Those words- can they even be used in a sentence like that?
Indeed, per Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple, the Islanders have decided to use their compliance buyout on the oft-injured goaltender, Rick DiPietro. Rick DiPietro signed a huge 15 year deal in 2006, and has been terrible since. Every year, Islander fans asked the same questions- can they buy him out? How much longer will they continue playing him? Well Islander fans, ask no more- for Ricky is gone.
He's played 50 games in the past 5 seasons with the NHL team. For the math geniuses out there, that's an average of 10 games a year. He also hasn't posted a save percentage over .900 in several years. Different injuries such as concussions, facial fractures and knee injuries have sidelined him for a huge portion of his career. A once proud player and considered to be the best American goaltender has fallen to a point of almost no return, as his body has literally given out on him. It's sad, really. He cares so much about the team that drafted him first overall and has always tried to get back and try to help the team get back to their winning ways, but it seems that he's more a symbol of mismanagement and years of uncertainty. With his departure from the team, the Islanders will save approximately $3 million in cap space, plus they can start moving forward.
But this may not be the end for DiPietro. Despite being set for life, there are a lot of teams that need goaltending help and he might be someone a team would be willing to give a backup role to, assuming he signs a reasonable contract. The Canucks reportedly had interest in dealing for DiPietro if it meant trading away Luongo, but seeing as they traded Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils, may take a chance on him as a backup. It's not likely, but he may see some action with another team. However, if I were a betting man, I'd say he'll collect his $1.5 million he'll receive annually until 2029 and spend time with his wife and family.
Where do the Islanders go from here? Well for starters, they have a shot to sign Daniel Briere to become their top line winger. They also have a goaltending need to fill, and the money they're saving will help them accomplish those things. I will be writing more when it gets closer to free agency, so stay tuned!
What do you think is Rick DiPietro's future? Let me know in the comments or tweet at me @tartmaster or @first_tensports!