The Islanders are doing a bit of housecleaning today, as they’ve placed defenseman Brendan Witt on unconditional waivers. Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank says that this move is a precursor to an eventual buyout.
A buyout is probably in his future. The Islanders still carry seven defensemen on one-way contracts for the 2010-11 season. If they buy out this last season of his contract, the Islanders could add the cost as they reach the salary cap floor.
Witt is a throwback sort of defenseman. Big, bruising, physical, would fight your grandmother to get the puck, got hit by an SUV and live to tell about it. For what it’s worth, the final season of Witt’s contract is worth $3 million and buying him out of that won’t be quite as painful as say, for example, the Alexei Yashin buyout. While the Isles will miss his physical presence, they won’t miss his inability to keep up the pace in coach Scott Gordon’s more up tempo style of hockey. Given that the team sent him down to Bridgeport last season, having him put on waivers is just a common sense move for a veteran player.