Rangers buy out vet Holik

By wire services
Published July 30, 2005

NEW YORK - The Rangers bought out the remaining two years on Bobby Holik's contract on Friday, sending the gritty forward away without a playoff appearance in New York.

Before the 2002-03 season, the Rangers gave Holik a five-year, $45-million deal to pry him away from the Devils - the team with whom he won two Stanley Cup titles.

But the center failed to reach the playoffs with the Rangers, who haven't qualified for postseason play since 1997. New Jersey went on to win a third championship without Holik in 2003.

Holik was set to earn $6.726-million next season after the 24 percent contract rollback mandated by the new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the players' association.

"The rules of the new CBA dictated that we leave some cap room in the future," general manager Glen Sather said. "In order to gain some relief in that zone, perhaps two weeks or a year from now, right now this was the right decision to make."

The Rangers also could have bought out Darius Kasparaitis, but decided to keep the hard-hitting defenseman, who will earn $3.334-million next season.

New York already has $8.42-million tied up with Jaromir Jagr for the 2005-06 season, so keeping both Holik and Kasparaitis became prohibitive.

Holik, 34, is an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any of the other 29 teams when the signing period begins Monday.

In 146 regular-season games in New York, Holik had 41 goals and 50 assists. He had 25 goals and 31 assists in 2003-04 and was named team MVP.

The Rangers also announced the signings of forward Hugh Jessiman and goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Jessiman was New York's first-round selection in the 2003 draft. Lundqvist played in the Swedish Elite League last season.

HURRICANES: The team acquired defensemen Mike Commodore and Andrew Hutchinson for a pair of third-round draft picks. Carolina got Commodore from Calgary for the 69th overall pick, then dealt the 78th pick to Nashville for Hutchinson.

ISLANDERS: Backup goalie Garth Snow signed a three-year deal. Snow, who turned 36 on Thursday, will play behind Rick DiPietro.

MIGHTY DUCKS: Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh agreed to terms on a two-year contract. Also, Anaheim acquired left wing Todd Fedoruk from Philadelphia for the second pick in the second round (59th overall) of today's draft.

RED WINGS: Forward Ryan Oulahen and defenseman Kyle Quincey signed three-year, entry-level deals. Both were drafted in 2003.

SABRES: Defenseman Dmitri Kalinin re-signed, exercising his one-year contract option.

WILD: Veteran right wing Alexandre Daigle re-signed. He led the club with 20 goals and 51 points in 2003-04.