On another busy day in advance of free-agent season, one NHL great retired and several players and executives got pink slips from their teams on Wednesday.
Rod Brind'Amour, 39, decided it was time to move from player to executive after 21 seasons, so the Carolina Hurricanes' career points leader since their move from Hartford announced his retirement. He will take up an unspecified job in the team's front office.
"When you look at his league awards and his Stanley Cup, I would suspect he's headed for the Hall of Fame," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said.
Brind'Amour, a native of Ottawa, was drafted ninth overall by the St. Louis Blues in 1988 but split his NHL career between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Hurricanes. After he was traded to the Hurricanes in 2000, Brind'Amour had 473 points in 694 games for them and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2006. He finished 16th in the NHL in games played with 1,484 and won back-to-back Frank J. Selke trophies as the NHL's best defensive forward in 2006 and 2007.
Although he has one year left on his contract, Brind'Amour decided to retire when Rutherford told him the team planned to buy out his contract but wanted him to stay and work in the front office. Brind'Amour said he could not see himself playing anywhere else.
"I feel very, very fortunate to have played as long as I have," Brind'Amour said. "And I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity that's been given to me over the years with this organization as a player."
Winger Jay Pandolfo's long service with the New Jersey Devils also came to an end. He spent 13 years with the Devils as a tenacious checker but was placed on waivers Wednesday in order for his contract to be bought out on Thursday. Suffering the same fate were Tampa Bay Lightning enforcer Todd Fedoruk and Calgary Flames forward Nigel Dawes.
Former Edmonton Oilers captain Ethan Moreau, 34, was headed for the same fate as the above players, but the Columbus Blue Jackets claimed him off NHL waivers on Wednesday. Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson saw Moreau as a good addition to his third line at the price of the year left on his contract for $1.75-million (all currency U.S.).