Why Mike Richards Is Set for Comeback Year with Los Angeles Kings in 2014-15

If it seems as though Mike Richards has been brought up incessantly over the offseason, that’s because he has been.

From ESPN.com to Pro Hockey Talk to the Los Angeles Times, prominent outlets have discussed the player at length this summer, and rightfully so.

Not only does the Los Angeles Kings center need to justify his lofty salary-cap hit as well as the faith general manager Dean Lombardi has placed in him, but his ability to bounce back from a poor 2013-14 could play a leading role in the squad’s title defense.

Depth down the middle is crucial in L.A., and if Richards can perform up to snuff this season, knocking the Kings off their throne could prove really, really tough.

Thankfully, his offseason work and savvy management have created a propitious situation for both player and team heading into 2014-15.



It’s no secret that Richards appeared sluggish last season, finding himself a step behind rather than in the thick of the action. After amassing 27 points in 32 games early on, he struggled with an unspecified illness and closed out the year with a meager 14 points in 50 tilts.

While he’s never been the swiftest player around, he had previously always been mobile enough to reach the point of attack and leverage his blend of grit, skill and hockey IQ for the betterment of the team.

He took the game to the opposition.

In 2013-14, the smarts and guts were still in the right place, but he just wasn’t as involved as he had been in the past.

With a demotion to the fourth line and whispers of a possible compliance buyout, Richards dedicated himself to his conditioning this summer in the hopes of rediscovering the two-way menace he had been for most of his career.

For one of the most decorated players in the world—two Stanley Cups, Olympic g...

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