Ducks GM Bob Murray was expected to be one of the busiest executives in the league this summer, due to his surplus of defensemen, salary cap restraints and the goal of signing Cam Fowler to an extension.
On Friday, Murray took a step towards alleviating one of those concerns.
The Ducks will waive d-man Simon Despres for buyout purposes, per Sportsnet. Despres, 25, has missed 131 games over the last two years combined while dealing with concussion problems, and suited up for just one contest in ’16-17.
Acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh two years ago, Despres had a good initial showing in Anaheim. He scored seven points in 16 playoff games during the ’15 postseason, averaging nearly 21 minutes per night. Murray rewarded that showing with a five-year, $18 million extension — one that kicked in this past season, and carries a $3.7 million cap hit through 2021.
In October, Murray suggested that Despres’ career might be in jeopardy due to the aforementioned concussion problems.
“The Despres situation is one that is a very sensitive issue and it’s one that my whole goal hopefully is make it that Simon at the end of all this lives a happy, healthy, normal life,” Murray said, per ESPN. “It’s going to take some time before we get to that point. Really, it’s all I want to say at this time on that because it is sensitive and I feel real bad for Simon.”
Per CapFriendly, the Despres buyout will be spread over eight years — running until 2025 — with an average cost of $662,600. It is worth noting that next season’s hit would be $1.26M, followed by two years of a cap credit.
Updated: Murray released a statement Friday afternoon, saying: “Simon Despres is a good hockey player and a good person. But, at this point in time, we feel it is in the best interests of both Simon and the organization to part ways. We wish him the very best in the future.”