Cody Hodgson scored six goals last season. ©2015, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Awful season costs Cody Hodgson job with Sabres

BUFFALO – Cody Hodgson’s Sabres career is over.

The team put the struggling winger on unconditional waivers Monday, meaning the final four seasons of his six-year, $25.5 million contract will be bought out for one-third the remaining value since he’s under 26 years old.

The Sabres owe him $6.333 million over the next eight years, money that will count against the salary cap until 2022-23, according to generalfanager.com. They must absorb a $1,041,666 hit next season. The number never rises above $791,666 after that.

Update: Hodgson has cleared.

The 25-year-old endured perhaps the worst year of any NHL forward in 2014-15, mustering only six goals and 13 points in 78 games, a stunning 14-goal, 31-point drop in six more appearances.

Hodgson, who also played center, scored one goal in a 47-game stretch from Oct. 28 to Feb. 22. He endured goal droughts of 27 and 19 games, went 17 straight contests without a point and was also a healthy scratch.

It’s easy to forget now, but less than two years ago Hodgson was a player the Sabres began to build around.

He led the Sabres in scoring in 2013-14 and had 15 goals and 34 points in 48 games in 2012-13.

Hodgson’s another player from old Darcy Regier regime general manager Tim Murray has purged. Only six NHL players Regier acquired have a contract for next season.

On Friday, Murray traded center Mikhail Grigorenko and defenseman Nikita Zadorov – two Regier first-round picks – to Colorado in the Ryan O’Reilly deal. Murray bought out defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and forward Ville Leino a year ago.

The Sabres acquired Hodgson, the 10th overall pick by the Vancouver Canucks in 2008, for winger Zach Kassian at the 2012 trade deadline.

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Goalie coach Arturs Irbe won’t return for a second season with the Sabres, new coach Dan Bylsma told WGR on Monday.

Bylsma said he talked to some potential coaches at the NHL Draft over the weekend and one could be hired in the next week.

The loquacious Irbe was the only coach Murray retained after firing former coach Ted Nolan on April 12. Murray said then he would leave Irbe’s future up to the new coach.

The Latvian, a former NHL-All Star, earned high praise last season for helping the Sabres’ regular goalies – Jhonas Enroth, Anders Lindback and Michal Neuvirth – thrive despite poor defensive play all around them. The Sabres allowed a league-high 35.6 shots a game.

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The Sabres gave qualifying offers to seven restricted free agents on Monday before the deadline: forwards Jerry D’Amigo, Johan Larsson, Tim Schaller and Phil Varone; defensemen Jerome Leduc and Mark Pysyk; goalie Nathan Lieuwen.

Winger Jordan Samuels-Thomas, who spent all season in Rochester, didn’t receive one. The Sabres could still bring back Samuels-Thomas later, his agent, George Bazos, told the Times Herald. He said Murray wants some contract flexibility heading into free agency, which begins Wednesday.

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