McCabe trade to Panthers made official

Darren Dreger

9/2/2008 8:14:45 PM

The anticipated trade that would send veteran Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe to the Florida Panthers has been made official.

The long rumoured deal was held up while the Panthers waited for the Leafs to pay a $2 million bonus due to McCabe on Sept. 1.

With the payout, McCabe, 33, will earn $4.15 million in each of the final three seasons of the five-year, $29 million contract he signed with Toronto in 2006.

The Maple Leafs will receive defenceman Mike Van Ryn in exchange for McCabe and a fourth round pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.

In order to complete the deal, McCabe had to waive his no-movement clause.

"We are very pleased to have acquired a player with Bryan's talent level and playing experience," Panthers GM Jacques Martin said in a statement. "Bryan is a big, strong, hard-hitting defenceman who also possesses the ability to be a goal-scorer and play on special teams.

"He will be counted on to play an integral role on our defence and to help bring future success to our franchise."

McCabe scored five goals and added 18 assists in an injury-plagued campaign that saw the St. Catharines, Ontario native miss 22 games with a broken hand.  He also became a scapegoat for Leaf fans after committing some high-profile defensive blunders, including an own-goal in overtime to hand the Buffalo Sabres a victory early in the season.

In 917 career games, McCabe has 115 goals and 303 assists and was named a second team All-Star in 2003-04.

"It's part of what we're trying to do moving forward here," said Maple Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher. "We wish him well.

"We move on with building the team. (The trade) give us a considerable amount of salary cap flexibility for the next three years."

McCabe's salary cap hit for the next three seasons will be $5.75 million even though the Panthers will only have to pay him $4.15 million per season on the front-heavy deal.

The 29-year old Van Ryn has two years remaining on his contract and will earn $3.35 million each season, but his cap hit is only $2.9 million.

Last season, he recorded two assists in 20 games with the Panthers.  In 326 career games, the 29-year old defenceman has 27 goals and 91 assists.