Mike Richards has contract terminated by Kings
Team sites 'material breach of requirements'
The Los Angeles Kings announced the termination of the contract of Mike Richards on Monday in a surprising move made a day after the veteran forward was placed on unconditional waivers.
The team issued the following statement, but declined to comment further:
"The Los Angeles Kings today have exercised the team's right to terminate the contract of Mike Richards for a material breach of the requirements of his standard player's contract. We are not prepared to provide any more detail or to discuss the underlying grounds for the contract termination at this time."
The expectation prior to Monday was that Richards's contract would be bought out by the Kings. In that case, a portion of Richards's salary would still count against L.A.'s salary cap through 2024-25.
By terminating the deal, the Kings get out from the final five seasons, and the average annual value of $5.75 million US, of his $69-million US, 12-year contract without a cap penalty.
It was not immediately clear whether the NHL Players' Association would attempt to fight the termination of Richards' contract.
"We are in the process of reviewing the facts and circumstances of this matter, and will discuss the situation with the player in order to determine the appropriate course of action," NHLPA spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon said in an email to The Canadian Press.
Once considered a star, the 30-year-old Richards has been in decline in recent seasons. He scored five goals and tallied 11 assists in 53 games in 2014-15, a far cry from his 30 goals and 50 assists in 79 games with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2008-09.
In January, Richards was sent down to the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League after clearing waivers.
Richards was recalled by the Kings in March, however he played sparingly in the team's failed attempt to clinch a playoff spot.
With files from The Canadian Press