When Richards was a free agent in 2011 the Kings were among the front-runners to land his services before he ultimately took his talents to Broadway. After three subpar seasons in New York, Richards has returned to the market and the 34-year-old will surely come at a bargain rate.
With Marian Gaborik a pending free agent and the Kings in need of scoring depth, it would appear that Richards, who had 77 points only three years ago could rectify some of that. Having said that, Richards is on the proverbial “back nine” of his career and while he’d surely be motivated to prove his doubters wrong with strong play, father time is undefeated.
The Kings should avoid Richards like the plague, plain and simple. Not only is he older, but there is no conceivable way to fit him in the Kings’ lineup without drastically shaking things up and ruining a great thing. The days of Richards being part of a “Big 4” with the Tampa Bay Lightning alongside Dan Boyle, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier are long over. Now he is an aging forward that is at best a third liner that helps out a little on the power play.
When Richards chose New York over L.A. in 2011, it was a blessing in disguise. There’s no reason for the Kings to torpedo that blessing.