By Mary Cunningham

For former Flyer captain Mike Richards (above right with Jeff Carter), one of the stars of the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup Finals run, this is:

The Long Good-Bye.

In a surprising move, the Los Angeles Kings have terminated the contract of forward Richards, whom the Flyers dealt to the Kings in 2011.

The Kings were widely expected to buy out the final years of Richards’ deal Monday morning and take the corresponding cap hit through the 2024-25 season. Richards has five years and $22 million left on his contract.

Earlier this month, Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said he was looking at a trade, a subsidy or a buyout for Richards, anything that would allow the Kings to offload some of the burden of the deal, but there weren’t any takers for a center whose production has declined so dramatically.

Instead, the Kings have decided to terminate his contract for a material breach of requirements.

From the Kings’ website:

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.

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