The New Jersey Devils have placed Colin White and Trent Hunter on waivers for the purpose of buying out each player’s contract. Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice confirmed the report, which yours truly was tipped off on some four hours earlier with regards to White. Lou Lamoriello took advantage of a 48-hour window to severe ties to both players (or their contracts, depending on how you want to look at it). As long as each clears waivers by Tuesday at noon ET, then it is expected they will be bought out.
Hunter was acquired via trade with the New York Islanders for Brian Rolston last week, and had two years at $2 million per remaining on his deal. The decision to place White on waivers is a little more puzzling given the defensive stability he provides at a decent cap hit of $3 million. White was entering the final year of his current deal.
Cap implications via Gulitti:
For White, the buyout would be $2 million with the cap hit spread over two years—or $1 million per year. For Hunter, the buyout price would $2,666,667 with the cap hit spread over four seasons—or $666,667 per season.
White’s hulking frame kept the front of Martin Brodeur’s crease clear for the past 11 seasons, and he was a key member of two Devils Cup champion teams. He was left to reinvent his game to a certain degree after a serious eye injury left his vision significantly impaired in the 2007-08 pre-season. He removed the fighting component from his game, toned down the rough stuff and donned a visor, but his defensive end prowess remained.
White’s impending availability has HOTH contributor and Flames Nation overlord Kent Wilson licking his lips already:
With the departure of Robyn Regehr, there remains a significant hole in the Flames back-end. Feaster has acquired a lot of depth defenders ranging from Clay Wilson to Chris Butler this off-season, but none of them have a history of facing the tough match-ups Robyn Regehr faced night-in, night-out.
Colin White is such a defender. The 34-year old is no spring chicken and isn’t going to put up much offense, but he’s been a hard minutes muncher for years. Last season, he saw the third hardest quality of competition on the team and had the toughest zone start out of any Devils blueliner. When Brent Sutter was in NJ, White was top-four in terms of quality of competition and had the third hardest zone start on the blueline, so the Flames current bench boss is familiar with White and his potential utility.
Hunter has battled injuries over the past several seasons, but still figures as a decent bottom six winger with sound two-way ability if he can maintain some semblance of good health.
Call it Lou Lamoriello thinking with the future in mind and clearing some cap space, but it will be no simple task to replace the minutes and defensive presence of White. At least they’ll be able to allocate a significant portion of payroll to Zach Parise in the future.