L.A. Kings place Mike Richards on waivers

With the news that the L.A. Kings have placed Mike Richards on waivers, the Hockey Central at Noon crew wonders if any team will gamble on his large contract?

The Los Angeles Kings placed Mike Richards on waivers Monday, as first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The depth centre has seen his production drop off again this season — 15 points in 47 games — and Richards’ name had been bandied about in trade talks with multiple teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Richards still carries a salary cap hit of $5.75 million for five more seasons. If the forward does get sent down to AHL Manchester, it only saves the Kings $925,000 in salary cap relief.

The Kings could’ve used an amnesty buyout on the 29-year-old last summer but elected not to.

Richards has won two Stanley Cups in Los Angeles, but his salary has been a strain on the team’s cap. His ice time (13:41) ranks ninth among Kings forwards this season.

The other 29 teams have until noon Tuesday to claim Richards and his contract off waivers.

Richards scored 23 to 31 goals per season during a four-year stretch in Philadelphia. Since being traded to L.A. in 2011, the native of Kenora, Ont., has failed to score more than 18 in a season.

The Flyers signed Richards to a $69-million, 12-year contract before dealing him (and prospect Rob Bordson) to the Kings at the 2011 draft in exchange for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and L.A.’s 2012 second-round pick.

The defending champion Kings exit the all-star break fighting for their playoff lives. L.A. (20-15-12) sits one point behind Calgary for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

In other news, the New Jersey Devils placed Tim Sestito on waivers.