Blue Jackets place defenceman Mikko Lehtonen on waivers for buyout

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph, left, controls the puck against Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Mikko Lehtonen during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (Paul Vernon/AP)

The Columbus Blue Jackets have suspended Mikko Lehtonen and placed the defenceman on unconditional waivers, the team announced Tuesday.

Lehtonen, who re-signed with Columbus on a one-year deal over the summer, failed to report to the Blue Jackets' American Hockey League affiliate in Cleveland after clearing waivers. He was placed on waivers again for the purpose of a buyout, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

The 27-year-old from Turku, Finland, made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season and registered three assists in nine games before getting traded to Columbus in March for goaltender Veini Vehvilainen. Lehtonen added three more assists to his points total in 17 games with the Blue Jackets.

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