Today it was announced that the Buffalo Sabres were putting Patrik Berglund unconditionally on waivers for the purposes of mutual contract termination.
What this means, is that if he clears waivers, the Sabres will be dissolving Berglund’s contract, signed with the Blues and traded to the Sabres this past off season. This is due to the fact that Berglund has failed to report to the Sabres this season, which has given Buffalo the right to terminate the contract
(it’s similar to the situation with Tampa Bay and Jake Dotchin arriving to training camp out of shape).
According to a series of CapFriendly tweets, the way that the mutual contract termination works is that the team (the Sabres) announce to the player and his camp (Berglund) a date by which he has to report to the team. The player then decides if he wants to report, or if he wants to be put on waivers, knowing that if he’s put on waivers and clears, then his contract will be terminated.
The exact reason why Berglund refused to report to the team is unknown, but it began when he was traded to the Sabres. In the 2017-18 season Berglund had a full NTC, meaning that he couldn’t be traded by the St Louis Blues without his permission, however, this off-season it switched to a modified NTC in which he was supposed to submit a 20-team no-trade list. The full NTC expired on June 30th and his 20-team no-trade list wasn’t submitted to the Blues in time, and as a result, he was a part of the trade with Buffalo for Ryan O’Reilly.
Clearly, his relationship with the Sabres began terribly, with the Blues blindsiding him with a trade that he didn’t realize he could be a part of. While he reported to the Sabres for training camp and the beginning of the season, something clearly changed and resulted in him no longer wanting to be a part of the Buffalo Sabres organization. The reason why he stopped reporting to the team is still unknown, but there must be something incredibly wrong for him to be willing to give up over $12.5 M over the next 3+ years as reported by CapFriendly.
Assuming that he does clear waivers, he’ll now be a free agent with the ability to sign with any team, and it’ll be interesting to see if/when he does sign one. However, with the NHL holiday roster freeze beginning tonight and lasting until the 28th, I wouldn’t expect to see anything happening soon.