Friday March 13th, 2015

Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said that it's possible that forward Mike Richards could return to the NHL at some point this season.

Richards was put on waivers in January, despite being a key contributor to Stanley Cup championship teams in the last three seasons.

"We’re running him through some tests right now,” Lombardi said to SportsNet. “I mean, the one thing about Michael everybody knows, when there’s big games or critical moments, he’s always there. And we just gotta get him up to that capacity to be able to do that.”

Richards cleared waivers and was sent to the Kings' AHL affiliate in Manchester.

Richards, 30, had only five goals and 10 assists in 47 for Los Angeles this season, with a minus-7 rating. With Manchester, he has scored three goals and in 16 games.

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He signed a 12-year, $69 million contract in 2007 when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers and was traded to Los Angeles for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn after the 2010-11 season. Richards carries a $5.75 million salary cap hit for each of next five seasons.

Los Angeles (33-21-13) is eighth in the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets.

"They almost like having their backs against the wall. The one way you’re able to sleep at night is you know they’re a group that cares," Lombardi​ said. "That’s our strongest asset in terms of this team is 20 guys who care about each other and either way you know they’re going to be out there fighting.”

- Scooby Axson

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