WWYDW: A Professional Tryout for Mike Richards

Edmonton’s depth at centre is not good at the moment. With Connor McDavid on the shelf long-term, Edmonton has been employing all of Mark Letestu, Anton Lander and Andrew Miller at centre; that trio has now combined for 42 games but not a single even-strength point.

With that in mind, does it make sense for the Oilers to offer free agent centre Mike Richards a professional tryout?

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Peter Chiarelli2

Back before the Kings terminated Richards’ contract, the Oilers were discussing the possibility of a trade with Los Angeles. Via ESPN’s Katie Strang:

The team was already in the process of trying to trade him — discussions were in place with both the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames — but Kings general manager Dean Lombardi immediately informed both teams upon learning about the situation that he had no prior knowledge of the incident and halted those talks, according to a source.

Circumstances have of course changed. This was all before Richards was charged with possessing a controlled substance. At the time, Richards had a brutal long-term contract, and the Kings were undoubtedly offering Edmonton incentives in exchange for taking on his onerous cap hit. The ugly cap hit is gone, but the legal trouble and lack of sweeteners may leave the Oilers without any interest in the player.

However, those trade talks do suggest that general manager Peter Chiarelli saw Richards as being capable of playing some role on his hockey team. It’s possible he still sees him as a potentially useful player in Edmonton.

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Yea or Nay?

Shrugging Veronica

Richards will be in court on December 8, but a recent report published on the Toronto Star website suggests that won’t be the end of the matter:

Hymie Weinstein, who is acting as an agent for the Toronto-based [lawyer David] Humphrey, said Richards “will certainly not be saying anything while this matter is before the court.” Weinstein said he expects Richards to plead not guilty, and that he believes the Dec. 8 hearing date will be pushed back “months and months and months.”

A long delay would afford Richards the opportunity to play in the NHL this season, and to start getting his career back on track.

At his best, Richards was a top-line two-way centre who could play in all situations, both aiding the power play and killing penalties. In 2008-09 he posted career-best numbers, scoring 30 goals and adding 50 assists in 79 games played.

He hasn’t been at his best in recent years. He was a minus player for three consecutive seasons in Los Angeles, and his underlying numbers indicate that was no fluke; the Kings were legitimately a much worse team when he was on the ice. He managed 41 points in 2013-14 but fell to just five goals and 11 assists in 53 contests last season. Recently he hasn’t been a strong two-way player or offensive option.

As always with What Would You Do Wednesday, we turn to the comments section for the answer. Would you bring Richards in? Why or why not?

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  • vetinari

    Think we should pass. Season is likely toast and Richards best years are behind him. Also don’t want Richard’s stupidity to infect the young Oilers in any way, shape or form.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      X2. why didn’t the Oilers just re-sign Derek Roy? at least his speed hasn’t diminished as much as Richards has, he’s a good pro and he doesn’t come with the baggage that Richards does.

    • Jay (not J)

      If those kids are going to find trouble, they don’t need Mike Richards to show them around. Frankly, if any of them are the sort who are likely to go in for that sort of thing they are probably already well on their own way.
      Mike Richards may never be the offensive player that LA thought they were trading for, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have something to offer the Oilers. The guy has had to learn some hard lessons. He’s seen his career hanging by a thread and he’s also seen the other extreme. I don’t know much about the guy’s personality, but if the Oilers brass feel that he can contribute on the ice they might find the mentor that this team has been sorely lacking since the Sykora year.
      Lots of good people have been pinched for recreational drug use. Making a quick judgement on a guy that could possibly help this team only hurts the Oilers.

      • vetinari

        Quick judgment? His production has been dismal for years and he now has criminal charges pending that confirmed to his former team that it was the best time to terminate his contract and move on. No quick judgement here.

        Think it’s a coincidence that more than one King has had trouble with the law in the past few years and that the Kings now have a player conduct officer to help guide the team?

        Richards can’t help this team on the ice and he can’t help this team off the ice.


        • Jay (not J)

          I think that it’s pretty obvious what happened to his production in the last few years. He would have to prove on the ice that he still belongs in the NHL. I don’t really see what you’re trying to say about the Kings and coincidence so I will just leave it. Your final assessment is completely unsupported. Oilers management has a responsibility to the team and the fans to look deeper than last year’s headlines.
          Grant Fuhr is an example of a guy who got into trouble with the law and the league regarding substance abuse. When he came back he was much better than when he left and he managed to extend his career as well as set himself up well for a post playing career.

  • Oilfan69

    One of the biggest requirements in building a winning team is to have character guys in the locker room.

    I am not impressed with Richard’s character.

    A definite, no thank you.

    • Kevwan

      Character = winning

      The LA Kings won with Voynov, Carter, Richards, Brown, Stoll, etc. Heck they even had Penner, who I like, but who is constantly criticized for being lazy and of poor character (not my opinion).

