Hartnell, 35, who had 13 goals and 24 assists last season, had a cap hit of $4.75 million. According to CapFriendly.com, the hit after the buyout will be $1.5 million next season, $3 million in 2018-19 and $1.5 million in the next two years.
“On behalf of our organization, I want to thank Scott for his contributions to the Blue Jackets over the past three seasons and wish him well in the future,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “Moves like this are never easy, but with our current organizational depth at the position it is something we believe is in the best interest of our club moving forward.”
Hartnell has scored over 20 goals in a season nine times, with a high of 37 for the Flyers in 2011-12, the only season he made the All-Star team.
Columbus traded RJ Umberger and a fourth-round pick to Philadelphia for Hartnell in 2014.
The Blue Jackets had a franchise-record 108 points last season, but it was only good for third place in the tough Metropolitan Division. They lost to the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs and made a big splash this offseason with the trade of Brandon Saad to Chicago for Artemi Panarin.