The Washington Capitals placed forward Brendan Leipsic on waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.
The team made the announcement on Friday, two days after the NHL condemned “misogynistic and reprehensible remarks” made by Leipsic and Panthers prospect Jack Rodewald in a private Instagram group chat, which was leaked on Twitter and Reddit.
Leipsic’s brother, Jeremy, also participated in the group chat. On Thursday, Jeremy Leipsic was kicked off the University of Manitoba hockey team.
The group chat included crude comments about the appearances of women, including some wives and girlfriends of NHL players. In one of the leaked posts, Leipsic commented on a photo of linemates Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway hosting their podcast, commenting: “F— they’re losers.”
“There is no place in our League for such statements, attitudes and behavior, no matter the forum,” the NHL said in its statement. “We will address this inexcusable conduct with the clubs and players involved.”
The Capitals initially put out a statement calling the comments “unacceptable” and said they would handle the matter internally. Leipsic deleted his Instagram account on Wednesday and later issued an apology on Twitter.
“Yesterday my friend’s Instagram account was hacked and an individual circulated images that are representative of private conversations I was a part of,” Leipsic wrote. “I fully recognize how inappropriate and offensive these comments are and sincerely apologize to everyone for my actions. I am committed to learning from this and becoming a better person by taking time to determine how to move forward in an accountable, meaningful way. I am truly sorry.”
The 25-year-old Leipsic played 61 games with the Capitals this season, mostly on the fourth line. He earned the NHL veteran minimum salary of $700,000 and was due to enter this offseason as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. In order to retain Leipsic, the Capitals would have had to extend Leipsic a qualifying offer of at least one year at $735,000, a 5 percent raise.
Leipsic was originally drafted by Nashville in 2012 and made his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015-16. In his five-year career, Leipsic also played for the Vegas Golden Knights, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings before signing a one-year deal with Washington last July.
The 26-year-old Rodewald, who has 10 games of NHL experience, is also on a one-year contract but earns $100,000 in the Panthers minor league system.