Buyout Beware

Rick Roos






Roos takes a look at the fantasy value of bought-out players

Over the next few weeks a lot of attention will be paid to the high profile signings, trades, and draft picks that teams make. And rightfully so – they'll all have a huge impact on fantasy hockey leagues now and down the road. But you need to make sure not to overlook the compliance buyouts that will occur as well (the deadline for 2013 is July 4th), and the effect they'll also have on fantasy hockey.


With that in mind, in this week's column I'll give advice on how to evaluate bought out players, and cover signs to look for in predicting whether a bought out player will succeed or fail this season.

But first, it's worth going over what buyouts are, why they're happening, and some of the rules that apply to them.


Quick Summary of Compliance Buyouts

As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, and in view of the nearly 8.5% salary cap decrease (from $70.2 to $64.3 million) set for 2013-14, all 30 NHL teams are allowed to "buy out" up to two of their current players before this time next year. Whoever is bought out will receive a portion (the exact percentage will depend on age) of what would have been due under his existing contract, but the silver lining for teams is that nothing (not a penny of either the buyout amount or what would've been earned by the player under a bought out contract) will count against the team's salary cup number.

A team could've used both its two buyouts this year (and some – like Montreal and Philadelphia – have already done so), or only use only one buyout now and save one for next year, or not use any just yet. And as we saw during the regular season with Scott Gomez and Wade Redden, players who are bought out can sign with any NHL team except the one which bought them out (that way, the buyout cannot be used as a way to bring a player back at a more reasonable, discounted price).


Who's Been Bought out So Far?

Now that we know the basics about what buyouts are and how they work, you'll want to double check to see if any players on your fantasy teams were among those bought out. You can find a list of 2013