Uniondale, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The New York Islanders placed goaltender Rick DiPietro on waivers Friday, relegating him to the minors where he could sharpen his game anew.
DiPietro is expected to report to the team’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport if he clears waivers Saturday.
“The decision was made primarily as a first step to get him back to the form he was in before he started getting all these injuries,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said. “It’s a situation where we want Rick to have every chance to get back to that success.”
DiPietro started the season for the Islanders with a 0-3-0 record with a dreadful 4.10 goals-against average and .855 save percentage.
The Islanders signed DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract before the start of the 2006-07 season, which pays him $4.5 million annually through 2021.
The first pick of the 2000 NHL Draft, DiPietro is 130-136-8 in his career, with a 2.87 GAA and .902 save percentage in 318 National Hockey League games.
DiPietro, a former first overall draft pick, was upset when informed of the team’s decision, Snow said.
“He was disappointed, like any player would be in that situation,” Snow said.
Snow also declined to say whether the Islanders will move towards a potential buyout of DiPietro’s contract.
“We haven’t given that any consideration at this point,” Snow said. “I’m not gonna speculate what the future may hold.”
The Islanders have an option to exercise a transition buyout on DiPietro’s contract. Each team was provided two of these in the new collective bargaining agreement, to be used in the summers of 2013 and 2014.
The team could also elect to employ the traditional buyout rule, which would allow the team to retain his cap hit.
Without DiPietro, the Islanders would likely to recall 22-year-old prospect Kevin Poulin from the minors to back up veteran Evgeni Nabokov in net.