The old saying is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That appears to be the mantra Los Angeles Kings General Manager is taking with his roster, particularly Mike Richards. After months of speculation the Kings may use their compliance buyout on the center after his dreadful season offensively, word is out that the Kings will not buyout Richards. While there is still a possibility they could trade Richards he will not be walking away for absolutely nothing, something I’m sure was helped by the Kings winning the Stanley Cup.
While Richards’ offense has been disappointing, the team’s success since his arrival in Los Angeles three years ago from the Philadelphia Flyers is unquestionable. Two Stanley Cups and a trip to the Western Conference Finals have come with Richards arriving in L.A. something every other team in the NHL would gladly take.
Richards’ $5.7 million cap hit may be hefty for a player that was skating on the Kings’ fourth line, but his track record speaks for itself. Two Stanley Cups and an Olympic gold medal are just the tip of the iceberg for Richards. Few players bring the tenacity Richards does as well as the offensive skillset when he is on his game. After a measly 41 points it’ s a safe bet that Richards will return to his usual productive self next season.
Keeping the core together is a wise choice for Lombardi because there is something special that doesn’t need to be tinkered with. As the Kings revel in their championship glory they will soon be faced with the arduous task of becoming the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups in over 15 years.
Shipping out good players with accomplished resumes after one “bad” season that ended with team winning its second Stanley Cup in three seasons is not the best way to accomplish that.