Late Tuesday night, reports surfaced that the Lightning were "on the verge" of signing veteran winger Ryan Callahan to a long-term extension, but news out of the Tampa Bay camp didn't end there.
Wednesday morning, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted that the club had initiated their remaining compliance buyout of Ryan Malone.
#TBLightning has initiated the compliance buyout process for veteran Ryan Malone, the Times has learned. Will save a $4.5 million cap hit.— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) June 25, 2014
The Lightning had one buyout available after using the first a year ago on Vinny Lecavalier. At the time, it was thought Tampa Bay would use the other on Malone, but GM Steve Yzerman opted to keep the final buyout in his pocket - until now.
The buyout of Malone will cost the organization two-third of his remaining salary, $2.5 million over two years, but will save the Lightning $4.5 million in cap space for this season.
The money saved will more than likely help with a new contract for Callahan, who is expected to sign a 5-year extension worth $5.5 million per year, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnson.
Malone is facing legal issues after being charged (and pleading not guilty) to one count of DUI and one count of cocaine possession stemming from an April arrest and will re-appear in court next month.
The 10-year NHL veteran has been sidelined numerous times throughout his career due to injury, the latest last November when he fractured his ankle and missed 16 games. As the regular season was nearing an end, he was often a healthy scratch, and paired with the arrest, doesn't lead to the buyout coming as a shock.
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