According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Toronto Maple Leafs have placed struggling blueliner Jared Cowen on waivers before buying out his contract. The 25-year old defenceman came to the Leafs in the Dion Phaneuf trade with the Senators this past season, and never was in the long-term plans. Cowen never suited up as a Leaf, hitting LTIR immediately after the deal. His $3.1MM cap-hit will be eaten by the Maple Leafs in order to keep their flexibility this offseason.
After being selected 9th overall by the Senators in the 2009 entry draft, Cowen has been an underwhelming performer thus far in his career. Never expected to be an offensive force, the Saskatoon native relied on his size and physical play to be an effective player. With his footspeed declining over recent years, he was too often found out of position and unable to catch up in the NHL game. The Senators sold-low on the former top pick after years of waiting on any potential to show itself.
The Leafs, uninterested in the lumbering defenceman, put him on waivers in February, and told him to go home and wait out the season. Cowen was understandably upset with this, still believing he has more to offer as an NHL regular. He’ll probably get looks around the league because of his first round pedigree and relative youth, with a rebuilding club hoping he can find some of that magic he showed as a lock down defender for the Spokane Chiefs years ago.