Mike Richards is back in the NHL. Darren Dreger of TSN reports that pending league approval, Richards is expected to join the Washington Capitals and will meet with commissioner Gary Bettman. It’s a one-year pact, worth a prorated $1 million.
Sources say pending NHL approval, Mike Richards is expected to join the Washington Capitals. Told Richards has to meet with Bettman.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 6, 2016
Richards most recently appeared in the NHL last season with the Los Angeles Kings. After struggling with five goals and 11 assists in 53 games, he had the last five years of his contract terminated for “a material breach of his Standard Player’s Contract,” after he was arrested at the Canadian border with oxycodone. Charges which Richards lawyer says he denies and will plead not-guilty. He eventually reached a settlement with the Kings, and became a free agent.
— Washington Capitals (@washcaps) January 6, 2016
There was some noise from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that Richards could land with the San Jose Sharks, but those reports obviously never came to fruition.
The Capitals are a great landing spot for Richards. Washington has the most points in the NHL with 61, with a very good 29-7-1 record. The expectations for him to produce won’t be too high, as the Capitals are already loaded with scoring talent, so Richards can return without a ton of pressure.
When asked if he’s a bottom-six center in the lineup, Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said, “Yeah I think so, we’re going to be open-minded. We’re going to see where he’s at playing wise. He’s been a number one center in this league, a third line center, a two-way guy, a fourth line center, we’re going to see where he’s at physically and mentally and try and incorporate him into our lineup where he fits.”
Sounds like it’s a perfect fit for the recently troubled centerman. Let’s hope he stays out of trouble and can find his footing once again in the NHL.