By Mike Harrington
There's only one player on waivers in the NHL today, with TSN's Bob McKenzie reporting it's Dallas defenseman Aaron Rome. That means the Sabres and others are not immediately acting on their compliance buyouts, with most observers still fully expecting the Sabres to buy out winger Ville Leino sooner rather than later. Dallas will buy out the final year of Rome's $1.5 million deal.
The compliance buyout period, where players are given a check to essentially go away and no longer count on their team's cap, ends June 30. You have to be on waivers before you can be bought out but waivers are obviously a technicality in Leino's case because no team in the NHL would pick up his bloated contact, which has a cap hit of $4.5 million for each of the next three seasons.
The Sabres, however, have to at least be giving some consideration to a regular buyout of Leino, which would see them retain a portion of his cap hit to help their efforts to reach the cap floor for next season. John Vogl discussed the implications of both versions of a Leino buyout at this post last week, and a regular buyout would see some Leino money on the Sabres' cap through the 2019-20 season.
Elsewhere, the Boston Bruins have told tough guy Shawn Thornton that they will not be re-signing him and will be letting him head into free agency. Thornton spent the last seven years in Boston, posting career-highs of 10 goals and 20 points during the Bruins' 2010-11 Stanley Cup season.
Speaking to BostonBruins.com late this afternoon, GM Peter Chiarelli spoke wistfully of Thornton when he said, "He was here from almost the beginning and I told him he was one of the most significant acquisitions that we made. ... He was able to form one-third of maybe the best fourth line in hockey for the longest time."
Thornton, Gregory Campbell and former Sabre Daniel Paille formed that fourth line that helped Boston win its Cup in 2011. But he suffered a concussion in a beatdown from John Scott in January, 2013, and hasn't been much of a factor since.
In addition, he served a 15-game suspension last season for his attack on Pittsburgh's Brooks Oprik and was fined during the playoffs for spraying Montreal's P.K. Subban with water while sitting on the Bruins' bench.
One of the big takeaways from the Stanley Cup final is how important it is for teams to have four real lines. Both the Kings and Rangers did, with the role of pugilists like Thornton and Scott, who doesn't figure into the Sabres' plans, seemingly shrinking ever more on the NHL landscape. Thornton turns 37 in July, and this could be it for his career.
taggedBoston Bruins | Ville Leino