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The Toronto Maple Leafs have placed defenceman Jared Cowen on waivers this afternoon, in preparation for the buyout of the remainder of his contract in the coming days.
Cowen on waivers for buyout purposes.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 15, 2016
The move coincides with the opening of the NHL’s buyout window. A buyout was identified as Cowen’s potential end game with Toronto from the very start, and the team confirmed his fate just a few weeks later in a post-trade deadline media briefing.
“We have talked to Jared.” Lou Lamoriello said on February 29th. “With his situation and with one year left, and with his cap hit, he will not be playing another game this year. Our intention is to buy him out on July 1st.”
Cowen has a unique back-loaded contract which allows for a net buyout penalty of just $100,000 over two years. $750,000 of it will come in 2017/18, meaning that his “penalty” next year is actually a $650,000 cap incentive. Many felt that other teams would be interested in acquiring the 25-year-old defencemen for this reason, but given that the Leafs have a ton of weight coming off the books next year (Tim Gleason’s buyout, Jonathan Bernier, Stephane Robidas, Matt Hunwick, Milan Michalek, Colin Greening, and Brooks Laich), using the benefit on themselves to make more aggressive long-term moves this summer might play in their favour.
It also helps that the Chicago Blackhawks found an alternative means of cap relief today, as they sent Brian Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to the Carolina Hurricanes for draft picks.
Cowen ends his career with the Leafs with no games played, and no points. The 6’5 defensive defenceman will likely require some patience before finding a team that will give him another chance, this summer, but in a world where Erik Gudbranson is worth prospects and picks, I suppose anything is possible.
The buyout will project the Leafs at approximately $15 million in Cap Space before accounting for Injured Reserve.