The Los Angeles Kings recalled forward Mike Richards from the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL on Sunday.
One of the stars of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, the 29-year-old center was put on waivers in January by Los Angeles after struggling for much of the past two-and-a-half seasons. He cleared waivers and was assigned to Manchester the Kings' minor league franchise.
The 10-year NHL veteran had five goals and 10 assists for the Kings this season before being demoted. With Manchester, he scored three goals and logged 14 assists over 16 games.
Kings general manager Dean Lombardi hinted earlier this month Richards could return to the team soon. The comments were among the first signals of a reversal in the team's attitude toward Richards.
Los Angeles considered buying out Richards' contract last year, which likely would have resulted in his release from the team.
A recent Los Angeles Times report indicated the team was concerned specifically with Richards' training regimen while assigned to Manchester.
The Kings could use Richards help down the final stretch of the NHL season. Los Angeles is 34-23-14, and sits four points behind the final wild-card team, the Winnepeg Jets.
Iconic Los Angeles Kings
Marcel Dionne may be the best NHL player who never won Lord Stanley's Cup. After arriving from Detroit in a 1971 trade, he spent 12 seasons with the Kings, compiling 550 goals and 757 assists for 1,307 points, good for the top spot on the franchise's all-time scoring list. With wingers Charlie Simmer and Dave Taylor, the eight-time All-Star was the backbone of the famed "Triple Crown Line", one of the most dangerous scoring units in the history of the game. Dionne won the NHL scoring title for 1979-80 and was a two-time recipient of the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play. The Kings retired his number 16 on November 8, 1990, two years before his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Signed as a free agent in August 1977 after three seasons with the California Golden Seals/Cleveland Barons franchise, Charlie Simmer played eight seasons for Los Angeles from 1978-1985, twice earning All-Star nods. During his tenure, he produced 222 goals and 244 assists for 466 total points in 384 games and was the left wing on the "Triple Crown Line" with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor. The high-point of his Kings career: back to back 56-goal seasons in 1979-80 and 1980-81. He ranks eighth on the Kings' all-time scoring list.
Chosen in the 15th round of the 1975 NHL Draft, Taylor was a King for his entire career: 17 seasons and 1,111 games. As the right wing on the explosive "Triple Crown Line" with Marcel Dionne and Charlie Simmer, the five-time All-Star scored 431 goals with 638 assists, his 1,069 total points good for third on the Kings' all-time list. In 1991, he was awarded the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey, as well as the King Clancy Trophy for leadership. After Taylor hung up his skates in 1994, the Kings retired his number 18 on April 3, 1995. He was hired as the team's GM in 1997 and spent nine seasons in the position.
The winner of the 1967-68 Vezina Trophy lost his starting gig in Montreal when Ken Dryden came along, so he was traded to LA in November 1971, giving the Kings one of their first big stars. "Rogie" tended their net for seven seasons and is still the franchise's all-time wins leader, with 171. He also compiled 32 shutouts and a 2.86 goals-against average during his time with Los Angeles, which retired his number 30.
Arriving in LA in 1970 after the Canadiens sold his rights to the Kings, Berry had a stellar breakout rookie campaign that saw him score 63 points in 73 games. He played six more seasons, scoring 350 points in 541 games and making two All-Star Game appearances for the Kings. A member of "the Hot Line" with center Juha Widing and right wing Mike Corrigan, Berry went on to coach the team from 1978 to 1981.
Though he's best remembered as the final piece of the New York Islanders dynasty due to his 1980 trade from LA, the smart, gritty, productive Goring spent 11 seasons with the Kings. During that time, he won the Lady Byng and Masterton trophies, topped 30 goals for four straight seasons, and amassed 659 total points, including 275 goals and 384 assists in 736 total games. He still ranks sixth on the Kings' all-time points list.
