Rick DiPietro was officially placed on unconditional waivers Tuesday, the first step toward a compliance buyout that will end his long relationship with the Islanders.
Newsday reported Monday that general manager Garth Snow, who signed DiPietro to an unprecedented 15-year, $67.5-million deal just prior to the 2006-07 season, had informed the oft-injured goaltender earlier Monday that the buyout was coming. After DiPietro clears waivers Wednesday, he will be bought out and the Islanders will owe the former No. 1 pick $1.5 million for each of the next 16 years.
The Islanders officially gave qualifying offers to their restricted free agents: forwards Josh Bailey and David Ullstrom, defensemen Travis Hamonic and Thomas Hickey and goaltender Kevin Poulin.
Newly acquired forward Cal Clutterbuck received a qualifying offer from the Minnesota Wild before he was dealt for Nino Niederreiter.
Snow is seeking long-term deals for Bailey and Hamonic and more short-term deals for Clutterbuck and Hickey. Talks have begun for all four on contracts.
The Islanders also have interest in veteran forward Danny Briere, who was bought out by the Flyers last week.
A source close to Briere said the 35-year-old will narrow his list of teams from the 15 that have inquired and make a choice when free agency begins Friday.