Maltby, who has been with the team since the 1995-96 season, can be claimed by any other team. If nobody picks him up by noon Wednesday, he could be sent to Detroit's minor league team in Grand Rapids.
"We'll talk tomorrow to see if he's going to Grand Rapids," general manager Ken Holland said. "I think he had a good camp, but we made the decision that we did. We'll see what happens by noon tomorrow."
Maltby signed a one-year contract last month, a two-way deal that means he can play in Detroit and for Grand Rapids.
The Red Wings also put defenseman Derek Meech on waivers and sent goaltender Joey MacDonald and defenseman Doug Janik to Grand Rapids. Forward Mattias Ritola was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay.
Maltby's potential departure was the biggest news of the day, though. He helped the franchise win four Stanley Cups as a role player. Maltby scored four goals and had two assists in 52 games last season.
"It's tough," said Kris Draper, Maltby's longtime teammate. "We've been together for 13 years. It's tough when you lose somebody like that, you lose a good friend and a good teammate."