Pic via Brett Stewart
This season’s NHL lockout resulted in a few interesting wrinkles when it comes to cap compliance – one of those is the compliance buyout. Every team (except NYR and MTL, who have both used one buyout) has two compliance buyouts they can use during the buyout periods over the next two summers. This year, I’ve identified a few players in each conference who might be subject to such buyout parameters. These buyouts don’t count against the salary cap, unlike regular buyouts.
Bryan Allen – $3.5 million cap hit through 2014-2015 Season
Allen was awful this season – both by the counting numbers (6 assists, 0 goals in 41 GP) and the advanced stats (even ZS%, -10 Relative Corsi and -9.66 Corsi On while playing crap competition). Compound that with the fact that the Ducks, as currently constructed – i.e., without contracts for Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Toni Lydman and Kyle Palmieri – have about 930k in cap space. Jonas Hiller may move, which would create some room, but $3.5 million for a bottom-pairing defenseman is too much.
Alex Tanguay – $3.5 million cap hit through 2015-2016 Season
It’s unlikely that Tanguay is bought out as his point production and average cost do make him tradable. However, the term on that contract is ugly for a guy who has noticeably slowed in the past few years. He’s still a top-6 forward on the counting numbers side of things, though.
Rostislav Olesz – $3.125 million cap hit through 2013-2014 Season
Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and Drew Leblanc need new contracts. Olesz hasn’t been able to stick at the NHL level with the Blackhawks. Pretty clear-cut, in my opinion.
Steve Montador – $2.75 million cap hit through 2014-2015 Season
The Blackhawks have lots of depth at defense, so paying $2.75 million to a guy so he can be your seventh or eighth man on the depth chart just doesn’t make sense to me. It appears as though the Blackhawks agree, as Montador spent the balance of this season with their AHL club. There’s also the contract issue and cap crunch explained up above.
David Jones – $4 million cap hit through 2015-2016 Season
Highly unlikely simply because of the financial situation of a team who just gave their new coach a non-guaranteed contract, but this is one of those deals that never should’ve been signed. Jones scored 9 points in 33 games last year, or, about .2PPG worse than Roman Cervenka this season. He’s never had a positive Corsi On, even with a season where he started 55% of his shifts in the offensive zone.
Columbus Blue Jackets
James Wisnewski – $5.5 million cap hit through 2016-2017 Season
Wisnewski produced fine scoring-wise this year, but his results were likely helped by the soft minutes he played. For a team with Ryan Murray, Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin, Nikita Nikitin, Tim Erixon and Dalton Prout already under contract for next year Wisnewski might have a hard time justifying his price tag, as he’ll likely be the 4th or 5th defenseman on the depth chart.
RJ Umberger – $4.6 million cap hit through 2016-2017 Season
Umberger was used mainly in a shut-down role this season, facing the hardest competition among Blue Jacket forwards while dealing with a 47% ZS. However, that is an ugly cap hit for someone who only scored 18 points in 48 games this season. Considering that this was the first year of his contract, new GM Jarmo Kekkalainen may be able to brush the contract off as a mistake by his predecessor.
Shawn Horcoff – $5.5 million cap hit through 2014-2015 Season
The leader up north has long been lambasted (quite unfairly) for signing the huge contract he did after visiting a Mexican stick factory. However, Horcoff is still the 3rd best centre on the roster and the Oilers need all the help they can get. If the Oilers somehow get into cap trouble over the summer, though, that’s a nice number to be rid of.
Eric Belanger – $1.75 million cap hit through 2013-2014 Season
Belanger just has the one year remaining on his contract, but he is still playing with the big club and can skate a regular shift. This buyout would be more of a “we need an open spot for centerman x” type of thing.
Ben Eager – $1 million cap hit through 2013-2014 Season
Played a large chunk of the season with the Oilers’ farm team this year and the Oilers already have Mike Brown to be useless and punch people. Eager might find his way back to Edmonton, but it’s probably in the best interest of the team to give him his cash and say see-ya.
Dany Heatley – $7.5 million cap hit through 2013-2014 Season
He’s just not worth $7.5 million per season anymore, and the Wild have the new contracts of Justin Falk, Jared Spurgeon, Cal Clutterbuck (*spits*) and a starting goaltender to sign with only about $5.5 million in cap space. Having $13 million free would make things substantially easier for Chuck Fletcher.
San Jose Sharks
Martin Havlat – $5 million cap hit through 2014-2015 Season
Makes too much money for a guy who, at this point, is just broken physically. Aside from two good years in the late oughts, Havlat has never played a season without missing at least 10 games. In the past two years, he’s missed 51 regular season games and has only played 7 out of a possible 16 playoff games for the Sharks. He still scored at a .5 PPG rate this season, but the underlying numbers are just okay. For a team with just over 8 million to spend on 7 players, Havlat may be a luxury they can’t afford.
Keith Ballard – $4.2 million cap hit through 2014-2015 Season
The Vancouver Canucks coaching staff willingly played Cam Barker and Andrew Alberts ahead of Ballard multiple times this season. That pretty much says it all, don’t it? On top of that, the Canucks are currently a million bucks over the cap next season with only 18 players signed. Bill Sweatt, Jordan Schroeder, Chris Tanev, Dale Weise and potentially Derek Roy all need new contracts as well, so this paperwork is as good as filed.
Did I miss anyone? Let me know in the comments.
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