Why Waiving Mike Richards Was the Right Move by the Los Angeles Kings

Producing scant offense to compensate for a slipping defensive game, Mike Richards was placed on waivers by the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. He cleared on Tuesday and will join the AHL's Manchester Monarchs.

No NHL team was ever going to claim him with a $5.75 million salary-cap hit. Sportsnet's Luke Fox noted that demoting him only amounts to $925,00 in cap savings, so the financial benefit is marginal.

Kings general manager Dean Lombardi has merely shuffled the roster in hopes of creating a turning point for his club.

L.A. has looked mediocre virtually all season and is 3-3-4 in its last 10 outings. A major shakeup of this sort could represent just the jolt the players—including Richards—need to deliver more complete performances.


Emphatic Statement to the Players

Though Richards’ on-ice impact has waned over the past 120 games or so, he’s a respected veteran with the kind of resume (two Stanley Cups, Calder Cup, Memorial Cup, Olympic gold, World Junior gold) players dream of building. 

As such, his assignment to the AHL should wake up the rest of the Kings and announce that it’s time to get down to business.

While a bottom-liner with a top-liner’s cap hit was the sacrificial lamb, the list of underperforming players on this team isn't exactly brief:

Anze Kopitar has been far too reliant on power-play scoring and is sporting his worst defensive numbers in ages. If the Kings are to gain a firm hold on a playoff berth, the towering pivot must rediscover his three-zone, even-strength brilliance. Prior to Wednesday night's three-point outburst, Jeff Carter had vanished following a scorching-hot start. Head coach Darryl Sutter deploying him in his natural center position should help his cause. Captain Dustin Brown has floundered over the past two-and-a-half seasons—looking active isn’t wor...

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