New York Rangers general manager Glen Sather has a lot more room to work under the salary cap after buying out the contract of forward Bobby Holik on Friday.

Holik, whose lucrative $45-million contract with the Rangers critics argue was a symbol of everything that was wrong with the old collective bargaining agreement, never lived up to his advanced billing during his time in New York.

He had two seasons left on his deal at $6.726 million a year. Friday marked the final day teams could buy out players at two-thirds of their existing contract, as per the new collective bargaining agreement.

The Rangers signed Holik in 2002 when he was considered one of the top two-way forwards in the league and was one of the most-highly sought commodities on the free-agent market.

A pivotal member of New Jersey's two Stanley Cup championship teams in 1995 and 2002, Holik looked like just the man to get the Rangers back into the playoffs.

Unfortunately he did not bring his winning mentality into the New York locker room, as the Rangers missed the playoffs both seasons.

Holik struggled to perform under increased media pressure and a huge contract, scoring 41 goals and 91 points in 146 games.

The 34-year-old Holik spent 10 seasons in New Jersey after spending the first two years of his career as a member of the Hartford Whalers. In 878 career games, Holik has registered 642 points (281 goals, 361 assists) with 1,102 penalty minutes.

This is new territory for the normally spend-free Rangers. Normally, among the top-spending teams in the league, the Rangers are forced to work under a strict $39 million US salary cap. They haven't spent that little on their payroll since 1998-99.

The Rangers now have seven players under contract: Jaromir Jagr, Michal Nylander, Dale Purinton, Jason Strudwick, Maxim Kondratiev and Fedor Tyutin.

with files from Canadian Press