The Kings terminated Richards' contract Monday on the basis of a breach of its requirements, rather than a simple buy out.
The club issued the following statement:
The Los Angeles Kings today have exercised the team's right to terminate the contract of Mike Richards for a material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player's Contract. We are not prepared to provide any more detail or to discuss the underlying grounds for the contract termination at this time.
It should be noted that a severe cap penalty would be attached to Richards' buy out, making a termination much more beneficial to the club's hockey operations.
TSN's Bob McKenzie noted that the Kings are set to continue their hockey operations free of contractual obligations to Richards. He was expected to count $5.75 million against the cap.
ESPN's Katie Strang reported that the breach of contract relates to an off-ice incident, which the Kings became aware of an hour after the first round of the NHL Draft began Friday. When the incident took place is unclear, Strang added.
The Kings were talking to the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames about a potential trade when Los Angeles general manager Dean Lombardi learned of the incident, and immediately halted trade talks, according to Strang.
The NHLPA is reviewing the situation, according to spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon:
We are in the process of reviewing the facts and circumstances of this matter, and will discuss the situation with the player in order to determine the appropriate course of action.