Mike Richards assigned to AHL

Los Angeles Kings center Mike Richards cleared waivers Tuesday and will join the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL.

Richards will report to Manchester on Wednesday and plans to play Friday, Richards' agent, Pat Morris, told ESPN.com.

"There's still time here. He knows what he has to do," Kings general manager Dean Lombardi said Monday of Richards possibly being assigned to the AHL. "That part I am not questioning. The way the schedule is down there, it allows him to get his innings in, and conceivably he could be back here. That's the way we're approaching this. That's the short term.

"On the long term, he could be a different player. If you remember when Teemu Selanne when he went to Colorado, it looked like he was done. He looked done. But all of a sudden, things changed. He went on for a longer career. They're different players, but I see no reason why this can't happen here, either."

Although Richards was once one of the league's top two-way centers, his play has fallen to the point that he's been used by the Kings as a third- or fourth-line center over the past two seasons.

Richards, who will turn 30 next month, has only five goals and 10 assists in 47 games with Los Angeles this season. He has a minus-7 rating and has won only 48 percent of his faceoffs.

Acquired from the Flyers as part of a trade in 2011, Richards has five more years after this season on a 12-year deal signed with Philadelphia that carries a $5.75 million cap hit. His deal pays him $7 million this season, $6 million next season, then $5.5 million in 2016-17, $4.5 million in 2017-18, and $3 million each of the last two years.

"We don't win the first Cup without this guy," Lombardi said. "He set a tempo. There's still time here. I'm hoping that he's got to do what he's got to do to get going."

Richards scored 89 goals over three seasons with the Flyers from 2007-10, and the club made him its captain and signed him to the mammoth extension in December 2007.

However, his scoring production has dropped every year since 2010 -- down to just 11 goals last season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.