After clearing waivers earlier today, it was expected that Blue Jackets winger Zac Rinaldo would be assigned to Columbus’ AHL team in Cleveland. The veteran wasn’t invited to training camp after declining to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. However, GM Jarmo Kekalainen released the following statement, announcing that Rinaldo will not be going there after all:
Our position has been very clear that our organization is committed to doing everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and fans. Given the impact COVID-19 continues to have in our communities, we believe the best course of action given Zac’s vaccination status is to not have him report to Cleveland at this time. While we respect an individual’s right to make a personal choice with regards to being vaccinated or not, we have a responsibility to do what we believe is best for our organization. We will honor Zac’s contract, but if he wants to pursue any other opportunities to play this season we will allow him to do so.
Rinaldo’s contract calls for an AHL salary of $275K and contains a guaranteed payment of $300K which the Blue Jackets will be on the hook for regardless of whether or not he plays anywhere this season. In the meantime, Rinaldo’s camp may be on the lookout to try to find the 31-year-old a place to play outside the Columbus organization. Now that he has cleared waivers, Columbus could loan him to an unaffiliated team overseas, for example. Rinaldo had spent the last two seasons in Calgary’s system, suiting up in 23 games for the Flames in that time.