The Washington Capitals and forward Mike Richards agreed to terms Wednesday on a one-year, $1 million prorated contract.
Richards met with the NHL earlier Wednesday and has been given clearance to immediately resume his career.
"Organizationally, I think it's a low-risk move," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan told Monumental Network. "It's a one-year contract and it's not a high dollar amount ... and the upside is we have a player that's trying to re-establish himself, that's played the game at a high level, and has a good track record of playing on winning teams."
Richards won the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014 before his contract was terminated in June for what the Kings termed a material breach of its requirements. Richards faced a charge of possession of a controlled substance while entering Canada.
MacLellan said Richards has a preliminary court hearing later this month and "We think everything will work out in his favor."
MacLellan said the Capitals had been monitoring Richards' situation since the summer. He said he and Capitals coach Barry Trotz met with Richards last month, and spoke to former Kings teammate Justin Williams, who is in his first season with Washington.
"I think he's a motivated player," MacLellan said. "... I think he'd like to re-establish his reputation as it was before. He's been a good two-way player, he's been competitive, he's got a lot of respect around the League for his competitiveness and what he's accomplished on teams. He's been a leadership guy in some organizations and we hope we can get a part of that going forward."
Richards hasn't played an NHL game since April 9, and MacLellan said a conditioning stint with Hershey in the American Hockey League is possible. There is no timetable for him to join the Capitals lineup.
"We're going to see where he's at playing-wise," MacLellan said. "He's been a No. 1 center in this League, a third-line center, a two-way guy ... we're going to see where he's at physically and mentally and try and incorporate him into our lineup."
Richards was the 24th pick in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. He had an NHL career-high 80 points in 2008-09 and the following season scored a career-high 31 goals. He went to the Kings in June 2011 as part of a trade that sent forwards Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn to the Flyers.
Richards, who turns 31 on Feb. 11, had five goals and 11 assists in 53 games with Los Angeles last season.
"I think that this is a great opportunity for him, and the difference is you've got a good man in there working for him, Brian MacLellan," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said. "I think he's got a great chance. I'm pulling for him and I think he'll work through all of those issues. I think the great thing is he has people around him. Now everybody knows the facts and can help."
Richards has 179 goals and 482 points in 710 regular-season NHL games with the Flyers and Kings. He has 26 goals and 87 points in 124 Stanley Cup Playoff games.