DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings placed defenseman Derian Hatcher and forwards Darren McCarty and Ray Whitney on waivers Monday, effectively cutting ties with the three high-profile veterans.
If the trio go unclaimed, the Red Wings have the option of buying out their contracts and making them unrestricted free agents.
"They've been a big, big part of our franchise," Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. "This is just a part of doing business right now with the new CBA."
The NHL's new collective bargaining agreement features a $39 million salary cap, and teams were granted a six-day window on Saturday to shed cumbersome contracts.
The 33-year-old Hatcher, a former Dallas Stars captain, signed with Detroit as a free agent before the 2003-04 season. Considered at the time to be one of the best all-around defensemen in the league, the big, bruising Hatcher had little impact with his hometown team, tearing a knee ligament in the third game and missing the majority of that season.
Whitney, 33, also signed as a free agent with the Wings during 2003. He had 24 goals and 52 assists the season before with Columbus, and the Red Wings hoped he could fill the void created when Sergei Fedorov signed with Anaheim. With Detroit in 2003-04, Whitney managed 14 goals and 29 assists.
McCarty, who has spent his entire 11-year career with Detroit, is a fan favorite whose style of play embodies the blue-collar spirit of the city. The 33-year-old McCarty won three Stanley Cups with the Wings and scored the series-winning goal against Philadelphia in 1997.
"He's a hardworking, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of guy," Nill said. "He's really what the city's all about. He came every night to play hard. He was a big part of our success."