NEW YORK (AP) -The New York Islanders said they will buy out the four years remaining on captain Alexei Yashin's 10-year contract.
"This decision was one of the hardest I have ever had to make" Islanders' owner Charles Wang said in a statement on the team's Web site Wednesday. "The organization holds Alexei in the highest regard - as a player, as a teammate and as a person. He was part of the revival of the franchise at a time when we had not qualified for the playoffs for eight seasons."
The 33-year-old Yashin was traded to the Islanders by the Ottawa Senators after the 2000-01 season. New York later signed the Russian to a 10-year contract worth $87.5 million. The four years left on the deal are worth $26.45 million, according to a report in Newsday.
"The Islanders have treated me with the utmost respect," Yashin said on the Islanders' Web site. "I've always believed in the vision Charles Wang has for the organization and although I won't be a part of it, I believe that the team is headed in the right direction. I'm looking forward to this new chapter in my life."
He had 119 goals and 171 assists for 290 points in 346 games, but struggled the last two seasons, missing 24 games this season with a sprained right knee. He was scoreless in the Islanders' 4-1 first-round playoff loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Under the NHL collective bargaining agreement, the Islanders can buy Yashin out by paying two-thirds of the remaining amount ($17.63 million) over the next eight years. The salary-cap hit would be some $2.2 million per season over that time.