Thursday: Berglund has cleared waivers, and is now expected to have his contract terminated.
Wednesday: The Buffalo Sabres have put an end to the situation revolving around Patrik Berglund. The team today placed Berglund on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. Berglund is currently suspended by the team for failing to report. Terminating the contract will completely remove Berglund’s remaining $3.85MM cap hit and average salary, which was meant to continue through 2021-22. He will be an unrestricted free agent.
Assuming that the contract termination is of the mutually agreed upon variety—opposed to the “material breach” of contract kind that ended Jake Dotchin’s Tampa Bay career—Berglund is walking away from more than $12MM in order to leave the Sabres. CapFriendly explains how exactly these terminations are perhaps mislabeled as mutual, though do usually give the player the opportunity to report and avoid the termination.
In recent days, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported that Berglund failed to submit his partial no-trade clause in time to block a deal to Buffalo in the first place, when he was included in a trade that saw Ryan O’Reilly go to the St. Louis Blues. The veteran forward was also apparently frustrated with his role on the team and being scratched multiple times in the early part of the season.
For the Sabres, this actually comes as something of a blessing. Berglund had played quite poorly for Buffalo this year, and even in St. Louis had never taken the next step to become a consistent top-six forward. Though he does have some offensive upside given his multiple 20-goal seasons, the Sabres have other players who can take over the load for much cheaper. Wiping his cap hit from the books going forward will only help the team re-sign a player like Jeff Skinner, who is scheduled for unrestricted free agency and could be looking for a huge payday.
It’s not clear yet what Berglund’s plans are, but after termination he will be free to sign with any team in the NHL. There undoubtedly will be interest, but it will likely be hard to trust him after this latest stunt. Berglund’s absence was originally explained as a sickness, but after not showing up to the team he was indefinitely suspended.