The New York Islanders waived goaltender Rick DiPietro on Friday, ending one of the oddest — and most expensive — sagas possibly in league history.
The Islanders put DiPietro on waivers with the intent of sending him to their AHL team in Bridgeport, Conn. The Islanders were expected to recall Kevin Poulin once DiPietro clears waivers or is claimed by another team so that he would back up Evgeni Nabokov.
DiPietro, 31, has struggled to live up to expectations with a career record of 130-136-36. This season, he had a career-worst 4.10 goals-against average and .855 saves percentage.
DiPietro grew up in Winthrop and went to St. Sebastian’s before playing one season at Boston University. In 2000, DiPietro was drafted as the No. 1 overall pick by GM Mike Milbury.
The team signed DiPietro to an unprecedented 15-year, $67.5 million contract in September 2006 — a deal that now exceeds the term limits permitted. There are eight years at $4.5 million per season remaining on DiPietro’s deal.
DiPietro would earn his NHL salary while in the minor leagues and still count against the Islanders’ salary cap.
New York needs that cap hit, along with the $5 million charge it is carrying for suspended goalie Tim Thomas to stay above the league minimum payroll of $44 million.
Blackhawks 2, Sharks 1 — Brandon Saad scored shorthanded in the third period as host Chicago (14-0-3) set an NHL record for the best start to a season, breaking the mark set by the 2006-07 Ducks, who earned points in their first 16 games.
Penguins 3, Panthers 1 — Matt Niskanen and Dustin Jeffrey scored third-period goals to lead host Pittsburgh over Florida, even though Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the last 15 minutes after getting banged up sliding back-first into the end boards.
Canucks 1, Predators 0 — Dale Weise scored at 9:14 of the third period and Roberto Luongo made 23 saves as Vancouver won in Nashville.