The buyout period begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday and continues through 5 p.m. on June 30. It is a process that allows teams to get out from onerous contracts, although there are costs to teams, both in real dollars paid to the player and cap space, depending on the age of the player involved and how much term is left.
It is a process that is complicated this summer by the fact that teams are preparing for a possible expansion draft a year from now.
That possibility of having to expose veteran players for possible selection by a new team in Las Vegas might see teams decide to keep a player for this season and expose him next summer in the hopes he is selected, therefore costing them nothing in terms of real money and cap space.
One note, players who are still injured cannot be bought out, which would eliminate potential candidates such as Andrew Ference of the Edmonton Oilers and possibly Dave Bolland of the Florida Panthers.
Here’s a look at players who could be subject to a buyout in the coming days.
Girardi has four years left on his deal, with a $5.5 million salary cap. Given the precipitous decline in his play and the need for the Rangers to retool on the fly after a disappointing first-round playoff exit against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Girardi hardly seems to fit the team’s long-term needs.
Dallas GM Jim Nill has said he won't buy out either of his goaltenders, but if the Stars truly aspire to winning a Stanley Cup, he has to know this tandem isn't likely to get the job done. The Stars have $20.8 million committed to the two over the next two seasons. Too much by a country mile.
Tough call for GM Chuck Fletcher. Can new head coach Bruce Boudreau get the underachieving Vanek back on track for a Wild team that has historically struggled to score? Or do the Wild cut bait on the enigmatic Austrian and his $7.5 million contract/$6.5 million cap hit to free up much needed cap space in the short term?
The Blue Jackets have lots of issues moving forward as they try to revive their flagging fortunes while keeping an eye on a potential expansion draft. Tyutin is certainly a player the Blue Jackets might consider exposing next summer, but getting the veteran defenseman and the $8.75 million outstanding on his deal over the next two seasons (he carries a $4.5 million cap hit for that period) off the books sooner rather than later is also an attractive option.
There's a little confusion over Bolland’s status. He played in only 25 games for the Panthers last season before injuries shut him down. If he’s still considered injured by doctors, no buyout is possible. But given that the Panthers have already dealt Marc Savard’s contract to the New Jersey Devils, it’s clear they’re looking to clear cap space. Bolland has three years left at $5.5 million per year; that’s money that could be better spent elsewhere.
It’s been reported that Brown will relinquish the captaincy of the Kings, presumably to Anze Kopitar, and Brown’s contract is certainly albatross-like: five more years at a $5.875 million cap hit annually. Do the Kings hang on for one more year and expose Brown in the hopes his leadership abilities are attractive to a new team in Vegas? Tough call for a team still trying to re-establish itself as a Western Conference power.