Kings’ Lombardi on Richards: ‘There’s very much a possibility he’ll be back’

22 Comments

Following his demotion to the American Hockey League in late January, Mike Richards has put together three goals and 14 points in 16 games with the Manchester Monarchs.

The production has Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi talking about a possible recall for the 30-year-old.

“We’re running him through some tests right now,” Lombardi told Sportsnet on Thursday. “I mean, the one thing about Michael everybody knows, when there’s big games or critical moments, he’s always there. And we just gotta get him up to that capacity to be able to do that.

“But there’s very much a possibility he’ll be back.”

Prior to being demoted, Richards was having one of the worst seasons of his career. He had just five goals and 15 points to go along with a minus-7 rating in 47 games while averaging a career-low 13:42 in ice time.

Richards carries a $5.75 million cap hit in the NHL and has another five seasons remaining on his deal.

If his AHL production can translate back to the NHL level it’d be beneficial for all parties involved.

“The only thing I can say about this group, it’s been a group that’s essentially been together now for five years and they never let themselves down, they never quit,” Lombardi said. “They almost like having their backs against the wall. The one way you’re able to sleep at night is you know they’re a group that cares.

“That’s our strongest asset in terms of this team is 20 guys who care about each other and either way you know they’re going to be out there fighting.”

Richards is certainly a part of that group and could be an asset if he can rediscover his game at the NHL level.

Related: Quick silences Canucks to push Kings into Wild Card spot