Jared Cowen was acquired from the Ottawa Senators as part of the Dion Phaneuf trade on February 9. He started out on IR before being activated on February 26 and immediately being placed on waivers. He cleared waivers, and the Leafs assigned him to the Marlies today.

The primary value in the much maligned defenceman is a contract peculiarity known as a cap credit on buyout of the remaining year on his $3,100,000 contract. Frank Seravalli at TSN laid it all out back in January and the short version is: if the Leafs buy out Cowen's contract this summer, they receive a reduction in their total cap hit next year of $650,000 and have a cap hit in 2017-18 of $750,000. The buyout would cost $750,000 in cash for each of the two years.

The Leafs may not need this small slice of cap relief, and clearly wanted to trade Cowen to someone who knew they would benefit from it. That didn't happen, and this announcement from Lamoriello today confirms that the Leafs see no value in Cowen as a player.

Cowen was drafted 9th overall, had some decent enough points numbers as a junior, but in the NHL, his career high in points was 13, his shot differentials relative to his teammates was team average to very poor--worse lately, and he's got nothing but a reputation as a tough customer to make him a viable NHL player.

Why the contract north of three million in the first place? He's 6'4" and 238 lbs.

But he's been in the NHL for most of 5 seasons, and once you're labelled an NHLer, you often stick. Will we see Cowen in the NHL next year? Stranger things have happened.