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Redden, Gomez to be bought out; soon to become free agents

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THE Wade Redden era, during which his contract became a financial albatross for the Rangers, is coming to a close.

Thanks to a rule change, the 35-year-old defenseman, who was signed to a six-year, $39-million contract in July 2008 by general manager Glen Sather as a free agent from Ottawa, is expected to be waived before Thursday and bought out before Saturday's season opener.

After two seasons with the Rangers, the former All-Star's play declined and Redden's $6.5 million salary was "buried" while he played in the AHL and exempt from the salary cap. At the time, he was the highest-paid player in the minor leagues.

But that exemption was removed in the new collective bargaining agreement, and so the Rangers told him to stay home. The plan was to pay Redden to sit and reluctantly absorb the cap hit, but prevent him from being hurt, because an injury would prohibit them from buying out the remaining two years of his deal in June. (All teams were allowed to execute two buyouts, in June or June 2014.)

The possibility of filing a grievance against the club for not permitting him to practice was a possibility, and after discussions that involved Redden's agent, Don Meehan, the NHL and the NHLPA, the situation changed Tuesday.

The first buyout window was accelerated to this week, an accord that also affects Montreal center Scott Gomez, the former Ranger in the same situation as Redden.

The Rangers will still absorb a $5.6 million cap hit this season, and two-thirds of Redden's 2013-14 cap hit would be spread over the next two seasons.

Flyers give Giroux the 'C'

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers have named Claude Giroux the 19th captain in team history.

General manager Paul Holmgren made the announcement Tuesday night. The Flyers say Kimmo Timonen will serve as associate captain, and Scott Hartnell and Danny Briere will serve as alternate captains.

Giroux takes over for defenceman Chris Pronger. Pronger has not played for the Flyers since Nov. 19, 2011 and still suffers from lingering effects of multiple concussions.

Giroux enters his fifth full season with the Flyers. He had 28 goals and 93 points last season, the most points by a Flyer since Eric Lindros had 93 in 1998-99. He was selected by the Flyers in the first round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Giroux has 78 goals and 165 assists for 243 points in In 285 career games.

Booth sidelined with groin strain

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks have another hole to fill on their second line.

David Booth, who has yet to take part in training camp, will be lost for a month to six weeks with a groin strain.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault revealed the extent of the injury a day after Booth underwent an MRI. Booth's absence leaves two holes on Vancouver's second line. Centre Ryan Kesler is recuperating from off-season shoulder and wrist surgery and remains out indefinitely.

Vigneault said the Canucks still have plenty of good players available and will cope well, as they have done in the past with other injuries.

Mason Raymond, who missed much of last season while recuperating from a serious back injury, is the only holdover from the second line able to participate in camp. Barring a change, he will take on the role of mentor while trying to get his offensive game on track.

Journeyman forward Andrew Ebbett and Jordan Schroeder, the club's top draft pick (22nd overall) in 2009, are auditioning to fill Kesler's centre spot, while second-year pro Zack Kassian has been playing the other wing alongside Raymond.

Franson returns from Sweden

TORONTO -- Defenceman Cody Franson has joined the Leafs training camp.

Franson had been playing in Sweden for Brynas during the NHL lockout. A restricted free agent, he had to sort out his contract situation before pulling on a Toronto jersey again.

The big blue-liner, who had five goals and 16 assists for the Leafs last season, took part in practice today.

He collected three goals and four assists in 26 games in Sweden.

Defenceman Jake Gardiner, recovering from a concussion, skated on his own before Tuesday's practice. Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said Gardiner had to skate today to be in the running to play in Toronto's season opener in Montreal on Saturday.

Forward James van Riemsdyk, however, left the ice about an hour into practice after a shot from defenceman Mike Komisarek hit him on the foot. Forward Colton Orr was also injured in practice, suffering a dislocated finger.

-- from the new services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 16, 2013 C2

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