Sabres place Cody Hodgson on waivers for buyout

Cody Hodgson battles Lightning defenceman Anton Stralman. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Once heralded as a key part of the Buffalo Sabres future, Cody Hodgson’s career in Western New York will soon be over.

A person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on Monday that the Sabres have placed Hodgson on unconditional waivers with the intention of buying out his contract.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not been announced.

Hodgson signed a six-year, $25.5 million contract with the team in 2013 in one of the last significant deals under former general manager Darcy Regier.

The 25-year-old forward was the 10th overall pick of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2008 NHL draft, and was traded to Buffalo for right wing Zack Kassian at the trade deadline in 2012.

Hodgson had 20 goals and 44 points in 2013-14, but managed just six goals and 13 points over 78 games last season.

He has four years and $19 million remaining on his contract, which had carried a $4.25 million salary cap hit.

Sabres general manager Tim Murray said the move was being considered as recently as two weeks ago. It follows a near-complete teardown of the roster.

On top of selecting Boston University centre Jack Eichel with the No. 2 overall pick in Friday’s draft, Murray has had a busy 18 months on the job.

On Friday, he acquired forwards Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn and David Legwand and goalie Robin Lehner in two separate trades. In February, the Sabres acquired forward Evander Kane and defenceman Zach Bogosian in a trade with Winnipeg. In the meantime, he’s purged the team of veterans and high-priced players by dealing away goalie Ryan Miller, forward Drew Stafford and defenceman Tyler Myers.

Murray also fired coach Ted Nolan after last season, bringing on Stanley Cup-winning coach Dan Bylsma to usher in a new era at First Niagara Center.

In a separate move, the Sabres announced issuing qualifying offers to retain the rights to seven players whose contracts were expiring on Wednesday.

It’s a group headed by defenceman Mark Pysyk, who is expected to compete for a full-time job in Buffalo this season, after the Sabres traded Nikita Zadorov to Colorado last week. Also issued offers were forwards Johan Larsson, Jerry D’Amigo and Phil Varone, defenceman Jerome Leduc and goalie Nathan Lieuwen.

The person also said the Nashville Predators have placed Viktor Stalberg on unconditional waivers. Also, Montreal’s P.A. Parenteau and Anaheim’s Mark Fistric also cleared 24-hour waivers and are expected to be bought out by their respective teams.

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