The Washington Capitals have agreed to terms with center Mike Richards on a one-year, $1 million pro-rated contract, the club announced today.
Richards — who has not played since the Kings terminated his contract in June — has been given clearance by the NHL to resume his career, the Caps said.
In August, the 30-year-old was charged with possession of a controlled substance while entering Canada. Last month, it was reported that his hearing had been pushed back to January. His court date is reportedly Jan. 28.
Why did the Caps sign him? The injury to Jay Beagle, for one.
But Richards has also won two Stanley Cups. Over his career, he’s played in 124 playoff games. The Caps obviously see value in that experience.
And if it doesn’t work out, well, the cap hit is low and there’s no contractual obligation beyond this season.
“He’s not old and I’m sure he’s still capable of playing,” said Caps winger Justin Williams, a former teammate of Richards’ in Los Angeles. “It all depends on his mental fortitude and where he is.”
Caps GM Brian MacLellan on the Richards signing:
“We’re going to see where he’s at, playing wise. He’s been a number-one center in this league. He’s been a third-line center, a two-way guy. He’s been a fourth-line center. We’re going to see where he’s at physically and mentally, and try to incorporate him into our lineup. He could be a third-line center. He could be a fourth-line center.”
MacLellan on Richards’ legal issues:
“I know he’s pleading not guilty going forward and we think everything will work out in his favor.”