I predicted the Kings would not go after Brad Richards. I was completely wrong. Granted I was using things like “math” and “logic” to come to that conclusion. The Kings have yet to lock up the most valuable free-agent this season, and no I am not referring to Richards. I’m referring to restricted free-agent Drew Doughty. With the Kings own star defenseman’s contract situation still in doubt, the Kings went out, and went hard, for pricey star player Brad Richards.
The Kings took a large group to visit Brad Richards including coaches, GM Dean Lombardi and even Tim Leiweke, Chairman and CEO of AEG. The Kings pitched hard for Richards to come to LA. Leiweke said the meeting went very well, citing this was the hardest the Kings have ever gone after a free-agent player. The Kings even brought a video presentation, which seems very appropriate for a team from Los Angeles.
Regardless of how the meeting went, we have no idea how close or far away the Kings are or how high up the list the Kings are. Every team that comes out of a meeting with Richards claims it went extremely well and they’re dubbed the front-runner. It’s one of those situations where the Kings won’t know until they know.
The problem for Kings fans is even if they do sign Richards, what now with Doughty? Richards contract demands could reach $8 million per season. After re-signing Doughty, the Kings would be very close to the cap ceiling and might not have enough to sign all of Richardson, Lewis, and Martinez. Does that mean the Kings have plans to move someone out? If so, who would that be?
Ideally (yet sadly), the most likely candidate would be Stoll. The Kings would be flush at center with the addition of Brad Richards, who would probably make the switch to left wing. Moving Stoll would allow Loktionov to come in and have a chance at 3rd line center. However, there is no single King that is in the doghouse or seen as a pariah, ripe to move. It’s a very odd situation.
The Kings trade for Mike Richards was an utter shock. Little did I know they had another Richards-oriented surprise in the works. If the Kings manage to sign Brad Richards, it would be a huge addition and a big change for the Kings with a lot of repercussions. Other than their pitch for Brad, the Kings have been quiet on day 1. The only news even remotely related to Los Angeles is that former King Alexei Ponikarovsky was signed by the Carolina Hurricanes for nearly $2 million less than the Kings signed him for last summer. Quite a deal.
Stay posted for further updates. Go Kings!
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney