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Bertuzzi, Raycroft, Stumpel become latest NHLers scheduled for a buyout

The Canadian Press
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Todd Bertuzzi, left, brawls with Dion Phaneuf, Feb. 29, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Carlson Author: The Hockey News

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Bertuzzi, Raycroft, Stumpel become latest NHLers scheduled for a buyout

The Canadian Press
By:

Todd Bertuzzi is looking for yet another new home.

His tenure in Anaheim is over after just one season as the Ducks placed Bertuzzi on unconditional waivers Friday and will buy out the final year of his contract.

The rugged winger signed a two-year deal last summer and had 40 points (14-26) in 68 games for the Ducks. He was scheduled to earn US$4 million next season but will instead be paid two-thirds of that amount (roughly $2.7 million) over the coming two years.

He's not the only player looking for a new employer after getting bought out on Friday. The Toronto Maple Leafs started that process with goalie Andrew Raycroft, the Florida Panthers did the same with centre Jozef Stumpel and the New York Islanders parted ways with forward Shawn Bates.

NHL teams have had the option to buy out players since signing a new collective bargaining agreement in 2005. Even with next year's salary cap rising to $56.7 million, more teams than ever are choosing to pay underperforming players to go away.

Bertuzzi appears to have been caught in a number crunch. The Ducks still need to sign restricted free agent Corey Perry this summer and don't have a lot of cap space to do it.

"Todd Bertuzzi is a quality person who we believe can still play at the NHL level," Ducks GM Brian Burke said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we are handcuffed by our salary cap situation. We thank him for his efforts last year and wish him the best of luck in the future."

Since being traded away from Vancouver at the 2006 NHL draft, Bertuzzi has played in Florida, Detroit and Anaheim. He's now looking for a fourth team in a little over two years.

Meanwhile, a few NHL players are staying just where they are. The Philadelphia Flyers signed centre Jeff Carter to a $15-million, three-year contract extension while the Calgary Flames locked up centres Daymond Langkow and Craig Conroy.

Carter would have become a restricted free agent on July 1. The 23-year-old had 29 goals and 53 points in 82 games last season and was at his best after Philadelphia lost all-star centre Mike Richards to an injury in February.

Langkow is Calgary's No. 1 centre and is coming off a season that saw him score 30 goals and rack up 65 points. He's had a verbal agreement in place with the team for weeks but terms of his deal were not immediately available.

Conroy signed a $2.1-million, two-year contract after putting up 34 points (12-22) in 79 games for Calgary last year. The 36-year-old spent parts of six seasons with the organization.

"Conroy and Langkow are two of our top centremen who are strong role models for our team both on and off the ice," said Flames GM Darryl Sutter. "Especially with more young wingers in our lineup next season, their experience and leadership will be important.

"We are happy to be able to make it work by fitting them into our salary structure."

In other NHL moves:

-the Flames also signed winger Erik Nystrom and goalie Curtis McElhinney. Nystrom had three goals and 10 points in 44 games last season and will make $1.375 million over two years, while McElhinney appeared in just five NHL games a year ago.

-forward Loui Eriksson and the Dallas Stars agreed to a $3.2-million, two-year contract extension. The 22-year-old Swede had career highs of 14 goals and 17 assists in 69 games last season.

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Bertuzzi, Raycroft, Stumpel become latest NHLers scheduled for a buyout