Finally, more than three months after the termination of his contract, Mike Richards reached a settlement with the Los Angeles Kings.
Bob McKenzie tweeted out the first details of the deal:
Regarding Mike Richards-LAK settlement that's expected to be concluded today: 1. LAK will pay the cap recapture penalty for next 5 years.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2015
LAK will also face annual cap hit equal to dollars being paid out to annually to Richards and cap hit will last as long payment schedule.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2015
No word yet on precise numbers but hearing the payout is for a very long time.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 9, 2015
Basically, it sounds like a modified buyout. The Kings pay out a lower amount of money over a (much) longer term in order to save some money on the annual cap hit.
To summarize the tweets: The Kings will have two different cap hits for Mike Richards over the next five years. They'll pay out a cap recapture penalty that is standard with the CBA, and also will face a cap hit for what they pay directly to Mike Richards. After those five years are over, the Kings will still pay a cap hit for whatever money they agreed to pay Richards in the settlement reached today.
[UPDATE: According to Elliotte Friedman, Richards will remain on the Kings' salary cap until 2031, though the financial details are still unknown.]
For some time, the Kings appeared as if they would get away from the Richards contract without any consequences whatsoever. Though only a fraction of what they originally owed Richards, they will now face at least a small penalty for what still seems like a rather dubious personnel decision.
The Kings have not (and probably will not) released any statement regarding the terms of the deal. Should those terms become available, we'll update the post.
The Richards saga is officially over, but the story is still remarkably under wraps. There have been rumblings here and there of something beneath the surface that we aren't aware of, but there is still nothing concrete to base this on. If Mike Richards had a problem with drugs - who knows what the facts are there - then it is probably for the best that he is not completely cut off from some kind of support. This may also free him up, finally, to pursue other options around hockey. He did not participate in any training camps. He's actually kept an incredibly low profile since all of this came out; he hasn't even been active on Twitter (except to favorite the tweets of attractive women).
It'll be interesting to see what comes next for Mike Richards. He had a successful stint in the AHL last season, so maybe he winds up back there soon. At any rate, we wish him the best.