Los Angeles Kings centre Mike Richards cleared waivers Tuesday, proving his contract is too hefty for the competition to take on.
Richards still carries a salary cap hit of $5.75 million for five more seasons. With the forward being sent down to AHL Manchester, the Kings will save $925,000 in salary cap relief.
Richards will be available if the Kings wish to recall him for the playoffs.
“There’s still time here. He knows what he has to do,” Lombardi said. “That part I am not questioning. The way the schedule is down there, it allows him to get his innings in and conceivably he could be back here. That’s the way we’re approaching this. That’s the short term.
“On the long term, he could be a different player. If you remember when Teemu Selanne when he went to Colorado it looked like he was done. He looked done. But all of sudden things changed. He went on for a longer career. They’re different players but I see no reason why this can’t happen here, either.”
Incredibly, after helping the Kings on their way to two Stanley Cups, Paul Holmgren has managed to retroactively screw Flyers West with Richie’s outlandish contract, which all but guaranteed Richie would live long enough to see himself become the villain.
Fun part: The Monarchs visit the Phantoms on March 29. God willing, Richards will still be with them.