Richards charged with possession of a controlled substance

Former Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Richards has been charged with the illegal possession of a controlled substance and is scheduled to appear in court on September 10, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced Thursday morning.

The charge stems from an arrest while Richards entered Canada on the afternoon of June 17, according to a Rick Westhead article that shines some light on the proceedings.

Via Westhead’s article:

Canadian border guards found “some pills in a single bottle” during a random search of Richards’ car and he was arrested by RCMP, a source told TSN. “It was clearly a small quantity intended for his personal use,” the source told TSN.

Previously published reports have said the pills were OxyContin. A source close to Richards declined to say whether he has had a prescription for the narcotic pain reliever.

It’s likely that at the Sept. 10 court hearing, the case will be adjourned for at least several weeks because Richards’ legal team has not yet obtained through discovery police documents related to the case.

Under Canada’s controlled drug and substances act, prosecutors will be able to choose whether to proceed with the case summarily, which is typically the case for first-time offenders, or through an indictment, which is used for repeat and serious offenders.

The Kings terminated Richards’ contract – which had five years and $22-million remaining on it – on June 29, citing a “material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player’s Contract.” On August 10, the NHLPA filed a grievance on behalf of Richards to contest the Kings’ contract termination. Via Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, the NHL and NHLPA have yet to set a hearing date for the grievance.

Prior to Richards’ termination, he carried a $5.75M cap hit. Following the termination, the Kings were due to be affected by $1.32M of cap recapture penalties through 2019-20; were Richards to have been bought out, the Kings would have been affected by cap penalties that would have topped out at $4.22M between 2018-19 and 2019-20 and would have counted against the salary cap through 2024-25. With the grievance filed by the NHLPA and the expected legal battle, it’s too early to definitively assess how Los Angeles’ salary cap will be affected in the future, for those wondering.

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