The Tampa Bay Lightning have exercised their second and final compliance buyout on forward Ryan Malone, per the team’s website. This past season was Malone’s sixth in Tampa Bay after he’d signed a 7 year $31.5M deal in 2008. Malone was due a $2.5M salary this coming season.
The writing was on the wall for Malone, who had totaled 23 points in 81 games over the past two seasons, which were marred by injury and punctuated by charges for DUI and possession toward the end of this past season. It was widely reported that the Lightning were contemplating this move and it looks like they made it in time for free agency.
Malone will now be free to sign with any other team that may be interested in throwing him a one-year deal. The Lightning meanwhile will have about $12 million in cap space for the next season after factoring in their re-signing of Ryan Callahan.
The Lightning have no other major impending unrestricted free agents so they can focus on the NHL draft this weekend and free agency beyond to find a player or two to fill out the roster. The team currently has 11 forwards and 5 defensemen under pro contract.