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.