At long last, the Rick DiPietro saga is over on Long Island.
The New York Islanders put DiPietro, 31, on waivers Tuesday, which allows the team to use its compliance buyout on his 15-year contract, which still had eight years remaining. The Winthrop, Mass., native is slated to be paid $36 million, which works out to $1.5 million per year for the next 16 years, according to multiple media reports.
Once the buyout is complete, DiPietro will be an unrestricted free agent, and his contract will no longer affect the Islanders’ payroll for salary cap purposes.
The announcement brings to an end a tumultuous 13-year stint with the Islanders for DiPietro, who was drafted first overall by the team in 2000 after a solid freshman year at Boston University. He went pro that fall, playing 20 games in New York and 14 for the Islanders’ minor league affiliate in Chicago. He was an all-star in 2007-08, a season in which he posted a .902 save percentage and 2.82 goals against average.
Since then, DiPietro’s career has been marred by injuries, but also in recent years by inconsistency. He has played just 50 games for the Islanders since having arthroscopic knee surgery in October of 2008, and in 2012-13 played just three games before being waived by New York and sent to Bridgeport, where he played 18 games for the AHL’s Sound Tigers. In his debut, he allowed five goals in the first period and didn’t return for the rest of the game.
Tuesday’s move comes almost seven years after DiPietro signed his 15-year, $67.5 million deal, the longest in NHL history.
DiPietro has played 318 NHL games over 11 seasons, compiling a .902 career save percentage and 2.87 GAA.