As the Los Angeles Kings gear up for free agency, they have handed one of their longest-tenured players his walking papers. Matt Greene's time in LA appears to have come to an end.
Buyout waivers: Korpikoski (EDM), Carle (TB), Boll (CBJ), Seidenberg (BOS), Greene (LA), Jackman (NSH).— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 30, 2016
It remains to be seen whether Greene has a future in the NHL; Jon Rosen reports that he's expected to be healthy for the start of the season, and though his performance dropped off in 2015, he can be an adequate third-pairing defenseman in the right situation. Apparently, Los Angeles was not the right situation, at least for $2.5 million a season. That in itself makes perfect sense, but we won't truly be able to evaluate this move until we see who LA picks as his replacement. The buyout gives LA room to find that replacement outside the organization, for better or for worse.
Greene won't be remembered as the guy who got bought out, though. He played 499 games (regular season/playoffs) for LA and was part of one the foundational trades for the 2012 Cup winners, when he and Jarret Stoll were acquired for Lubomir Visnovsky. (In hindsight, that was a heck of a trade for LA.) For being a "puck-stopper" he was shockingly good at driving possession. He appeared in all 32 playoff wins in 2012 and 2014. And of course, he had served as an alternate captain since his arrival in 2008.
As for the flashier moments: well, he bled a lot? Hey, no guts, no glory, and Greene got his share in spite of his role. Greene scored the final goal of the Kings' 2012 Stanley Cup run and cleared the puck to set up Alec Martinez's overtime winner in 2014. In the article we wrote breaking down that goal, we mentioned how appropriate it would be if that was Greene's last moment in an LA uniform. Not everyone gets that kind of storybook ending, though, and after the Kings gave Greene a risky four-year extension, he only got one healthy season before his shoulder betrayed him.
Greene has been cited as perfect coaching material, so hopefully LA finds a role for him upon his return. THAT would be an appropriate final chapter for him.
[UPDATE: The headline has been updated to show that Greene has not officially been bought out, but merely placed on waivers for the purpose of a buyout. That's not a done deal, though...]
LA Kings took one last shot at Milan Lucic yesterday, which is why Matt Greene was placed on buyout waivers. But didn't come close on Lucic— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 1, 2016
So it's possible Kings actually do not buy out Greene after all. Stay tuned.— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) July 1, 2016