A day after their parade to celebrate this season’s Stanley Cup championship, the Kings will have to turn the page — and quickly.

Already in effect, the buyout period for contracts is open until June 30.

Compliance buyouts offer a rare opportunity — coming out of the last collective bargaining agreement — to make heavy salary-cap hits go away. The Kings have a player who fits that category in center Mike Richards, who was an important part of what they did in the playoffs this year and in the 2012 Stanley Cup run.

After a fairly poor second half of the regular season, Richards gave them a lot in the postseason on the fourth line with Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis. Richards is at the midpoint of a 12-year contract, a deal carrying a salary-cap hit of $5.75 million per year.

What might look to be a smart financial move — to buy out the contract because they will need money to sign unrestricted free agent Marian Gaborik, and in later years, the talented kids coming through the system — is more complex than at first glance.
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The mechanism permits an organization to buy out a player’s contract but not have it count against the salary cap. This follows the same formula as garden-variety buyouts — in the case of Richards, who is 29, two-thirds of the remaining value of the contract would be paid out over the time frame of twice the remaining length of the contract.