Luke Richardson ((Dave Sandford/Getty Images))

The Ottawa Senators waived Luke Richardson on Thursday, a move that could end the big defenceman's lengthy NHL career.

If Richardson, 39, isn't claimed by another club by noon ET on Friday, he can be sent down to the Senators' AHL affiliate in Binghamton. But at his age, the six-foot-three, 214-pound blue-liner isn't expected to accept a minor-league assignment.

One of the oldest players in the NHL, Richardson has been a healthy scratch for most of this season. In two games, he has recorded no points, two penalty minutes and a minus-3 rating while averaging 12:45 of ice time.

Coaching could be in the Ottawa native's future. He has been working with Sens staff this season, keeping a close eye on things from the press box during games and helping run practices.

"We use him at times during games to sit upstairs and get on the headsets," Sens coach Craig Hartsburg told recently. "I think, eventually, he wants to get into that. When it's time, he'll do a good job of that. He's a guy with lots of experience as a player. He's seen a lot and knows what the game is all about, on and off the ice. He'll be a good coach."

Drafted seventh overall by Toronto in 1987, Richardson has amassed 201 points (35 goals) and 2,055 penalty minutes in 1,417 NHL games spanning 21 seasons, the last two with Ottawa.

Along with the Senators and Leafs (two), Richardson has had stints with Edmonton, Philadelphia, Columbus and Tampa Bay.

With files from the Canadian Press