The drug charges that have shadowed NHLer Mike Richards since June 2015 have been stayed.

The judge stayed the proceedings on Wednesday in a Manitoba court, which means the prosecution has been discontinued. Unlike charges that have been withdrawn completely, stayed charges can be brought back within one year, though that tends to be rare.

Richards, 31, who is from Kenora, Ont., was arrested last summer in Manitoba and charged with possession of a controlled substance after he was stopped by Canadian border authorities.

Court documents listed the controlled substance as oxycodone.

Soon afterwards, the Los Angeles Kings terminated his contract for a "material breach of the requirements."

The NHL Players' Association filed a grievance on his behalf and later reached a settlement with the team. Richards had five years and $22 million US left on his contract with the Kings.

Last month, Richards signed a $1 million US pro-rated contract with the Washington Capitals after the league cleared him to resume his NHL career.

Richards' lawyer, David Humphrey, said Richards is "gratified" that the Crown reviewed the case and determined prosecution was not warranted.

"Mr. Richards wishes to extend his heartfelt appreciation to his loyal fans and especially to his parents, brothers, extended family and friends for their love and support," Humphrey said in a news release issued on Wednesday.

"[He] is now entirely focused on his hockey career and he and his legal counsel will not be commenting further …"

Richards won two Stanley Cups with Los Angeles in 2012 and 2014, a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics, and silver and gold medals at the world junior hockey championship in 2004 and 2005.