The Kings placed under-performing forward Mike Richards on waivers Monday, marking their return to business after the All-Star break with a bold move that probably won’t work out as hoped.
Richards’ high salary and low production make it unlikely another team will claim him. Richards has a $5.75 million salary cap hit for the next five seasons after this one. He will make $7 million for 2014-15, $6 million for 2015-16, followed by $5.5 million, $4.5 million, $3 million and $3 million. He has only five goals and 10 assists in 47 games this season.
Richards, who turns 30 on Feb. 11, had 18 goals and 26 assists in 2011-12, helping to lead the Kings to their first Stanley Cup championship. He had 12 goals and 20 assists during the lockout-shortened 2013-14 season. Last season he had 11 goals and 30 assists as the Kings won the Cup again.
If he clears waivers, a likely scenario, he could be sent to the Kings’ American Hockey League team in Manchester, N.H., which would give the salary-cap burdened team a relief of only $925,000. The other 29 teams in the NHL have until 9 a.m., Tuesday to claim him.
Richards joined the Kings in a June 23, 2011 trade that sent Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a second-round draft pick in 2012 to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Kings also received the draft rights to Rob Bordson in the deal.
The Kings were set to resume practice after the break at 2 p.m. Monday.
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