As it turned out, there was a center named
The Kings decided against buying out the contract of Richards, according to General Manager
Richards is in the middle of a 12-year contract worth $69 million, an agreement reached when he was with the
Lombardi is loyal to his players and said Richards was open in their meetings about his shortcomings this past season, in which he had 11 goals and 41 points in 82 regular-season games. He was dropped to the fourth line, but his play was appreciably better in the postseason and he is adept at guiding the mood of the dressing room.
Richards, who turned 29 in February, told Lombardi that he realized he would have to make some adjustments in his off-season training, the general manager said.
"He was very candid," Lombardi said Friday during an interview in his office. "The most important thing is he realized he wasn't anywhere near where he is capable of being. If he's telling you, 'Well, I was good.' Then you've got a big problem. If he's not able to critique himself, then we're wasting our time.
"But he freely admitted that it was nowhere near where he was capable, and the root is not age or injury. It starts with the understanding that I've got to prepare like a 28- or 29-year-old, not a 22-year-old.
"As long as he looked me in the eye and made that promise that he would make the commitment in the off-season.… Essentially, I have to trust him. Once that deadline goes, we're locked in."
The final day for compliance buyouts is June 30. Teams had two available, dating to last summer, and the Kings did not use either of them.
For the Kings, the next order of business concerns unrestricted free-agent winger
In the meantime, Kings captain
The Kings visited the
Lombardi said the organization learned a lot from the 2012 experience, from winning the Stanley Cup and abruptly making the transition into off-season business.