His name has become shorthand for ill-executed, extremely long-term contracts–he’s on a 15-year, $67.5 million contract that is good through 2021–but now, the New York Islanders have done something out of left field with their infamous goaltending albatross: they are placing Rick DiPietro (seen above stirring a cup of Tim Hortons coffee while doing door duty in Toronto) on waivers.
The process became official at noon Eastern time and now all 29 other teams have 24 hours to put in a claim. But if he clears waivers without any team putting in a claim on him, he’ll go down to the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Note that the new collective bargaining agreement eliminated the process of re-entry waivers. The rules of the new CBA stipulate that DiPietro will still have a cap hit, but pro-rated to $3.6 million and down from his $4.5 million normal cap hit, regardless of if he’s in the state of New York or the state of Connecticut.
Not only is the name DiPietro associated with the kind of super long-term deals that will extend into multiple presidencies and encompass many different Olympic Games, it’s also associated with being bitten by the injury bug. The first overall selection in the 2000 draft has found himself injured so often that he played fewer than 50 games over the past four seasons, 2008-09 to 2011-12, combined.
DiPietro found himself with Bridgeport for a short four-game stint during the 2009-10 season. Interestingly, I just learned by looking at his less-than-stellar records that he actually played in the German second-tier league during the last lockout, although only for one game.
Where do the Islanders go from here? They may choose to call up a goalie from Bridgeport, possibly Kevin Poulin. He’s had some experience in the big show, playing six Islanders games last season and 10 in 2010-11. He has a 15-13-3 record with the Tigers this season. A less likely candidate for upgrading is Anders Nilsson, who’s also in the AHL. He has only four games of NHL experience and a losing 7-10-0 record with Bridgeport this year.
No matter what happens next, the fact that the Islanders have waived DiPietro is kind of a big deal.