Mike Richards is probably going to win the Stanley Cup again this year. That would be two (2) Stanley Cup titles for Richie in three years since being traded by the Philadelphia Flyers in the summer of 2011. But to be honest about it, he's been a drag on the Kings, and in these playoffs he's acting as a fourth line center.
It's not pretty, and then you remember he makes $5.75 million for the next SIX years. His contract expires after the 2019-20 season. Yes, for the record, the Flyers are winning the Mike Richards trade. Our friends at Pension Plan Puppets have the definitive guide to what, if you're curious enough to read more about how things have gone south for him.
This summer is the last for compliance buyouts to be used under the league's new collective bargaining agreement, so naturally, that talk has been heating up around Mike. The Kings speak glowingly of him, but the fact is that he gets paid far too much money for the role he's playing, and something has to give.
So there-in lies the question -- one we've been asked quite often in recent months via email and Twitter. If he were bought out, would the Flyers think about bringing Mike Richards back into the fold?
Is it possible that the Flyers Bring Back Mike Richards? http://t.co/8NAx06Ywbs— phillysportsspin.com (@PhillySprtsSpin) June 7, 2014
For the record, I would love to see Mike Richards back in a Flyers uniform if he were to be bought out by the Kings this offseason.— Matthew Schubert (@mattschubert) June 10, 2014
Hear me out: Mike Richards as the Flyers' 3rd-line center next year— Anze Flowpitar (@GoingHard_inger) June 10, 2014
For starters, he'd want to have to come back, and that's not a guarantee given the way he left.
Secondly, it's likely that the Flyers brass has interest in him as a player. Paul Holmgren basically cried when he sent Richards packing, and we know he likes what Richards brings to a team. Then there's current GM Ron Hextall, part of the Kings staff that was on the other side of that Richards-to-L.A. trade. The interest is probably there from a purely simple "we like this hockey player" standpoint.
More importantly, though, he can't really fit in the lineup. We all know about the Flyers omnipresent log jam at the center position, and Richards would only add to it. Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, Vincent Lecavalier, Brayden Schenn, Scott Laughton. There are too many humans and not enough spots unless trades happen.
Beyond that, there's probably a salary cap issue, although it's really hard to gauge what kind of interest teams would have in Richards if he were to become a free agent, and what kind of contract he'd take post-buyout.
To make a long story short, Richards just doesn't seem like a fit with the Flyers anymore, and it's hard to imagine the Flyers being all that interested in the event that he were bought out by the Kings. Plus, I mean ... do you really think he voluntarily wants to come back to this shit?