During the conversation with Dean Lombardi today, there wasn’t a surplus of discussion over Mike Richards, who carries a $5.75-million cap hit through 2020 and was waived midway though a season in which he ultimately posted five goals and 16 points in 53 games with Los Angeles. Richards also spent 16 games with AHL-Manchester, totaling three goals and 14 points.
Based heavily on loyalty to his players, Lombardi did not use a compliance buy-out on Richards during the two-year window one was available. As such, there would be significant salary cap implications should the club choose to use a regular buy-out on Richards. In previous discussions with hockey operations, that didn’t appear to be the team’s preferred course of action. At his availability earlier today, Lombardi briefly shared some thoughts on the subject.
Dean Lombardi, on the odds Mike Richards’ contract would be bought out:
You can figure that out. That would be one of those things I think I’d have to meet with people face to face. That’s one of the problems with this meeting, some of the things you’re going to want to ask, the player has to hear it from me first. It’s a possibility. How’s that for now?
Lombardi, on the possibility Richards would be “buried” in the AHL:
I guess both are a possibility, but still, our priority is to keep [him]. It depends on how it fits in the whole thing here, right?
A reminder: the 2013 CBA does not afford teams full salary cap relief for “burying” players in the AHL to escape a cap hit. The Kings received $925,000 of salary cap relief when Richards was assigned to Manchester.