It’s almost that time of year! Buyout season! The time when teams begin to pay people to leave and snarky writers write things like “pay me $4 million dollars to leave?! Rough life huh!” and everyone chuckles.
While it’s no secret that the Flames are in a bit of a money pickle next season, one of the ways that they can dig themselves out of trouble is by… digging further. Spending money to fix their spending problems. It’s wonderful. Let’s see how the Flames can fix their cap pinch with buyouts after the jump.
WHAT IS A BUYOUT?
So, let’s pretend that your favourite part of hockey is the part where people shoot pucks and score goals and not the intricate, arcane rules that govern the National Hockey League. Maybe you are a little behind on the latest rules that allow teams to eat their mistakes. Poor you, you’re really missing out on what makes hockey so fun!
The kind, smart folks at General Fanager have an excellent buyout primer on their site, which does a handy job of explaining buyouts. The absolute need-to-knows are:
- the buyout period starts on either June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final, whichever is later;
- the buyout period ends on June 30 at 5 p.m. ET;
- there may be a second buyout period following arbitration hearings;
- a player has to be placed on waivers before being bought out;
- if the player is claimed, he joins the new team with his current contract; if he clears, he can be bought out;
- a bought out player becomes an unrestricted free agent;
- players with no-move clauses can be bought out;
- injured players cannot be bought out, unless both player and team agree to it;
- players that have been bought out will be paid over twice the length of the remaining contract, and stay on the cap for just as long;
- players under 26 get one-third of the money owed them; players 26 and over get two-thirds.
Whew! You got all that?
This option has been used by the Flames in the recent past, buying out ‘defenceman’ Shane O’Brien. However, that buyout was a part of the compliance buyout program instituted by the NHL to essentially help teams shed their salary cap dead weight following the most recent lockout. That means that O’Brien’s buyout money came directly from the desk of noted Londoner Murray Edwards to the pocket of O’Brien without counting towards the Flames’ salary cap.
If the Flames were to buy out players this summer, they will not be so lucky. Let’s dive into some of the players that are prime candidates for Flames Buyouts!
WHO’S AT RISK?
Before we commence Wideman buyout talk, perhaps he has simply been miscast as a defenceman?
The first and most obvious candidate for a buyout is Dennis Wideman, who has just one more year remaining on his deal at $5.25 million. The lack of remaining term means that Wideman won’t hurt the Flames cap for very long after he’s bought out and the money saved could help sign Gaudreau and Monahan for next season.
However, that’s a pretty bitter pill to swallow for Flames management, who likely aren’t in a huge hurry to be paying players to play for other teams given the current economic landscape of Alberta. Trading Wideman at a reduced rate is the obviously preferable option but, as has been written on this site at length, the chances of such a deal getting done seem less than slim.
We should note that the looming NHL expansion has the potential to complicate things – except Wideman won’t be a part of that. While it’s currently looking like players with NMCs will have to be protected, players with NMCs with expiring contracts will not.
Me: “No need to protect no-move clause players that are going UFA in summer 2017? That accurate?”
Bill Daly: “Yes”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 7, 2016
Wideman fits the above bill: he has an NMC, but he’ll be a free agent in the summer of 2017 anyway.
But in case he’s bought out anyway, let’s review the terms: the Flames would be saddled with $4 million (2/3 of the $6 million owed to him) spread over two seasons ($2 million in each year).
In terms of the salary cap implications, Wideman’s cap hit next season would be $1.25 million (the cap hit minus the buyout cost) and the following season, when he is playing for some other team or sipping Mai Tais somewhere, it will be a full $2 million against the Flames cap. Is this worth it? What do you think?
Mason Raymond is the next most obvious candidate for a buyout. After finishing last season in Stockton, it seems clear that Raymond, and his $3.15 million cap hit, have run out of time in Calgary. If the Flames were to buy Raymond out, it would cost them $1.05 million this year and next against their cap, which in and of itself isn’t so bad.
But if the Flames choose to buyout Wideman, would they also be willing to swallow Raymond’s contract as well? This seems doubtful, especially for a team that has publicly stated their distaste for buying out players at all.
The easy answer seems: yes! Do whatever it takes! Buy the whole team out if they have to! But that also doesn’t seem very pragmatic. CSEC is not MLSE. So, should the Flames pursue a buyout with Raymond? Or simply stash him in the minors for another season? What would you do?
There are other candidates for buyout; Lance Bouma (but that would see the Flames pay him until 2020) and Brandon Bollig are names that spring to mind. However, I think both of them, for… reasons… are still liked enough by management to be kept around, but that could change with a new coaching staff, perhaps.
So what would you do? Buy out Wideman? Matt Stajan (who would stay on the cap until 2020, but net over $2 million in savings this season)? Raymond? Bouma? All of the above? Have I missed a name you think could be used as a buyout? Let me know in the comments.
The AMA Golf Giveaway
Our friends at AMA Travel have put together an exclusive golf getaway for two lucky citizens of the Nation. This is a FREE draw to enter so there’s really no excuse not to try chances for a free golf vacation.
- 2 nights accommodation at Ramada Kamloops
- 2 rounds of golf with a cart at The Dunes at Kamloops Golf Course
- 2 rounds of golf with a cart at Tobiano Golf Course in Kamloops
- $50 Esso Gift Card
- 2 Canada Golf Card memberships valid for 2016
- 2 Canada Golf Card phone wallets
The fine folks at AMA will pick a grand prize winner on July 17th, and have even sweetened the pot with weekly giveaways which increase your odds of winning something for doing basically nothing. To get further information and to enter this FREE draw just submit your info here.