Maple Leafs place Wellwood, Raycroft on waivers
The Toronto Maple Leafs gave another indication they are preparing for a new era, placing centre Kyle Wellwood and goaltender Andrew Raycroft on waivers Tuesday.
"We put them on waivers," Maple Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher told The Canadian Press. "We'll take it one step at a time, and we'll see what happens tomorrow."
Fletcher reportedly plans Wednesday to buy out forward Darcy Tucker, who has three years and $9 million US on his contract with Toronto.
Wellwood, 25, finished with just eight goals and 13 assists in 59 games last season. The Windsor, Ont., native, who has missed 57 games over the past two seasons due to a nagging sports hernia injury, recently cracked a bone in his foot.
He was due to become a restricted free agent on July 1.
Wellwood has scored 31 goals and 77 assists in 189 NHL games, all played with Toronto. The Maple Leafs selected him in the fifth round of the 2001 draft.
Raycroft's waiving was not a surprise. The goalie went 2-9-5 the past season with a 3.92 goal-against average and .876 save percentage, last winning a game in November. The previous season, he set a franchise record with 37 wins in 72 games.
Raycroft, 28, was signed to a three-year deal before playing a game with the Maple Leafs after being traded from Boston in 2006 for goalie prospect Tuuka Raask.
If as expected Raycroft clears waivers, Toronto will be on the hook for two-thirds of his 2008-09 salary of $2.2 million US, spread out over two years.
His agent, Jordan Neumann, said Tuesday he still thinks the Maple Leafs should reconsider buying him out.
"Because financially, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to buy him out and then add the cost of another replacement goaltender," said Neumann. "It's going to end up costing you roughly the same amount, and you're not going to get a guy as good as Andrew."
With files from the Associated Press