It turned out to be a $17.4 million bust.

Brendan Smith, the defenseman who signed a four-year deal with the Rangers on an annual salary-cap hit of $4.35 million this summer, was placed on waivers Thursday. The other 30 teams in the league have a chance to claim him before noon Friday, and if not, he’ll likely be assigned to AHL Hartford.

Thursday was also Smith’s 29th birthday.