Long-time NHL defenceman Wade Redden might open the season in the minors.
Redden, who is slated to earn $6.5 million US this season, was among the 11 players let go Monday as the New York Rangers trimmed their training-camp roster.
He could refuse to report to the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, thus voiding his contract and making him an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign elsewhere for presumably less money.
Also assigned to Hartford were netminder Chad Johnson and forwards Dane Byers, Evgeny Grachev, Kris Newbury, Dale Weise, Jeremy Williams and Mats Zuccarello.
Defencemen Garnet Exelby, Brandon Manning and Alexei Semenov were released outright to reduce the roster to 27 players — two goaltenders, nine defencemen and 16 forwards.
With Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Michal Rozsival and Marc Staal locked in, Redden's spot on defence will likely be claimed by someone like Steve Eminger, Matt Gilroy, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Sauer or Pavel Valentenko.
Redden, 33, still has four years and $23 million US remaining on the six-year, $39-million US free-agent contract he signed with New York in July 2008.
But the former Ottawa Senators all-star and Team Canada stalwart was much maligned in Manhattan and cleared waivers Monday, freeing the Rangers to demote him and freeing up precious salary-cap space.
Redden posted career lows in goals (2), assists (12) and points (14) last season, his second with New York and 13th in the NHL.
The Lloydminster, Sask., native has totalled 106 goals and 450 points in 994 NHL games since he was drafted second overall by the New York Islanders in 1995.
The Islanders subsequently traded Redden and Damian Rhodes to Ottawa for Don Beaupre, Bryan Berard and Martin Straka.With files from The Associated Press