Defenseman Tom Gilbert is on his way out in Minnesota, Nick Leddy is back with the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, and the New York Islanders have parted ways with goalie Rick DiPietro’s long contract.
Wednesday proved to be a busy day for NHL teams, who scrambled to make subtractions and additions before the free-agent signing period opens at noon on Friday.
Gilbert was one of five players waived for the purpose of contract buyouts. The others were Vancouver defenseman Keith Ballard, Detroit defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, Nashville forward Sergei Kostitsyn, and Buffalo forward Nathan Gerbe.
Due to the NHL salary cap decreasing this season, we needed to make this difficult decision to give the team more flexibility, Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said regarding the team’s decision to waive Gilbert.
Some teams re-signed their players, too.
Leddy agreed to a two-year contract before he was eligible to become a restricted free agent.
I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to remain in Chicago, said Leddy, who had two assists in 23 playoff games for the Blackhawks.
The Dallas Stars announced the signing of Jordie Benn to a three-year deal, preventing him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
DiPietro, meanwhile, cleared waivers on Wednesday, allowing the Islanders to buy out what is left of the 15-year, $67.5 million contract the former No. 1 draft pick signed before the 2006-07 season.
Washington defenseman Jeff Schultz also cleared waivers and is expected to have the remaining two years and $6 million left on his contract bought out.
Philadelphia issued qualifying offers to retain the rights to defensemen Erik Gustafsson, Oliver Lauridsen, Brandon Manning and forward Eric Wellwood. The Flyers declined to make offers to defenseman Blake Kessel and forward Mitch Wahl, allowing both to become unrestricted free agents.
The St. Louis Blues re-signed defenseman Jordan Leopold to a two-year contract.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is confident he will reach a deal to re-sign goalie Tuukka Rask, while adding he anticipates backup Anton Khudobin to test free agency.
Chiarelli is also having a change of heart on Jaromir Jagr. He said he would consider re-signing the veteran forward now that the team expects to lose Nathan Horton in free agency.
Yeah, I’m open to all options and alternatives, Chiarelli said in regards to replacing Horton.
Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek announced on his Twitter account that he is on his way out of Toronto. Set to make $3.5 million over the final two years of his contract, Komisarek is expected to be bought out after spending part of last season playing in the minors.
The Florida Panthers announced they used a standard buyout on 36-year-old defenseman Filip Kuba, meaning the remaining year of his contract will still count against the salary cap. Kuba had a goal and nine assists in 44 games last season.