The Dutch midfield star now intends returning home to Holland to resurrect his career after reaching an agreement to cancel his contract halfway through the two-year deal.
De Graaf was hailed as John Hughes’ marquee signing last summer as he arrived from NAC Breda but having scored two goals against NK Maribor in the Europa League he struggled for form and fell out-of-favour after his former boss was replaced by Colin Calderwood.
A string of new signings by Calderwood during the January transfer window resulted in De Graaf returning on loan to Dutch side SC Excelsior but he arrived back in Edinburgh for the start of pre-season training determined to prove himself all over again.
However, he managed just 13 minutes of first-team action, coming on as a substitute in the historic 1-0 win over Inverness Caley, and sensing further opportunities would be limited, struck a deal on transfer deadline day which makes him a free agent able to sign outwith the “window.”
Today De Graaf told the Evening News: “It’s all been very disappointing, I was hoping I was coming back this season to show the Hibs fans just what I can do. But the manager did not use me a lot and it was best for both of us that we part and go our own ways.
“I’ll be leaving for Holland tomorrow and hopefully I will find another club in my own country.” De Graaf admitted not having won over the Hibs fans was his biggest regret. He said: “When you sign a contract in a new country for two years you can have a good time and show whaat you can do.
“My problem was that after eight games the manager who signed me left, a new manager came in and he brought new players, his own players to the club.”
An influx of midfield players such as Victor Palsson. Matt Thornhill and Martin Scott, convinced De Graaf he needed to go out on loan for the second half of last season as he realised the new arrivals would be given their chance by Calderwood.
Even so, he was convinced he could return for this season and regain his place only to find himself sidelined once again as Ivan Sproule and Isaish Osbourne added to Calderwood’s options in the middle of the park.
The former Holland B cap said: “I felt I would be playing but in the last couple of weeks I haven’t played at all. The manager told me I probably wouldn’t be playing as much as I would like and that if I could find something else it would be best for my future.
“I’m 31 and I need to be playing every week so it is time to go.”
Meanwhile, Hibs completed the signing of teenage defender Adam Mitter but the former Blackpool kid won’t feature immediately in Calderwood’s plans having been brought to Edinburgh to play for the Under-19 side.