In a move made necessary by the current salary cap, the Detroit Red Wings used a compliance buyout on defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo this week. The veteran blueliner had one year left on the two-year, $5 million deal he had signed with the Red Wings, but injuries and strong performances from younger players made him expendable. All told, Colaiacovo appeared in just six regular season games and nine playoff contests with Detroit, registering one assist during the season and one in the postseason.
While Colaiacovo was out, the Red Wings got strong performances from youngsters Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff. Kindl chose a contract year to finally step up and play like a former first round pick, while Lashoff impressed so much that he was signed to a two-year, one-way deal. In March, the Red Wings were able to land coveted free agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser (Western Michigan University), which left little room for Colaiacovo when he finally was healthy. With a few targets in mind on the offensive end of things, the $2.85 million in cap space they gained with Colaiacovo’s buyout should prove helpful. It’s a sad end to a brief saga, but that’s the way things are in the NHL these days.
In 376 career games, Colaiacovo has scored 30 goals and has 140 points. He is 30 years old, but when healthy looked like he could still be a valuable depth addition for a contending team. He’s never been able to play a full season, and his time in Detroit did little to show that injuries aren’t a major concern for the team that decides to pursue his services.