30-Year-Old Center – Free Agent
Mike Richards Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in June 2015.
Richards is back on the ice, skating with his former junior squad in Kitchener, and looking to get back to the NHL, reports Josh Brown of the Waterloo Region Record. He is an unrestricted free agent after coming to a settlement with the Kings following his termination due to an arrest for possession of a controlled substance.
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Mike Richards: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Mike Richards.
Richards salvaged a mediocre regular season (11 goals and 30 assists in 82 games) by doing just enough damage on the power play (four goals and eight assists) to keep his contributions respectable. Still, it was a step back for the former 30-goal scorer. He was shuffled down to the team's fourth line as the season wore on, creating speculation he would be bought out by the Kings in the offseason. The Kings didn't do that, but Richards clearly needs to prove his worth. And that may prove difficult with Marion Gaborik and youngsters Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffolli potentially grabbing top-six minutes.
Richards bounced back (12 goals, 20 assists in 48 games) in his second year as a King thanks to some timely production on the power play and a nice finishing kick to the season. But he does come with some warning signs this season. His shooting percentage (14.6 percent) was a career high and his concussion history reared itself again in the playoffs. He's never been a volume shooter since leaving the Flyers, so he'll seriously need to sustain his power play production. He'll be back as the team's second-line center behind Anze Kopitar.
Richards had a rough regular season, battling a concussion and some inconsistent linemates on the way to 44 points (18 G, 26 A) in 74 . He went through a long stretch without a goal in 25 games at the start of 2011, but seemed to click once the team acquired his buddy Jeff Carter from the Blue Jackets. He figures to be much better this season with Carter riding shotgun alongside him.
Richards came over to the Kings in an offseason trade following another solid season (23 G, 43 A) for the Flyers. He did a lot of his damage on special teams for the Flyers and he figures to get a heavy dose of power-play time for the Kings as well. It's expected that Richards will be reunited with Simon Gagne after the pair enjoyed some success when skating together in Philadelphia. He'll center one of the Kings' top two lines with Anze Kopitar centering the other.
Despite seeing a nearly 20-point drop from his 2008-09 season, Richards posted a solid season solid during the 2009-10 campaign. After eclipsing the 80-point mark in '08-'09, Richards managed just 62 points last year, largely on a major decrease in his assist total. He had one more goal last year than the previous season, but tallied 19 fewer helpers. Also after posting back-to-back years with a plus/minus rating in positive double digits, Richards was minus-2 last year. One positive was his 13 goals with the man advantage was easily a career best, though the scoring mentality on the power play may have hampered him in the assist department. Richards had 18 helpers on the advantage, down from 25 the year prior. At just 25 years old, some inconsistencies can be excused, especially with how well he played at times - especially down the stretch. His point-per-game production in the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals shows he can get the job done against the best competition the NHL has to offer. Considering he's moving into his prime and his late surge, Richards makes for a nice buy-low proposition.
A solid two-way center and leader for the Flyers, Richards also brings value to fantasy owners. Being a two-way player can be an advantage for a fantasy owner in that he'll be trusted by his coach and therefore played in all situations and generally getting big minutes. Richards led the NHL in short-handed goals last season with seven and was 17th in assists. However, let's not take away the fact that Richards cracked the 30-goal mark and was a plus-22. Richards is a very consistent player who is poised to be an 80-point player for many years to come.
The Flyer captain figures to be a mainstay in Philadelphia for years to come after signing a 12-year, $59 million contract midway through last season. Aside from his presence as a young leader in the locker room, Richards contributed across the stat sheet by leading the team in assists (47), points (75), points per game (1.04) and short-handed goals (5), and plus-minus - among forwards (+14). Look for him to continue improving at both ends of the ice, while maintaining - and likely exceeding - his point-per-game pace in the long run.
Richards finished with 10 goals and 32 points through 59 games, but that was still good for fifth in scoring on the Flyers. Over a whole season, he might be a 45-50 point producer depending on his linemates. We think with a much inproved team, Mike will reap some of the benefits. Keep an eye on him on Draft Day.
With 11 goals and 34 points in his rookie season, Richards didn't seem to produce a lot. But he was actually very important to the Flyers, playing in all siutations and taking numerous shots in shootouts. His numbers should rise to around 20 goals and 50 points. He also will chip in some shorthanded goals.
With all of the hype surrounding Jeff Carter, it's understandable that Richards would be all that less noticed, but he's been solid so far in camp. He's definitely a name to remember for coming years.