Rhett Warrener, Marcus Nilson and Anders Eriksson may have played their last NHL game for the Calgary Flames.
The trio were all placed on waivers yesterday.
Any of the 29 other teams could claim the players -- Warrener and Eriksson are defencemen while Nilson is a forward -- before the waiver period ends today at 10 a.m.
Flames GM Darryl Sutter wouldn't discuss the decision.
None of the three players were placed on unconditional waivers, which is only for the purpose of a buyout, but that doesn't mean such action isn't in the works for any or all of them.
Warrener, 32, has one year remaining on his contract worth US$2.5 million (a salary cap hit of US$2.35 million), while Eriksson, 33, has one year remaining at US$1.5 million and Nilson, 30, one year at US$1 million.
Any team claiming one of those players would be on the hook for that salary.
If the Flames choose to buy out one or more of those players, they would have to pay two-thirds of the remaining salary over double the term remaining.
In the case of Nilson, that would mean shelling out $US333,333 in each of the next two seasons, while Eriksson would cost the Flames US$500,000 in each of the next two years. Warrener's cost would be US$833,333 in each of the next two seasons.
Another option for the Flames would be to send any of those players to the minors. They would still have to pay the full salary, but it wouldn't count against the NHL salary cap, which will increase to US$56.7 million for 2008-09.
A departure of both Warrener and Eriksson would leave the Flames with four defencemen already signed to one-way NHL contracts: Robyn Regehr, Dion Phaneuf, Adrian Aucoin and Cory Sarich.
Mark Giordano is also believed to be signed to a new deal after spending last season in Russia, but it can't be announced until after July 1.
Jim Vandermeer is due to become an unrestricted free agent Tuesday, as is David Hale, while Adam Pardy -- probably the top prospect on the blueline -- is due to be a restricted free agent. Calgary's forward ranks still has seven pending UFAs: Craig Conroy, Eric Godard, Daymond Langkow, Owen Nolan, Eric Nystrom, Mark Smith and Stephane Yelle.
Sutter said just before the NHL entry draft he and Langkow have an agreement.
Nystrom's agent Wade Arnott said yesterday he and Sutter continue to work toward a new deal for the team's 2002 first-round draft choice.
Cap jumping by $6.4 million
The NHL's salary cap is on the rise for a fourth consecutive season.
Each team will have a maximum of US$56.7 million to spend for the 2008-09 season, both the NHL and NHL Players' Association announced yesterday. It's up $6.4 million from last season.
The floor also rose $6.4 million to $40.7 million, the minimum each of the 30 teams must spend on player salaries.
The most an NHL player can earn in a new contract next season is $11.34 million a year.