What the Mike Richards settlement means for the Kings

Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman go through the latest news in the NHL, including Mike Richards and Nikita Nikitin’s situation, an update on the Sabres goalies and more.

The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards reached a settlement on Friday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Richards will remain on the Kings’ cap through 2030-31. The cap hit will come in at $1.32 million for the first five years, plus the settlement amount, which is believed — but not confirmed — to be $550,000 on average, “although it varies year-to-year.”

“There are a lot of teams that are not very happy about this,” said Friedman. “The league’s position is, if the Kings had won the grievance, there would have been no cap hit, so that’s better than nothing.

“The players got a guarantee that this was a one-time thing,” added Friedman, “and it does not set a precedent going forward.”

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said the following in a written statement via The Los Angeles Times on Friday:

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi wrote. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it.

“Anyone close enough to me knows how much I loved Mike Richards. I believed that when I had acquired him, I had found my own Derek Jeter. But the fact is that he was never close to the player that he was after his best seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10 in Philadelphia.

“I tried everything with Mike — meeting with him constantly, sending him to concussion specialists, traveling in the off-season to visit with him at his summer home — and everything failed,” Lombardi said his statement. “I heard the rumors that Mike might have some off-ice issues, but I refused to believe that they were true despite some obvious signs.”

Richards’ contract was terminated by the Kings in June for a “material breach.” It was later revealed that Richards, 30, was taken into custody at the Canada-U.S. border into Manitoba earlier in the month, and was charged with possession of a controlled substance by the RCMP.

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