Capped: Reviewing Potential Buyout Contracts
Every summer there is one under-hyped period that always gets my attention: the buyout period. Teams can pay to have their mistakes disappear, new GMs try to put their mark on a roster, and some players just need a change of scenery. The capfriendly buyout tool allows you to see what impact a buyout would have on a team’s salary cap, and it also tracks who is having their buyout fallout checked most often.
As usual it is the Canadian fan-bases who seem to use this tool the most (that or they just have GMs that seem to sign the most buyout-worthy contracts). Some of the names make sense to be bought out, while others are more so just the fan-base looking for a way to shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic (ie: making small changes to try and fix a much bigger problem). This week we’re going to take a look at which players might get bought out, why, and what fantasy impacts there could possibly be.
Milan Lucic – Edmonton Oilers
Current Cap Hit: $6,000,000 (Expires in 2023)
Buyout Cost: Fluctuates from a high of $5,625,000 to a low of $625,000 until 2027
Since Lucic’s contract was signed to be so front loaded, the buyout actually doesn’t alleviate the Oilers’ cap situation as much as buying out a similar, non-front-loaded contract would have. The cap sayings in year two would actually be less than $400,000, which is not a lot by today’s cap standards. With that in mind, and also not wanting to have the Lucic contract on the books for an extra four years, it seems as though the Edmonton Oilers may not be in a position where they want to buy out Lucic’s contract this summer.
This could all change with new GM Ken Holland coming in and wanting to shake things up, however, the more likely occurrence is that Holland would ship out Lucic’s contract to a team willing to take on the cap hit without the salary payments (similar to what he did with Datsyuk’s remaining contract years in Detroit). There are a few teams that might see the big body of Lucic as a plus that could fit their system better than he has in Edmonton.
In short, do not expect a buyout here, but if he is traded, his fantasy value has nowhere to go but up.
Loui Eriksson – Vancouver Canucks
Current Cap Hit: $6,000,000 (Expires in 2022)
Buyout Cost: Fluctuates from a high of $5,555,556 to a low of $555,556 until 2025
Like with Lucic, Eriksson’s contract buyout would not alleviate a lot of cap room in the next two seasons for the Canucks, however, there are a few key differences that point to a buyout making a lot more sense in this case. First off, is that even with an impending Brock Boeser extension the Canucks are not in cap trouble at least for the next two seasons. Once new contracts are due to Elias Pettersson, Thatcher Demko, and others, this may be another story. Clearing and extra $3 million a year early may make a lot of financial sense both for now and the future Canucks.
On the Eriksson side of things, he is a scorer, but he isn’t scoring. It is even tougher to see an NHL team wanting to take another chance on him because he doesn’t add any extra dimensions. On top of that, he was recently quoted saying that him and his head coach “don’t really get on”. If that’s not a recipe for beginning the conversation of a buyout within management circles, I don’t know what is.
Patrick Marleau – Toronto Maple Leafs
Current Cap Hit: $6,250,000 (Expires in 2020)
Buyout Cost: $6,250,000 (Expires in 2020)
Yes, Toronto fans, you’re reading that correctly, a Patrick Marlean buyout would have no effect on his cap hit. Marleau was signed to a contract after he turned 35, and as a result, the buyout only changes the payment structure of the actual dollars but doesn’t change the fact that Marleau is costing the Leafs $6.25 million of cap space next season. So no, there will be no buyout here. It’s possible there is a trade, but that also seems unlikely.
Andrej Sekera – Edmonton Oilers
Current Cap Hit: $5,500,000 (Expires in 2020)
Buyout Cost: Fluctuates from a high of $2,500,000 for the first half to a low of $1,500,000 in the second half, until 2023
Aside from the fact that Edmonton needs defensive help the most, this one could make sense as a buyout. Again, Ken Holland may not see the buyout as the route to take, as he was in a similar situation in Detroit and didn’t buy out any of the aging defencemen to make room for the youth wave. That being said, with players such as Caleb Jones, Evan Bouchard, Ethan Bear, and others, the Oilers need to make room somewhere. Perhaps injuries hold him back, but in general, the Oilers should be limiting his minutes anyways.
Ryan Callahan – Tampa Bay Lightning
Current Cap Hit: $5,800,000 (Expires in 2020)
Buyout Cost: Decreases from $2,566,667 in year one to $1,566,667 in year two (until 2021)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have some work to do if they want to repeat their regular season success next year, though playoff success is really the goal for them. Either way, they have an impending cap crunch, so there will be a few tough decisions being made over the summer with respect to their cap situation entering next year. One of the casualties is likely to be Ryan Callahan, who provides the least bang/buck on the roster. A buyout of Callahan’s last year of his contract would make a lot of sense for the Lightning because they need the cap space, have cheap youth coming up from the minors, and are not lacking the leadership and grit that Callahan brings.
Buying out the 34-year-old winger would save the Lightning over $2.5 million in cap space next year. It doesn’t look like there is much left in the tank, but a contender would surely take a flier on him at the league minimum salary if he is bought out.
All salary cap and buyout information courtesy of capfriendly.
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That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
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