Richards gives Kings much-needed offensive boost

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Richards, an Ontario native, has played at least 73 games in all but one of his six NHL seasons with the Flyers. Before dipping to 23 goals last season, he had notched 31, 30, and 28 goals in the previous three years. Richards signed a 12-year, $69 million extension during the 2007-08 season.

He got a call from his agent during the afternoon and was told there was a 90 percent chance he would be traded Thursday. Richards then surfed the Internet and found out about the deal just moments before he received another call that confirmed the news.

“I actually never heard one rumor,” Richards said. “Not one person has ever said anything to me about being traded until about 1:30 or 2:00 today.”

Now he will join a core with the Kings that is led by Kopitar, who had a club-best 73 points _ including 25 goals, just three behind club leader Dustin Brown, who is the team captain.

This group can expect to play together for quite some time.

Kopitar signed a seven-year contract extension in October 2008, and Brown agreed to a six-year extension a year earlier. Defenseman Matt Greene is in the midst of a five-year deal, forward Justin Williams inked a four-year extension in February, fellow forward Jarret Stoll is playing under a four-year extension, and defenseman Rob Scuderi left the Pittsburgh Penguins to join the Kings in 2009 when he signed a four-year deal.

“I’m not sure how I am going to fit in, but I like the makeup of the team,” Richards said. “They have a lot of skill: two great goaltenders up to the defense who is skilled and play the game hard. Then you have a lot of depth at the forward positions, too.”

Los Angeles dipped into its youth to get this trade done, sending the 22-year-old Simmonds and the 19-year-old Schenn to Philadelphia.

Simmonds had 14 goals and 16 assists in 80 games with the Kings last season, his third in the NHL. He was chosen by Los Angeles in the second round, the 61st pick overall, in the 2007 draft. He had 39 goals, 93 points, and 264 penalty minutes in 240 regular-season games. and Simmonds played in all 12 Kings playoff games the past two years.

Schenn, the younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn, provides an even bigger upside. After being taken with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft, he has gotten a small taste of the NHL. Schenn played in one game during the 2009-10 season and eight more last season, notching a total of two assists.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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