It appears veteran forward Dave Andreychuk has played his last NHL game.

The former Tampa Bay Lightning captain cleared waivers Wednesday afternoon, a day after being waived by the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

The 42-year-old winger has been assigned to the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, although Tampa Bay management said it won't require Andreychuk to report.

A veteran of 22-plus NHL seasons, Andreychuk will have his $800,000 US contract honoured by Tampa Bay this year. He also is due $525,000 US in 2006-07.

Should Andreychuk choose to retire, Tampa Bay won't be on the hook for the balance of his salary.

The fact that the NHL's 29 other teams passed on picking up the veteran suggests his NHL career will come to an end. Andreychuk plans to meet with media in Tampa to discuss his future on Thursday.

"After giving ourselves half a season to evaluate and analyze, it became clear to us that David's game was not suited to the new NHL," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said Tuesday.

The six-foot-four-inch Andreychuk managed only 18 points in 42 games this season and was a team-worst minus-13.

During Tampa Bay's 2004 Stanley Cup run, Andreychuk was sixth in team scoring with 14 points to give him 43 goals and 97 points in 162 career NHL playoff games.

Earlier that season, the Lightning captain reached the 20-goal mark for the 19th time in his career.

The Lightning will not replace Andreychuk as captain this season and will go with three alternates – Vincent Lecavalier, Fredrik Modin and another player to be named.

Andreychuk has 640 goals and 698 assists in 1,639 career regular-season games for Buffalo, Toronto, New Jersey, Boston and Tampa Bay.

with files from Canadian Press