The Capitals signed two-time Stanley Cup champion Mike Richards to a one-year, $1 million contract on Wednesday. Here is a timeline of what has been a tumultuous NHL career for the 30-year-old native of Kenora, Ontario:
Dec. 13, 2007: At the age of 22, Richards signs a 12-year, $69 million contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers
June 23, 2011: Flyers trade Richards to the Los Angeles Kings for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and second-round draft pick in 2012
June 11, 2012: Richards wins his first Stanley Cup with the Kings
June 14: 2014: Richards wins his second Stanley Cup with the Kings
Jan. 27, 2015: Reduced to a fourth-line role with 5 goals and 10 assists in 47 games and a plus-minus rating of minus-7, Richards clears waivers and is demoted to the AHL Manchester Monarchs
June 17, 2015: Richards is stopped at the Canadian border in Emerson Manitoba, near North Dakota, for allegedly trying to enter Canada with Oxycodone pills
June 28, 2015: The Kings place Richards on unconditional waivers
June 29, 2015: The Kings terminate Richards' contract, citing a “material breach”
Aug 25, 2015: A charge against Richards is formally filed in court
Oct. 9, 2015: The Kings and the NHL Players Association avoid going to arbitration, reaching a settlement on a contract that had five years and $22 million remaining. The total payout is $10.5 million, with part of Richards' salary counting against the Kings' salary cap through the 2031-32 season, according to Sportsnet in Canada. The Kings absorb a $3.12 million cap hit this season, which will drop to $1.57 million for each of the next four years. The cap hit will be between $400,000 and $900,000 from 2021-22 to 2031-32.
Oct. 9, 2015: Kings GM Dean Lombardi provides the L.A. Times a written summation of the Mike Richards saga, calling it:
"Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career," Lombardi writes. "At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now-and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.
"Anyone close enough to me knows how much I loved Mike Richards. I believed that when I had acquired him, I had found my own Derek Jeter. But the fact is that he was never close to the player that he was after his best seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10 in Philadelphia. His production dropped 50% and the certain 'it' factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily. This is a player that in 2010 was instrumental in Canada's gold medal run and by 2014, while still in his prime, was not even in the conversation for making the team."
"I tried everything with Mike — meeting with him constantly, sending him to concussion specialists, traveling in the off-season to visit with him at his summer home — and everything failed," Lombardi wrote. "I heard the rumors that Mike might have some off-ice issues, but I refused to believe that they were true despite some obvious signs.
"The reality is that I was 'played.' My only regret, though, is that I wish Mike had been able to come to me with his problem — and that was the last message I left for him on his cellphone when I learned of the incident and all the history leading up to the incident."
"I believe that what happened to Mike Richards is a tragedy and I cannot let it go. My short-term goal is to win championships; my long-term goal is to eventually become more involved with groups studying the changing values that are becoming increasingly evident in sport and their root causes," he wrote.
"I certainly believe that Mike Richards must be held accountable for his actions — but when a player who at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport can become caught in such a destructive spiral, then I believe the institution of sport must begin to examine its level of culpability.”
Nov. 12, 2015: In a story in the Waterloo Region Record, Richards says he is working out with the OHL Kitchener Rangers with the hope of resuming his NHL career, saying, “My goal is to get back into the NHL and I'm working out hard to do that.
"I don't think it's about having anything to prove but more that burning desire to continue to have success. Winning those Stanley Cups were probably the best times of my life. I think that's what pushes me and keeps me going … to try and do that again.
“Obviously, it has been stressful. Everyone says different things but I know who my family and friends are and that's all that really matters, having their support.
"You can't do anything about it now but push forward and look toward the future and try to learn from your mistakes."
Jan. 6: The Capitals sign Richards to a one-year, $1 million contract