With the LA Kings cap woes coming up there’s been a hell of a lot of chatter about Mike Richards. Not, who might the Kings get rid of to release some cap space, but, where exactly will Mike Richards go because he’s going. Everyone seems to be convinced that Mike Richards will be sacrificed to save some space and that’s all good, but let’s put one rumor in the ground right now, Mike Richards is NOT coming back to Philadelphia.
While you’re all caught up in the Kings needing to shed cap space, don’t forget that the Flyers have the same issue. Sure the Flyers situation may not be as dire as the Kings, but we don’t exactly have a lot of expendable money to be throwing away on nostalgia. The two obvious trade candidates that everyone is pointing to are either Vinny Lecavalier or R.J. Umberger two of the Flyers worst contracts in terms of player productivity. Since the Flyers got him people have been calling for Lecavalier’s trade, fans are desperate to get rid of him if only for cap space. The Flyers traded away fan favorite Scott Hartnell to Columbus for former Flyer R.J. Umberger to free up a little bit of cap space, Umberger’s contract is a couple hundred thousand less than Hartnell’s and 2 years shorter. Unfortunately while Hartnell is putting up average numbers in his new home, Umberger hasn’t found the same success here making him another target for cap space clearance.
Hockeybuzz’s Dave Eklund decided to get fans a little too excited by putting this out there;
“Many teams are keeping a close eye on this and some teams will have to make other moves to make this possible, but already I am hearing Nashville (e3), Pittsburgh (e2), Winnipeg (e2), Ottawa (e2), Toronto (e3) and Philly(e3) (YES I KNOW, but Hextall is HUGE proponent) have their feelers out.”
Here’s the problem, Lecavalier is currently getting paid $4,500,000/per year for 4 years, Umberger is getting paid $4,600,000/per year for 3 years, Mike Richards is getting a way more hefty $5,750,000/per year for 6 YEARS. If you can’t immediately see the problem don’t worry i’m gonna spell it out. For the Flyers to actually shed cap space on a trade for Richards, the Kings would have to take BOTH Lecavalier and Umberger; if they were to trade for one of them they’d be taking on an extra 1.25-1.35 million dollars extra for 3-4 years, the Flyers only have $855,000 in cap space which is A LOT LESS THAN 1.25 MILLION. The Kings will never take both Lecavalier and Umberger, it’s literally impossible unless the Flyers retain like 90% of their contract money which obviously would make that deal even stupider for the Flyers.
“Oh but Mike Richards is more productive than Umberger and Lecavalier so it would still be better than having the old people line not doing anything!” Yes! Richards is slightly more productive than Lecavalier was last year, so why would the Kings try to acquire a player who is less productive and has a contract almost as big and dumb as Richards’? If you think Lecavalier is the answer to the King’s cap space issues then you need to go check out cap geek and see how far int he hole they actually are. The Kings also have players like Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, Jarret Stoll and Justin Williams who will be free agents next season, all of them will surely be looking for a raise and Stoll and Williams already make over $6 million, the small $1.25 million that Lecvalier would free up isn’t nearly enough for those 4 players alone.
It’s just not smart or possible for either the Flyers or the Kings to have Mike Richards make a return to Philadelphia. Maybe a move like this could have been a dumb possibility when Paul Holmgren was in charge, but we’ve gotta hope that Hextall doesn’t value nostalgia as much.