When Rick DiPietro signed his record 15-year deal with the New York Islanders in Sept. 2006, it sparked debate around the NHL. And by debate we mean ridicule.
"It means the owner is a moron," one NHL executive told ESPN.com. "It makes no sense. This is all about Charles Wang's ego."
Of course, no one could have predicted that DiPietro would have a seemingly endless parade of injuries that limited him to 47 games since 2008, or that he’d be abjectly horrendous in 2013 for the Islanders at age 31.
Or that DiPietro would be placed on waivers by the Islanders, as Arthur Staple reported on Friday. Ouch.
DiPietro, 31, still has eight years remaining on the 15-year, $67.5 million contract Charles Wang gave the former No. 1 overall pick in 2006. Injuries derailed the once-promising goaltender's career, and he has lost all three of his starts this season as Evgeni Nabokov's backup.
Coach Jack Capuano has refused to discuss DiPietro's performance after his last two starts, most recently a 3-1 loss to the Senators on Tuesday. It was clear before then that DiPietro had lost the faith of his coaches.
The intention is to call up Kevin Poulin and send DiPietro to AHL Bridgeport in order to get him some work, unless of course he’s claimed on HAHAHAHA oh we can’t even finish that one.
So the Islanders will have a $3.6 million cap hit down in Bridgeport and a $5 million cap hit in Tim Thomas somewhere in an undisclosed doomsday preppers bunker. Both of whom help the Islanders hit the salary cap floor, by the way.
For many fans, DiPietro has become a figure of sympathy, a victim of bad luck anchored down by a contract he had the nerve to sign when it was offered to him (for shame). As the Islanders creep forever closer to their Blackhawks-like franchise revival lovefest among NHL fans – and to a glorious move to Brooklyn – it would have been gratifying to see DiPietro have his fortunes reversed with them.
To not, for once in his career, be a punchline.