Jared Cowen

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As expected, Leafs waive Cowen for buyout purposes

The Jared Cowen era in Toronto is over, and what an era it wasn’t.

Cowen, acquired as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster with Ottawa, was placed on waivers today by the Maple Leafs, a precursor to the club buying him out of his contract.

The former ninth overall pick never played a game for Toronto after being acquired. Dealing with a hip injury that’s dogged him throughout his career, Cowen was sent home shortly after the Phaneuf trade.

The Leafs didn’t want to risk playing him and potentially re-aggravating the injury, because the goal all along was to buy Cowen out.

See, Cowen has a curious clause in his deal — per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, any team that buys out Cowen this summer gets a salary cap credit of $650,000.

The 25-year-old rearguard — the ninth overall pick in 2009 — has one year left on his four-year, $12.4 million deal.

Of course, once the buyout’s complete, that won’t be of concern for teams looking to acquire him — and it’s safe to assume there will be teams looking.

Despite questions about his mobility, Cowen is still a 6-foot-5, 240-pound defenseman that showed some promise early in his career.

Buyout window opens Wednesday, here are some candidates

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Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded, it’s time to move on to an equally enjoyable topic — players that will be paid to go away this summer!

The NHL’s buyout window opens on Wednesday, 48 hours after the final game of the season. A quick refresher on the math (per General Fanager):

Buyouts are paid over twice the number of years remaining on the player’s contract.

The rate is one-third of the total salary remaining for players under the age of 26, and two-thirds for those 26 and older.

There are a bunch of other smaller rules and regulations so, if you’d like to read about those, head over to the General Fanager page. It’s a good site.

Now, for the potential buyout candidates?

— Rumblings have Minnesota considering a Thomas Vanek buyout. Vanek, 32, is heading into the last of a three-year, $19.5 million deal with a $6.5M cap hit, and is owed $7.5 million in salary. He’s coming off a disappointing year in which he scored a career-low 18 goals.

— Nashville GM David Poile said buying out veteran forward Eric Nystrom could happen, if he’s unable to trade Nystrom prior to the window. Nystrom, 33, carries a $2.5 million cap hit but is set to pull in $3M in salary next season.

R.J. Umberger said he expects the Flyers to buy him out. Umberger, 33, is heading into the last year of a contract that pays $4.6 million annually.

Toronto is expected to do the same with d-man Jared Cowen, who was acquired in the Dion Phaneuf trade but never played for the Leafs.

Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins, both facing uncertain futures in Vancouver, are also candidates to be bought out.

Chicago could finally decide to part ways with Bryan Bickell, whose four-year, $16 million contract has been an albatross the last couple of seasons.

— Former Oilers captain Andrew Ference, who only played in six games last year before getting shut down, could be in line for a buyout. This one may be more complicated, though, depending on Ference’s health. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in January, and it’s unclear if he’s fully recovered.

Jared Cowen won’t play for Leafs, who plan on buying him out

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Jared Cowen won’t play for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season, and the plan is to buy him out during the off-season.

That’s what GM Lou Lamoriello told the media as he discussed the trade deadline on Monday.

This announcement comes from reporters including ESPN’s Craig Custance:

Here’s the press conference itself, which touches on other issues.

If that buyout goes as planned, here’s the expected cost:

Cowen was part of the trade that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators.

It’s been a tough season for Cowen, who obviously lost favor toward the end of his time with the Senators. At 25, he has time to turn things around … it just won’t happen with the Maple Leafs.

Roundup: ‘Hawks waive Sekac, Leafs waive Cowen, Malone clears

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A few notable transactions to pass your way in advance of Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline…

— Chicago has waived Jiri Sekac, just one month after acquiring him from Anaheim in exchange for Ryan Garbutt. Sekac, 23, appeared in just six games for Chicago, registering one assist while averaging 10:04 TOI per night.

It’s worth noting Chicago is Sekac’s third team since breaking in with Montreal during the ’14-15 campaign. He’s currently in the last of a two-year, $2.7M deal with a $1.35 average annual cap hit.

— Toronto has waived Jared Cowen, just two weeks after acquiring him from Ottawa in the Dion Phaneuf trade. Cowen, who’s dealing with a hip injury, has yet to play for the Leafs and it’s widely assumed the club is looking to get out of his contract (a four-year, $12.4M pact with a $3.1M average annual cap hit, and one year remaining.)

— Carolina forward Brad Malone, put on waivers yesterday, has cleared.

Malone, 26, has five points through 37 games this year but has been a healthy scratch on numerous occasions. Prior to getting parked in the press box, he was best known as a physical, hard-hitting presence that drew the ire of Columbus captain Nick Foligno for a big hit back in early January.

Malone is in the second of a two-year deal worth $1.3 million. It carries an average annual cap hit of $650,000.

 

Dion Phaneuf traded to Senators

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And this is why we listen when Bob McKenzie says something.

The Ottawa Senators have acquired defenseman Dion Phaneuf, forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, and Ryan Rupert and undrafted defensive prospect Cody Donaghey from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg, plus Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 draft.

No salary will be retained by either team.

From the Leafs’ perspective, the trade provides even more cap flexibility for their rebuild. Phaneuf is signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $7 million; he’s entirely on Ottawa’s books now. As for the guys coming to Toronto, Michalek, Cowen, and Greening are only under contract through next season, for a combined cap hit of around $10 million. And according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, both Cowen and Greening could be bought out by the Leafs this offseason.

The Sens, meanwhile, get to add a workhorse defenseman to a blue line that already includes Erik Karlsson. Plus, they rid themselves of some onerous contracts.