Frozen Royalty: Los Angeles Kings Are Unlikely Suitors For Brad Richards During Free Agent Frenzy
Brad Richards, eh?
LOS ANGELES — The annual unrestricted free agent frenzy begins on July 1 at 9:00 AM Pacific time, and while everyone knows the Los Angeles Kings have a couple of big holes to fill among their top six forwards, do not expect them to be in the running for the biggest fish of all, Dallas Stars center Brad Richards, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Richards, who earned $7.8 million per season on a five year contract, will command a premium price, likely to at least match that annual amount.
Unless something changes prior to the “opening whistle,” the Kings will go into the 9:00 AM start of the frenzy still in the midst of negotiations with defenseman Drew Doughty over a long-term deal that will likely pay him more than $6 million per season. Although the Kings currently have $16.08 million of salary cap space to work with, a good chunk of that will go to Doughty. Given that, along with the gobs of cash that Richards will demand, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi will not have the flexibility to compete with the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs, who are expected to lead the way among those bidding for his services.
Richards has strong connections to Rangers head coach John Tortorella, who coached Richards when they were with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Richards also has connections to the Maple Leafs. He is likely to be signed very, very quickly, probably within the first 24 hours of the frenzy.
Lombardi has already indicated that the Kings will not be in the running for the cream of this year’s unrestricted free agent crop.
“It’s safe to say that there’s a potential for a midrange move,” he said.
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