BIG SUMMER BUYOUTS

From June 15th to the 30th NHL teams have a chance to rid themselves of their bad financial decisions; also know as the buyout period. This year the buyout period should be more active with the introduction of two potential compliance buyouts per team.

Here’s a quick refresher on how it works.

The regular buyout works like this.

If a player is younger than 26 at the time of the buyout, his team can buy him out for only 1/3 of the remaining value on his contract.

If the player is 26 or older then he is bought at 2/3 of the remaining value.

Teams still take a cap hit for the player, but the costs are spread out over twice the length of his remaining salary. For instance, if a player has two years remaining on a contract that paid him $4 million every year, ($8 million remaining) the team buys him out at a total cost of $5.36 million. Then they would split that into four payments.

His cap hit for the next four seasons would be $1,333,333.

The compliance buyout works the same, as far as paying the player, but the major advantage is that the player’s salary doesn’t count towards the team’s overall cap hit. This is a huge opportunity for teams that are saddled with over-priced contracts, and need to free up some cap space.

Teams are only allowed two compliance buyouts. The Rangers and Canadiens have already used one on Wade Redden and Scott Gomez respectively, so that leaves 58 possible candidates. Teams can use a compliance buyout this year or next June.

If a team uses a compliance buyout, that player cannot re-sign with that same team for at least one season. I’ve never read anything that would prevent two teams from agreeing to buyout players, then sign the other team’s player and trade them back to their original team. I doubt it happens, but I’ve never read anything that says it’s prohibited.

COMPLIANCE CANDIDATES

Brad Richards, 33, New York Rangers: 7 years remaining with a $6.67 million cap hit.

He is owed $36 million in actual money, so the Rangers would have to buy him out at $24 million, but he wouldn’t count against the cap.

If they used a regular buyout it would cost them $1.7 million in cap space for the next 14 seasons.

Daniel Briere, 35, Philadelphia Flyers: 2 years remaining with a $6.5 million cap hit.

He is only owed $5 million in actual dollars, so the Flyers could buy him out for $3.35 million. If he was a regular buyout he’d cost a lot more in cap space. I believe he’s a lock to be a compliance buyout.

Ville Leino, 29, Buffalo Sabres: 4 years remaining with a $4.5 million cap hit.

He is owed $15 in actual dollars, and the Sabres could buy him out for $10 million. Leino only played 8 games this season, but he registered 6 points. He finished the season with lung issues, so he’d have to be deemed healthy before they buy him out. I’m curious to see if the Sabres opt to cut bait with a player who has 10 goals and 31 points in 79 games over two seasons in Buffalo.

Mike Komisarek, 31, Toronto Maple Leafs: 1 year remaining with a $4.5 million cap hit.

He’s owed $3.5 million, so it would cost the Leafs $2.33 million to buy him out. That is pocket change for the Leafs, and even though the Leafs currently have $19 million in cap space next season, I see him as a legitimate compliance possibility.

David Booth, 28, Vancouver Canucks: 2 years remaining with a $4.25 million cap hit.

He’s owed $9.25 million in actual dollars. It would cost the Canucks $6.19 million to buy him out. The Canucks are in dire need of cap space, so buying out Booth makes sense, as long as he is deemed healthy. He finished the season on the IR.

Keith Ballard, 30, Vancouver Canucks: 2 years remaining with a $4.2 million cap hit.

He’s owed $8.4 million in actual dollars, and it would the Canucks $5.6 million to buy him out. Getting rid of Booth and Ballard would free up $8.45 million, but it would also illustrate two of Mike Gillis’ worst signings. Ballard was a healthy scratch in the playoffs, and seemingly can’t stay out of the Canucks doghouse.

SOME OTHER OPTIONS….

Ilya Bryzgalov, 32, Philadelphia Flyers: 7 years remaining with a $5.66 million cap hit.

He is owed $34.5 million, so it would cost the Flyers $23 million to buy him out. The Flyers are currently over the $64.3 million cap for next season. They need to find some cap space, and at the same time improve their team. Bryzgalov’s play was actually fairly decent in Philadelphia this season, according to the beat reporters, but his aloof attitude seems to have worn out its welcome with his teammates and management. However, $23 million, just to say goodbye, is still a huge chunk of money, even for the rich Flyers. 

Dany Heatley, 32, Minnesota Wild: 1 year remaining with a $7.5 million cap hit.

Heatley is owed $5 million, so the Wild would need to ante up $3.33 million to send him packing. The Wild have $8.5 million in cap space, but they need to re-sign Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Cullen, Jared Spurgeon and decide what to do about a starting goaltender. Backstrom is unrestricted. Buying out Heatley would almost double their cap space.

Eric Belanger, 35, Edmonton Oilers: 1 year remaining with a $1.75 million cap hit.

Belanger is owed $1.25 million, so it would cost the Oilers $833,333 to get him off the roster. I don’t see him being in Edmonton next season. The Oilers could use a regular buyout on him, but because his contract was front-loaded he would be a $916,667 cap hit next season, and a $416,667 cap hit in 2014. The Oilers likely won’t be in a cap-crunch this season, so they could save a compliance buyout for a bigger contract if necessary.

Some have suggested the Oilers send Belanger to the minors in early October and hope someone claims him on waivers, but I doubt they want him in the AHL around their younger players.

RANDOM THOUGHTS….

  • The Oilers only need to qualify Magnus Paajarvi at $850,000 to maintain his rights, so I think we can safely say that will happen. The bigger question is what will his new deal look like? I could see him getting a two-year deal at $1.5 million/year. His agent likely wants more money or only a one-year deal to allow Paajarvi an opportunity to have a good season and cash in next year. I’m curious to see how MacTavish handles Paajarivi’s contract.
     
  • Many have asked if Shawn Horcoff is an option for a compliance buyout. I don’t see the Oilers doing that unless MacTavish makes a few deals to acquire a few veteran centremen. You can’t expect the Oilers to compete if they have Nugent-Hopkins, Gagner and Lander as their top-three centres next season.  They need some experience and strength. I don’t see Horcoff being bought out this summer.
     
  • Here is Jordan Eberle’s second commercial. How would you rate it compared to his ATB ones?
     
  • Who are some other players you feel would be obvious compliance buyouts, other thanTomas Kaberle in Montreal?

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR