Report: ‘No clear movement’ towards Kings trading Richards


The Los Angeles Kings have reportedly been shopping Mike Richards after his role with the team in 2014-15 declined to the point where he spent some time in the minors. The belief was that the Kings would have to include another asset to make any trade work, which isn’t surprising given that Richards has already previously cleared waivers, but either way it looks like a trade might not be in the cards.

Per LA Kings Insider:

I’m getting the strong feeling, through multiple channels, that there hasn’t been any clear movement, and no viable suitors have stepped forward at this time. Similar to the attempt to move the center near the trading deadline, there are simply no proposals that make any sense for the Kings as of this writing. Could that change? Sure, it could change. But don’t expect Richards back next year. He’s likely to be moved, either through a trade (which doesn’t appear to be materializing at this point), or via buy-out.

Even if Los Angeles were to include another asset in an effort to entice teams, Richards’ $5.75 million annual cap hit through 2019-20 would be a tough pill to swallow. Additionally, if he retires before the end of his contract, then there would be cap recapture penalties to consider.

Buying out Richards would save Los Angeles a little over $4.5 million in cap space for the 2015-16 campaign, but the Kings would be incurring a cap penalty from his buyout through 2024-25. At its height that penalty would climb to roughly $4.2 million for 2018-19 and 2019-20 before it drops to about $1.5 million annually for five seasons.


Lombardi: Mike Richards buyout ‘a possibility’

Report: Kings looking to deal Mike Richards


According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the L.A. Kings have had discussions with multiple teams about the idea of a trade involving Mike Richards.

LeBrun reports nothing is imminent, but that in order for the Kings to unload Richards they will need to include another asset.

Richards had five goals and 16 points to go along with a minus-10 rating while averaging 13:22 in time on ice in 53 games with the Kings in 2014-15.

The 30-year-old’s decline in productivity landed him on waivers during the season, and after he went unclaimed, Richards spent 16 games with the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs where he scored three goals and 11 assists prior to being recalled.

Richards still has five more years on his current contract with a $5.75 million cap hit. Any team acquiring him has to worry about future implications as well.

If you’re a team trading for Richards, are you hoping he can recapture his form? The risk is if Richards retires before the end of his contract, there are cap recapture penalties at stake, both for the Kings and the team that trades for him.

LeBrun believes the Kings are hoping the team that takes Richards in a deal will eventually buy him out. The point of the deal would be to acquire an asset in the trade.

Signing Toffoli and Jones a ‘priority’ for Kings


Dean Lombardi touched on a number of topics during a conference call on Tuesday. Among the issues the LA Kings GM discussed was his team’s number of free agents.

Lombardi said getting restricted free agents Tyler Toffoli and Martin Jones under contract was a priority for the club.

Toffoli set career highs in goals (23) assists (26) and points (49) in 76 games this season. The 23-year-old had a $716,666 cap hit in 2014-15.

Jones appeared in 15 games for the Kings this season posting a 4-5-2 record to go along with a 2.25 G.A.A. and a .906 save percentage. The 25-year-old sees his two-year, $1.1 million deal expire this year.

“We’re working toward, is signing Toffoli and Jones. That’s been our priority,” said Lombardi. “You saw, during the season, we were fortunate to get (Jordan) Nolan done and (Kyle) Clifford done and (Alec) Martinez and (Jake) Muzzin and (Tanner) Pearson.

“We want to finish that off, with those seven or eight players that are not even in their prime yet, to keep them in the fold. That’s something that we’re actively pursuing.’’

The Kings are also working on a deal with pending unrestricted free agent Andrej Sekera. The 28-year-old split the 2014-15 season between the Carolina Hurricanes and Kings scoring three goals and 23 points in 73 games while averaging nearly 22 minutes a night in ice time.

“Sekera, the only thing I can say is, I think we have — which is not always easy to get — the parameters of a number,” said Lombardi. “Often times, it’s hard to get a number, to see if you can plug it in. So I think we have the range that it would take (to sign him). Now have we countered with an offer yet? No. That’s all I can say on that one.

“I can say that I don’t think the number is outrageous. I think he’d like to stay here, so by virtue of that, you work at it and he ends up in some of your schematics there.”

The Kings also have to make decisions on the likes of Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams among others. The club also has to decide on what to do with Mike Richards who spent time in the American Hockey League this season.

As Rich Hammond outlines in his piece, Lombardi has a complicated list of scenarios to determine who will be back for the 2015-16 season.

Lombardi: Mike Richards buyout ‘a possibility’


After winning the Stanley Cup in 2014, the Los Angeles Kings faced a difficult decision regarding Mike Richards. He played a big role in them winning the Cup back in 2012, but he had clearly taken a step back in 2013-14, which was dangerous because the Kings had committed to him through the 2019-20 campaign at an annual cap hit of $5.75 million.

Los Angeles had an out though in the form of a compliance buyout. Stemming from the lockout, that special type of buyout would have freed Los Angeles from his contract entirely from a cap perspective, but that option was also nearing its expiration date. In the end, Kings GM Dean Lombardi called Richards a “special ingredient” and held onto him. That didn’t work out as hoped.

Richards declined further this season and while the possibility of a trade can never fully be dismissed, no team wanted his contract when he was put on waivers earlier this season. In the end Los Angeles might resort to buying him out after all and Lombardi does admit that’s “a possibility,” per LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen.

Lombardi isn’t committing to that course of action though and even if he does, buying out Richards would come with a cap penalty now, in contrast to what would have happened if he had done it last summer.

Perhaps, in the end, Lombardi will stay the course when it comes to Richards in the hopes that he will once again become that special ingredient.

“Hockey ain’t my first love. My first love is team,” Lombardi said, rejecting the idea that players are “commodities.” He continued, “Because they care so much and their loyalty to each other, we can fix this and become stronger.”

Video: Blackhawks’ Shaw fined $2,000 for diving/embellishment


Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw has been fined $2,000 by the NHL for diving/embellishment.

From the league:

Shaw was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 228 against Tampa Bay on Nov. 11. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 1138 against Los Angeles on March 30. Shaw drew a delayed penalty to Los Angeles forward Mike Richards on the play, at 5:24 of the first period. The penalty to Richards was nullified when Chicago scored seven seconds later.

Shaw becomes the ninth player to be fined for diving/embellishment this season, joining Washington’s Tom Wilson, Toronto’s Richard Panik, Islanders goalie Michal Neuvirth (fine occurred while with Buffalo), the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Florida’s Vincent Trocheck, Nashville’s James Neal and Montreal’s P.K. Subban, who has been fined twice.