The Buffalo Sabres placed Patrik Berglund on unconditional waivers with the intent to terminate his contract on Wednesday, something the team will provide “no further information” on at the moment.
This is the latest twist in a startling story. As the AP’s Stephen Whyno and others note, Sabres coach Phil Housley first explained Berglund’s absence as being related to an “illness,” seemingly covering for him. From there, Berglund was suspended for failing to report to the Sabres, and now Buffalo appears headed to terminate the remainder of his contract outright.
That part could be a pretty big deal for the Sabres, as they could free up quite a bit of money for a player who was struggling (just two goals and four points in 23 games) and possibly unhappy.
According to Cap Friendly, terminating Berglund’s contract would clear $2,235,484 off of Buffalo’s cap for the remainder of 2018-19, and save them $3.85M per season through 2021-22. Berglund could be out more than $12M overall.
The details are a bit hazy from the perspective of Berglund, a 30-year-old forward who spent most of his career (694 regular-season games, 60 postseason contests over 10 seasons) with the St. Louis Blues.
During a recent edition of Sportnet’s Headlines, Elliotte Friedman provided a report that “this has not been an easy marriage” for Berglund and the Sabres. The most painful detail is that Berglund was included in the Ryan O’Reilly trade right around the time Berglund’s contract shifted from a stricter clause to a more limited no-trade clause, and he may not have gotten his list of preferred teams in on time.
What’s next for Berglund is unclear, while the Sabres seemingly get to turn the page, and maybe put that money toward signing red-hot trade acquisition Jeff Skinner to an extension?
PHT will monitor this situation for more details, particularly if any additional information surfaces regarding Berglund’s situation, and maybe his future in hockey.
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.