EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings terminated Mike Richards’ contract Monday, claiming the underachieving forward committed a “material breach” of its terms.
The move is a surprising tactic in the Kings’ prolonged attempt to get out from under the last five seasons of the 12-year, $69 million deal signed by Richards with Philadelphia in 2008.
The Kings acquired Richards in 2011, and he played a key supporting role on their two Stanley Cup champion teams. But Richards’ scoring production has declined sharply during his tenure in Los Angeles, culminating in just 16 points from 53 games last season.
The Kings refused to detail their grounds for terminating Richards’ deal, which carries an annual salary cap hit of $5.75 million through 2020. The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement with the players contains nebulous language allowing termination if a player should “fail, refuse, or neglect to obey the club’s rules…
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