NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Brendan Smith will remain the Rangers’ problem for now, after the defenseman cleared waivers Friday.

Seven months after signing Smith to a four-year, $17.4 million contract, the Rangers placed him on waivers Thursday.

Teams had 24 hours to try to claim him, but the Rangers found no takers. Smith will now be assigned to the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack.

The Blueshirts acquired Smith from the Detroit Red Wings before last year’s trade deadline, liked what they saw, especially in the playoffs, and rewarded him with the multiyear deal.

rangerssmith2 e1518198691110 Brendan Smith Clears Waivers, Headed To Rangers AHL Affiliate

Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith skates against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden on March 4, 2017. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

But Smith, who turned 29 Thursday, has struggled this season and was a healthy scratch for several games.

When asked if he believes Smith can regain his past form in the AHL, Rangers general manager said, “I do,” Newsday reported.

MORE: Hartnett: Rangers’ Transparency On Rebuild Plan Should Be Applauded

The Rangers, who indicated in an open letter to fans Thursday they are about to embark on a massive rebuild, were likely hoping another team would take Smith’s salary off their hands. They have, however, still created about $1 million in salary cap relief by sending him down.

The Rangers called up Neal Pionk from Hartford on Thursday to fill Smith’s spot on the roster.

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