The Los Angeles Kings placed Mike Richards on waivers earlier today in a move that surprised many in the hockey world.
Everyone knew the Kings were trying to offload Richards and his big contract but not many saw the waiver placement coming.
With Richards linked to Toronto in rumors from nearly every mainstream media member this season it would mean they’re interested in the Kings winger for free, right?
Leafs source says they will NOT put in a claim on Mike Richards in case people are wondering
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) January 26, 2015
LeBrun poured some cold water on the ludicrous idea that the Maple Leafs would place a claim on the Kings forward.
Claiming Richards makes zero sense for more than one reason.
1. Salary Cap. The Leafs don’t have the cap room – not in their wildest imaginations – to bring Richards on board. All of the rumors surrounding Richards to Toronto were basically exchanging one bad contract for another. The financials just don’t work.
2. He’s not even close to being worth his salary. Richards play has steadily dropped over the past five seasons – save for a minor spike in 2012 – and his value to the Leafs would be akin to David Clarkson. The Leafs already have a Clarkson deal, they don’t need another.
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3. Future impact. The Leafs have to find a clear direction in the coming months and that means resigning a few players due for a raise – namely Nazem Kadri. Mike Richards would tie the Leafs hands in building a legitimate playoff roster for the next five years.
While it was certainly entertaining to see people waste their breath on mentioning Richards to Toronto via waiver claim, it just isn’t logical.
Acquiring Richards didn’t make any sense when it was a trade and it makes even less sense when they can’t send any salary back.
I’d be shocked if any team claimed Richards by Noon ET tomorrow.
It’s disheartening to see a guy like Richards end up this way but that’s the way it goes. When he signed his massive contract he took money he wasn’t worth – and in return he potentially mortgaged his future as an NHL player.