First was that he was set to make $3 million next season, and wasn't exactly earning the wage because of problem No. 2: His injury issues which limited him to 79 games in the last two seasons, including a high-ankle sprain and a concussion he hid from the Leafs this season.
Problem No. 3 was that he wasn't Leo Komarov, a former KHLer whom the Leafs signed in May, nor was he Brandon Prust, the New York Rangers forward the Leafs are expected to push for on July 1. Armstrong was holding down a roster spot that GM Brian Burke wanted to dedicate to someone else. (And let's not limit it to forwards: The Leafs could be clearing the decks for anyone.)
So the Leafs put him on waivers on Saturday, with the intention of buying out the last year of his deal. From Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star:
Other teams have until noon Sunday to claim Armstrong. If no other team claims him, the Leafs will pay Armstrong $1 million this year and $1 million next year — counting under the salary cap both years — to get out from under the $3 million he was due this coming season.
This is a bittersweet one for Leafs fans. He's a popular player, with close to 115,000 followers on Twitter, where he wrote today:
"Thanks to the leaf nation for the support over the last couple seasons. Although I had tough luck thanks for everything. #lotsleftinme"
But thanks to injuries and ineffectiveness, he wasn't universally loved. Chemmy from Pension Plan Puppets, you have the floor:
Colby Armstrong was a bad signing the day he inked his contract, he was a bad player who was always injured and even though I'm not a fan of a buyout it at least means Brian Burke is aware some of "his guys" were completely awful and that it's time to right the ship.
Armstrong was signed to a 3 year, $9 million contract in 2010.
To recap: Colby Armstrong is being bought out; Erik Christensen is a UFA for the Minnesota Wild; Angelo Esposito didn't receive a qualifying offer from the Dallas Stars; the Atlanta Thrashers are in Winnipeg; and Pascal Dupuis is in Pittsburgh.
So yeah, the Penguins won the Hossa trade. Barring the Daultan Leveille factor.
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