It's finally happening.
[UPDATE, 6/29, 11:50 AM: Yeah, about that.]
After at least a full season of speculation, some wishful thinking, a trip to Manchester, and a truckload of healthy scratches, the Kings are in the process of buying out center Mike Richards.
According to Darren Dreger, the Kings placed the much maligned forward on waivers for this very purpose today. This buyout's cap hit escalates in each of the next four years, before finally settling in its last five years:
Richards' buyout cap hit, per @generalfanager. Starts '15-16, ends `24-25: 1.22M 1.7M 2.7M, 4.2M, 4.2M, 1.47M 1.47M 1.47M 1.47M 1.47M.— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) June 28, 2015
The Kings will save 4.53 mil in cap space this coming season.
Richards turned 30-years old earlier this year. Over 53 NHL games this season, he picked up 5 goals and 11 assists. He also added 3 goals and 11 assists in 16 games with the Manchester Monarchs.
Originally acquired almost exactly 4 years ago, Richards arrived in Los Angeles in exchange for a draft pick along with forwards Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. He never really lived up to expectations, aside from an electrifying playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks in 2012.
A month and a half ago, Eric reviewed Richards' season.
It's really hard to tell how much Richards has left in the tank. He never really got a chance to play anything more than 4th line center this season, which is probably not a role that anyone will sign him to play going forward. With that said, he's almost certainly not capable of playing in your top six if you have designs on contending.
We'll have more on this as it comes to light.