When you consider the fact that they won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history, it’s not easy pointing out that anyone on the Los Angeles Kings had a disappointing season. But Mike Richards did.
Richards was acquired last summer from the Philadelphia Flyers in a move that was expected to help them lock down the center spot behind Anze Kopitar. That didn’t really work out as well as it could have.
Whether it was a nagging injury or just trying to adjust to his new surroundings, having moved from one coast to the other, Richards spent much of his season underachieving, which was part of the reason that this Kings team didn’t make the playoffs until one of the last days of the season.
Statistically, Richards had his worst season since 2006-2007, when he played in just 59 games and posted 32 points. In his first season in Hollywood, Richards scored just 18 goals and put up only 44 points overall.
As dominant as the Kings were in the postseason, his playoff performance wasn’t much better. Richards contributed just four goals and 15 points to the effort, though he was able to contribute in other ways, mainly in the physical game. He had 115 hits during the regular season and 37 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also won half of his faceoffs during the regular season.
Though he won’t have the full summer to rest like the rest of the league (assuming the season starts on time), Richards now has a full season in Los Angeles under his belt and some time to get completely healthy. He also heads into the season knowing his buddy Jeff Carter will be alongside him for the entirety of the year.
It’s not enough that the Kings are returning their entire roster from the Stanley Cup squad. Some of the folks on the squad are going to have to be much-improved next season, especially if they expect to avoid spending another regular season underachieving. That list begins with Mike Richards.