June 30 2012 09:56AM
Colby Armstrong was bought out Saturday, the day before NHL free agency, as per several hockey sources including Colby Armstrong's own Twitter account:
Thanks to the leaf nation for the support over the last couple seasons. Although I had tough luck thanks for everything. #lotsleftinme— Colby Armstrong (@armdog) June 30, 2012
It's not really a huge debate, but Armstrong certainly had his share of misfortune in Toronto. He had strong underlying numbers in Atlanta and Pittsburgh, but his health took a turn for the worse in Toronto. He missed games with everything from "blurred vision" to a "sprained left foot" and played just 79 games in two seasons for the Maple Leafs, most of them below replacement level.
Cap Geek calculates his buyout as $1M over the next two seasons, which has two immediate benefits for the Toronto Maple Leafs: it clears up an extra forward spot and saves the team $2M heading into free agency, leaving the team with a bit of money to sign a player like Matt Carle.
It does keep Armstrong on the books for a second year, as his contract was due to expire a year from today, but now that $1M will carry over to next season as well. This leaves a second cap hit on the books for the Leafs as well: Armstrong joins Darcy Tucker's $1M buyout salary cap hit until the summer of 2014.
Toronto gets some short-term flexibility, which helps, but at the same time, those two hits on the books don't look too good. $2M is, thankfully, a drop in the bucket in today's salary cap era, where 5 years ago even it would have cost the team a roster spot. Now a bit of extra spending cash opens one up.
Of course, you could take the negative view and see this as an avenue for Brian Burke to overpay for the next Colby Armstrong, but in a vacuum, while the Armstrong deal never worked out, the buy-out will.
The buy-out process began Saturday at noon, with Armstrong being placed on unconditional waivers, as per TSN Radio.