Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning buys out Ryan Malone contract

TAMPA — With Ryan Malone's role diminishing last season, general manager Steve Yzerman tried to trade the veteran wing. Then Malone was arrested in April on charges of DUI and cocaine possession.

Unable to work out a deal, Yzerman did on Wednesday what many expected, using a compliance buyout on the final season of Malone's contract. It saves $4.5 million (the average of his seven-year deal signed in June 2008) against the salary cap for the upcoming season.

The labor deal gave Tampa Bay until Monday to use its second buyout. (The first went to former captain Vinny Lecava­lier last summer.) It will pay two-thirds of Malone's $2.5 million salary ($1.67 million) evenly over two years and makes him an unrestricted free agent.

Yzerman said it was best for both parties to "move on."

"He wants to play," Yzerman said. "And … that wasn't going to happen in Tampa."

Agent Mike Liut said they expected the buyout and understood the move.

"With this particular contract and in the role that they had Ryan in if he stayed, I think this was a pretty logical step," Liut said. "He's fine with it. Nobody wants to get bought out of their contract, but it provides him with an opportunity to move on. The end result is him playing hockey somewhere else next year."

The buyout creates more cap flexibility with free agency opening Tuesday and helps in light of the new six-year, $34.8 million deal given to wing Ryan Callahan on Wednesday.

Malone, 34, has been hampered by injuries and inconsistencies since signing a $31.5 million deal. Last season he went from the top line to the fourth line to a healthy scratch. He also missed 16 games with a fractured ankle.

A three-time 20-goal scorer with the Lightning, Malone's five goals and 15 points in 57 games were his fewest in a season in which he played at least 50 games.

Then there are his legal issues, with his next court date scheduled for July. Liut wouldn't discuss if Malone, who has pleaded not guilty, is still in a substance-abuse program. But Liut doesn't expect a grievance/issue from the players union because if the season started today, he believes Malone would be eligible to play.

"Anyone that's ever played with Ryan knows he's a good guy and he's a good teammate," he said. "And good people make mistakes. That's a serious issue, and Ryan understands that."

Lightning buys out Ryan Malone contract 06/25/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 9:32pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.
  2. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  3. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand

    Bucs

    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. Kevin Cash: 'We've got to turn it around. ... Time is of the essence'

    Blogs

    The question to manager Kevin Cash was about a rematch with the Mariners this weekend at the Trop, but he made clear this afternoon that with his Rays losing nine of their last 12 that they have to treat every game as essential.

    "We've got to start playing good baseball games whether we match up well against that team or not," Kevin Cash said.
  5. Lightning wing J.T. Brown on why he donated to remove Confederate statue

    Blogs

    Lightning wing J.T. Brown was back in his Minneapolis offseason home over the weekend when he saw on TV the violent protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate statue.

    J.T. Brown decided to get involved, donating $1,500 to assist in removing a Confederate statue in Tampa.