San Jose Sharks Reportedly Interested in Mike Richards


The San Jose Sharks are reportedly kicking tires on free agent center Mike Richards, according to Hockey Night In Canada‘s Elliotte Friedman.

Richards last played for the Los Angeles Kings, where he won Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. His contract was terminated by the team this offseason after he was detained at the Canadian border with oxycodone in his possession. Richards is awaiting trial in January and will likely remain unsigned until his legal issues have been sorted out.

If he’s cleared to return to the NHL, San Jose could be a good fit. Sharks bench boss Peter DeBoer coached Richards with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers from 2001 through 2005, and the two won a Memorial Cup together in 2003. Richards was also the captain of DeBoer’s 2005 World Junior Championships team that won gold for Canada.

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The familiarity is there, as is the winning pedigree that Sharks general manager Doug Wilson values so highly.

Originally drafted in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, Richards spent six years in orange and black. He posted back-to-back 30-goal seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10 and served as the club’s captain for two years prior to being dealt to Los Angeles in the summer of 2011.

Richards’ offensive numbers have dipped significantly since then. In 53 games last season, the 30-year-old pivot managed just five goals and 11 assists. He was waived and sent down to the AHL for the first time in his career, spending 16 games with the Manchester Monarchs.

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He’s no longer the two-way force he was in Philadelphia, but Richards can provide value in other areas. He has been one of the league’s top face-off men throughout his career and remains a capable penalty-killer. His grit and physical play make him a strong fit for a bottom-six role — particularly on a Sharks squad that could use some veteran depth up front.