Let the Buy-outs Commence!



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Now that the cup has been awarded and Vancouver has been razed to the ground, the NHL off-season can begin in earnest. First-up: the buy-out period, where gluttonous NHL general managers can buy some indulgences from the league for their past indiscretions. Glen Sather was the first guy reported to be readying a buyout for the ill-fated Drury contract, although the word out now is he can’t (ha-ha!).

As for Calgary, there’s more than one buyout candidate on this roster. Matt Stajan, Ales Kotalik, Niklas Hagman and Corey Sarich are the primary names that jump to mind. Here is what their buyout would cost in terms of dollars and cap-hit according to Cap  Geek:

Stajan –

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2011-12 $4,500,000 $3,500,000 $1,055,556 $3,444,444 $55,556
2012-13 $2,500,000 $3,500,000 $1,055,556 $1,444,444 $2,055,556
2013-14 $2,500,000 $3,500,000 $1,055,556 $1,444,444 $2,055,556
2014-15 $0 $0 $1,055,556 -$1,055,556 $1,055,556
2015-16 $0 $0 $1,055,556 -$1,055,556 $1,055,556
2016-17 $0 $0 $1,055,556 -$1,055,556 $1,055,556

It probably doesn’t make much sense to buyout Stajan given these numbers. As lousy as he was last season, the pain of an extra three years of $1.055 worth of dead cap space plus the relatively nominal savings through 2012-2014 means we’re probably stuck with him outside a trade. We should all just start hoping he rebounds or something next season I guess.

Kotlaik/Hagman –

2011-12 $3,000,000 $3,000,000 $1,000,000 $2,000,000 $1,000,000
2012-13 $0 $0 $1,000,000 -$1,000,000 $1,000,000

Kotalik and Hagman have the same amount left on their deals and therefore the same buyout. This could be an option if the Flames ownership frowns on burying both of them in the minors, but Feaster insists on having the cap felxibility. If Kotalik flees to Europe, then buying out Hagman saves the owners 1/3 of his salary and saves the team $2M in cap space.

Sarich –

2011-12 $3,300,000 $3,600,000 $1,100,000 $2,200,000 $1,400,000
2012-13 $0 $0 $1,100,000 -$1,100,000 $1,100,000

Buying out Sarich is also an option, although he’s still functional enough that it may be worth keeping him for the last year of his deal, particularly if the club is planning to cut loose all of it’s UFA defenders on the back-end.

This doesn’t seem to be the best avenue for the Flames, but given their cap situation and the immobility of many of these deals, it may come down to this or demoting upwards of $6M on the farm. The Flames ownership group hasn’t been stingy by any measure the last few seasons, but even they might start cringing at setting that much money on fire.

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I guess we’ll see what the org plans to do in the next few days.

  • PrairieStew

    I think you would be in the minority on that – there is considerable loyalty to Langkow in these parts; not sure what Connoly would bring that 22 couldn’t if he is healthy. If he isn’t healthy then its LTIR or retirement, but it would be nice to know that before July 1.

  • loudogYYC

    The thing about buying out Langkow, is that he’s already proven that he makes players around him better (Bourque). Even if his play is in many minds mediocre, he’s still valuable.
    I’d be happier if he carried a $3M hit, but at one more year at $4.5M, he won’t be the anchor on the team.

    In reality the only player the Flames may need to buy out this season is Kotalik if he decides against staying in Europe. Stajan has the worst and longest contract, so you’re handcuffed. Hagman has the most flexible contract of the candidates which makes him easier to handle, and Sarich would definitely be targeted in February by a Playoff team looking for depth.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, the Flames aren’t gearing up for an 8 month-long season in 2011-12. They can use this year to help Backlund, Brodie, Nemisz, Wahl, etc. develop and make sure some of them really stick in the 2012-13 season.
    By then we’ll have more cap-room and young players with small contracts ready to produce.