Forward Danny Briere is preparing to become an unrestricted free agent as part of the Philadelphia Flyers’ offseason shakeup of their high-priced roster.
A person familiar with discussions confirmed on Wednesday that Briere has been informed by the Flyers that they intend to buy out the final two years of his contract.
The move will shave $6.5 million off the Flyers’ salary cap. Philadelphia had one of the NHL’s most expensive payrolls last season, and has been forced into a position to shed salary to get under next season’s cap, which will drop from $70.2 million to $64.3 million.
Under NHL rules, teams have the option of two amnesty buyouts to terminate contracts before the start of the 2014-15 season.
According to a TSN Canada report this week, the Flyers were expected to use their other buyout on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. However, Bryzgalov’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday he spoke to general manager Paul Holmgren about the situation and that Holmgren told him Bryzgalov would be a Flyer next season.
Philadelphia would have to pay Bryzgalov $23 million over the next 14 years if bought out.
The Flyers are still on the hook to pay Briere nearly $3.3 million of the $5 million the player was owed as part of the eight-year, $52 million contract he signed on July 1, 2007.
Briere is a 15-year NHL veteran, who had six goals and 10 assists in 34 games last season.
The move does not come as a surprise, and was one Briere anticipated could happen in late April, after the Flyers missed the playoffs.
‘‘I certainly hope I’ll still be here,’’ Briere had said. ‘‘But I also understand it’s a business, so we’ll see what happens with that.’’
The Flyers have begun retooling their roster after agreeing to sign newly acquired defenseman Mark Streit to a four-year, $21 million contract. The team acquired Streit last week in a trade with the Islanders.
Hybrid icing tryout
Hybrid icing could be on its way to the NHL.
The league’s general managers have embraced many changes recommended by the competition committee, including hybrid icing and the mandatory use of visors for all players entering the league. The group met before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston.
A blend of touch and no-touch icing that offers referees the discretion to blow a play dead will be in effect during the 2013-14 preseason. If the experiment is successful, hybrid icing will be implemented for the regular season, pending a vote by the league’s board of governors.
‘‘There’s different types of the hybrid icing that have been used in different leagues, so we’re still going to hammer some of those details out,’’ said Mathieu Schneider, a special assistant to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. ‘‘But essentially it’s meant to eliminate guys going full speed into the end boards.
‘‘If it makes the game safer, it’s a great thing.’’
Arena plan in place
The Red Wings and city officials announced a $650 million plan for a new arena development in Detroit’s downtown entertainment and sports district. Plans for an 18,000-seat arena were announced by the team’s owners and local economic development officials. Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch has long said he wanted a replacement for the 32-year-old Joe Louis Arena . . . The Predators signed defenseman Victor Bartley to a three-year, $2 million contract. The 25-year-old Bartley made his NHL debut this season and played in 24 games for the Predators. He ranked fourth in ice time with 19 minutes, 32 seconds.