      Some of these guys have modest character issues. Some of these guys would be serving 10+ year prison sentences if they were black teenagers instead of rich white guys. Either way it discredits the idea that character (defined in this case as being a good person) correlates well with winning Stanley cups.

      Heck Pat Kane has a Conn Smyth, and whether you think he’s recently guilty or not, he did beat up a cabbie and has a long history of Douchebaggery credited to his name.

      That said I’m not even pro-Richards, I just think the idea of character tends to get a little bit inflated.

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        Penner was in Mactardeds dog house for being lazy. He was also the only 30 goal scorer the oilers had seen in years. I dont think his character was ever in question. He’s a really intelligent guy who was always great with the media and fans.

        • chickenStew

          Are you sure you are qualified to be commenting on character issues while throwing around the name “Mactarded”?

          You should be ashamed of yourself.

          • chickenStew

            It helps if you have character of your own.

            Would you call MacT, “Mactarded” in front of Joey Moss?
            Would you say that if you had a mentally challenged family member?
            Do you think that everyone that reads the comments on here has the maturity level of a teenager?

            This place has found it’s lowest common denominator this year.
            We’ve got one Bozo making fun of people’s kid’s sexuality, we’ve got another making fun of disabled people. What’s next? Race? Religion?
            If you think you can just bark away with impunity about this stuff, forget it. I’ll call you out on it every time, and rightfully so.

            It would be a shame if this site was lost because of a few ignorant commenters and a few weak moderators.

          • S cottV

            This just in… There’s ignorant people in the world that go onto the interwebz and make insulting comments.

            Thanks for bringing this to our attention, And I support your 1 man mission to rid this interwebz page of such childish and insulting behaviour. Who knew there would be such people in the world?!?!

            Let’s make this page a Eutopian example of respectful interwebz behaviour!!

          • Mooseroni

            Bugger off, he apologized, and your being pretty rude yourself there chicken. Go be politically correct somewhere else and threaten to shut down THEIR websites. This isn’t the CBC.

          • chickenStew

            Did I hurt your feelings?

            I don’t give a crap if you don’t like what I had to say. I’ve been here from the start and I’m not going anywhere.

            It’s not about being politically correct, it’s about being plain old correct. Nobody apologized, they just kept chirping. I’ll chirp back. Problem?

            I happen to have both of the targets of the insults in my immediate family. It’s hard enough for them in this world without unthinking ignoramuses using slurs for all to hear on a daily basis. If I have to defend my kids on here instead of talking hockey, I will. Meanwhile, you can go back to polishing your truck nuts, or whatever you deem important in your world.

          • Gregggggg

            Anyone with half a brain can tell that he was joking. No I’m not taking a shot at disabled people with my “half a brain comment”.

            You act like he went on a tirade, making fun of disabled people.

            Keep fighting this great moral battle though.

            You’re like the guy who gets offended at a stand-up comedy show.

          • ubermiguel

            Sadly, use of the word “retarded” (or its variants) generally ends only when someone in their family has a developmental disability. Apparently even Oilers fans that should know better don’t seem to get it. I happen to like the Nations for the generally intelligent and respectful (if irreverent) commentary and would hate to see it devolve into a typical internet comment board.

            Edit: oh and on the actual topic at hand Richards has unresolved legal issues and is on the downside of his career. If hockey insiders say he’s an amazing locker room leader and mentor then maybe you take a flyer on him, but if not he’s a pass.

          • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

            Al lot of people keep at you when we all have used derogatory terms we regretted later. You maned up and owned it. I’m good.
            I like a lot of your comments and I like your passion for the team. I would sit with you at a game anytime. (sadly the last hockey team in my state Traded Gretzky over a bet so no Oilers games for me)

            Edit I feel like I just won the lottery with comment #99!

        • S cottV

          How do you know that Penner is really intelligent?

          I saw him one time walk past a little kid who wanted an autograph so maybe all the other times he was great with the fans but that time it looked like he could have stopped and signed.

          • dangersuede

            And I suppose that you called Craig McTavish MacTarded by listening to him as well.

            I know Craig.

            You can comment on his hockey career but to so low as to call him Mactarded is not called for at all.

            There is probably a web site that accommodates people like you.

        • Dwayne Roloson 35

          I think I make it pretty clear in my post that I don’t have issues with the guy’s character.

          That said you make it seem like MacT is the only guy to take issue with him. Fact is every team he has played for, other than Anaheim when he started, have publicly questioned his commitment to both fitness and playing hard, even when he was scoring goals.

          Edmonton did it, true.
          LA did it. It’s why they didn’t keep him around.
          Anaheim did it during his second run, that’s why despite all his talent and upside he couldn’t hold down a spot on the wing with Getzlaf and Perry.
          Washington did it to.

          It’s also why he hasn’t played in the NHL in 2 seasons despite only being 33.

          So I stand by my original point, even though I’m a fan of his and very much appreciated him as an Oiler.