Buffalo Sabres forward Ville Leino cleared waivers Wednesday and the team has used one of their two compliance buyouts on him, according to multiple reports.
Leino, 30, had three years remaining on a six-year, $27 million contract he signed prior to the 2011-12 season. The annual average value of the remaining contract is $4.5 million per season.
Leino signed the contract after he set career highs with 19 goals and 53 points for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2011-12. He did not have a goal in 58 games this season and had 15 assists. Leino has 10 goals and 46 points in 137 games with the Sabres.
"Free agency starts first of July, and we'll go from there," Leino's agent, Markus Lehto, told the Buffalo News, adding Leino was not surprised by the buyout. "His priority is to play in the NHL. He knows he's a very good NHL player. Obviously, the past two seasons have been just average, I would say, but I'm not going to go and try and analyze what happened. I mean, we'll just look forward."
The window for teams to offer a compliance buyout to players opened Monday. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams were given two special buyout provisions to be used after the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons that allow them to buy out a player's contract while not having it count toward the salary cap. This would be the first compliance buyout used by the Sabres.
Teams have until 5 p.m. ET on June 30 to decide to use a compliance buyout.