Drafted by the Kings with the 73rd overall pick of the 1980 NHL Draft, Nicholls made his debut during the 1981-1982 season, setting the stage for a run of seven productive campaigns -- including five straight 30-plus goal seasons -- in LA. When Wayne Gretzky arrived in 1988, Nicholls had a career year, scoring 70 goals and 150 points. With 327 goals (his "Pumper-Nicholl" celebration became his trademark), 431 assists and 758 total points in just 602 games-played, he ranks fifth on the Kings' all-time scoring list.
Drafted by the Kings fourth overall in 1980, Murphy set an NHL record for assists (61) and points (76) by a rookie blueliner and narrowly missed winning the Calder Trophy. In 1982, he was part of the Kings' "Miracle on Manchester" team along with Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer and Bernie Nicholls that upset Wayne Gretzky's favored Oilers in a five-game first-round playoff series that included a stunning 6-5 OT victory in Game Three after the Kings fell into a 5-0 hole by the end of the second peiiod. Murphy6 played just over three seasons for the Kings before being traded to Washington. His Hall of Fame career included four Stanley Cups (two with Pittsburgh, two with Detroit.)
"Lucky Luc" was beloved by Kings fans during his 14 seasons in LA. Chosen by the Kings with the 171st overall pick in the ninth round of the 1984 NHL Draft, he went on to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year for 1986-87. In 1992-93, he set NHL marks for goals (63) and points (125) by a left wing. A mainstay of LA's 1993 Cup final team, Robitaille now ranks second behind the great Marcel Dionne on the Kings' all-time scoring list with 577 goals, 597 assists and 1,154 points. On a league-wide scale, he's 10th all-time in goals (668) and 21st in scoring (1,394 points). The Kings retired his number (20) on January 20, 2007 and he now serves as the team's President of Business Operations.
The Kings and the NHL landscape were changed dramatically when the Great One was sent to LA in "The Trade" on August 9, 1988: Gretzky, Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski from Edmonton for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, $15 million and first-round picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993. Gretzky spent eight seasons with the Kings, leading them to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final against Patrick Roy and the Canadiens. Other Kings highlights: setting the team record for points in a season (168 in 1988-1989), passing Gordie Howe as the NHL's all-time points leader (reaching 1,851 on 10/15/89) and goals leader (802, on 3/23/94), and winning three scoring titles as well as the 1988-89 Hart Trophy as league MVP.
After winning four Stanley Cups with Wayne Gretzky in Edmonton, Kurri was reunited with Great One in LA in 1992 and they spent nearly five seasons together there. Though not as prolific offensively as he was with the Oilers, Kurri had a 60-assist, 87-point campaign for the Kings in '92-'93 when he and Gretzky led the Kings to the Cup final where they fell to Montreal. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.
The man with hockey's most famous mullet was appointed the Kings' head coach before the 1992-1993 season and guided a team with legends such as Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, and Luc Robitaille to the Stanley Cup Final. After failing to make the playoffs during the next two seasons, Melrose was dismissed, but he moved on to greater fame as a hockey analyst for ESPN.
During his years in Edmonton, McSorley earned the nickname "Wayne Gretzky's Bodyguard," and so he accompanied the Great One to LA in their famous 1988 trade. McSorley spent seven-plus seasons with the Kings, earning his keep as an enforcer -- as well as inspiring singer/songwriter John Ondrasik to name his band Five For Fighting; leading the NHL with 399 PIM in 1992-93. Unfortunately, he was caught using an illegal stick in Game 2 of the '93 Stanley Cup Final with the Kings up 2-1 with 1:45 to play. The resulting penalty allowed Montreal to tie the game, then the series in OT before taking the next three matches and the Cup.
The cornerstone blueliner spent 14 seasons with the Kings after they chose him with the 70th overall pick in the 1988 NHL Draft. During his time with the team, he was a four-time All-Star and the winner of the 1997-98 Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman. He was traded to Colorado in February 2001, but returned as a free agent in July 2006, spending two more seasons in LA. He ranks fourth all-time in games played and penalty minutes for the Kings.