August 10, 2011
That was the first line of Pension Plan Puppets' post on Lebda's 2-year, $2.9 million deal with the Leafs, and it's been all downhill from there.
He played 41 games with a minus-14; was traded to the Nashville Predators with Robert Slaney(notes) in exchange for Matthew Lombardi(notes) and Cody Franson(notes); was put on waivers by the Preds this week, cleared them and finally received a buyout this morning.
Lebda was set to make $1.4 million next season. He had one year left on his contract. Lebda was acquired from Toronto earlier in the summer. in a salary dumping move. Buying out Lebda was Nashville's plan after they put the defenseman on waivers over the weekend.
It had been erroneously reported that the Predators were stuck with Lebda. Instead, the Preds will have to pay him $478,500 over the next two years, according to Hockey Night In Nashville, which is a hell of a lot less than being on the hook for Lombardi's contract.
So off he goes to the minor leagues with a salary cut or Europe or the KHL, where he'd immediately be the favorite for the Russian Norris Trophy. (Just jokes, Dmitry; put the broken vodka bottle down.)
Meanwhile, his legacy, sadly, is thaving a name that's now synonymous with disappointment. Say "Lebda" to a well-informed puckhead and watch them wince. It's become like "Cloutier" or "Daigle" or the other names the carry what can only be termed as "the stink."
Lebda's 29 years old, so there's still time to change his rep. But for now, he's still the guy who inspires such masterworks as The History Of How Bad Brett Lebda Sucks. Even if his name is on the Cup and he's getting paid more than most of us for not playing.