. Jonathan Toews, CHI 624 (2-36-57-20-7)
4. David Backes, STL 415 (3-5-31-59-18)
5. Marian Hossa, CHI 66 (0-5-2-2-15)
6. Ryan O’Reilly, COL 58 (0-0-3-10-13)
7. Tomas Plekanec, MTL 45 (0-0-4-5-10)
8. Joe Pavelski, SJ 32 (0-0-2-3-13)
9. Sean Couturier, PHI 30 (0-1-2-1-10)
10. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 22 (0-1-1-2-4)

As you can see, Bergeron received a significant portion of the votes. Here’s a list of the Selke winners and second-place finishers since 1990:

Year Winner Runner-up
2014 Patrice Bergeron, Bos. Anze Kopitar, L.A.
2013 Jonathan Toews, Chi. Patrice Bergeron, Bos.
2012 Patrice Bergeron, Bos. David Backes, St.L
2011 Ryan Kesler, Van. Jonathan Toews, Chi.
2010 Pavel Datsyuk, Det. Ryan Kesler, Van.
2009 Pavel Datsyuk, Det Mike Richards, Phi.
2008 Pavel Datsyuk, Det. John Madden, N.J.
2007 Rod Brind’Amour, Car. Samuel Pahlsson, Ana.
2006 Rod Brind’Amour, Car. Jere Lehtinen, Dal.
2004 Kris Draper, Det. John Madden, N.J.
2003 Jere Lehtinen, Dal. John Madden, N.J.
2002 Michael Peca, NYI Craig Conroy, Cgy.
2001 John Madden, N.J. Joe Sakic, Col.
2000 Steve Yzerman, Det. Michal Handzus St.L
1999 Jere Lehtinen, Dal. Magnus Arvedson, Ott.
1998 Jere Lehtinen, Dal. Michael Peca, Buf.
1997 Michael Peca, Buf. Peter Forsberg, Col.
1996 Sergei Fedorov, Det. Ron Francis, Pit.
1995 Ron Francis, Pit. Esa Tikkanen, St.L
1994 Sergei Fedorov, Det. Doug Gilmour, Tor.
1993 Doug Gilmour, Tor. Dave Poulin, Bos.
1992 Guy Carbonneau, Mtl. Sergei Fedorov, Det.
1991 Dirk Graham, Chi. Esa Tikkanen, Edm.
1990 Rick Meagher, St.L Guy Carbonneau, Mtl.

Report: Kings make Gaborik a three-year offer


The Los Angeles Kings would like to re-sign Marian Gaborik, but they might not have the cap space to pull that off following their decision not to buy out Mike Richards.

All the same, the Kings are at least giving it a shot by offering him a three-year, $15 million contract, according to the Toronto Sun. Gaborik, 32, is coming off of a five-year, $37.5 million deal.

Assuming the report is true, it would both represent a significant pay cut for Gaborik and also less than he’d likely get on the open market. Gaborik’s lengthy injury history is a source of concern that might hurt his bottom line, but he would still be one of the best free agents available and is coming off of a great playoff run.

At the same time, he just won the Stanley Cup with the Kings and they’re likely to stay competitive for years to come, so maybe he will be willing to take less to stay in that situation.


UFA of the Day: Marian Gaborik

Kings won’t buy out Mike Richards

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

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.”