The final four teams remain in the National Hockey League Playoffs with the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs coming to an end in early to mid June.
On June 15th, or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup has been awarded, the NHL compliance buyout period begins. All 30 NHL teams will have until June 30th to use a compliance buyout on up to two players on its roster. These buyouts will not have an effect on a team’s salary cap, and will make the player(s) bought out an unrestricted free agent.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, this is the last year the compliance buyout period will take place. Last year, not every team used a compliance buyout for a player on its roster. This year could be very similar to last year with some teams opting to pass on using a compliance buyout. Other teams do not have a compliance buyout available because they used both of them last summer.
Here are the possible candidates for the remaining teams to be bought out, and also how many compliance buyouts each team has left for this summer:
(Remember: THIS IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!)
Anaheim Ducks (2 left):
D – Sheldon Souray – 1 year, $3.667 million per year
Sheldon Souray missed all of the 2013-14 season due to a wrist injury, and have been an injury havoc over the recent years. Buying out Souray will leave an open spot for a full-time defensive position for a guy like Sami Vatanen.
D – Luca Sbisa – 1 year, $2.175 million per year
Same story here: injuries have plagued Sbisa for the past couple seasons, and buying him out would leave another open roster spot for a young defenseman.
Arizona Coyotes (2 left):
FW – Martin Erat – 1 year, $4.5 million per year
After acquiring him from Washington, I do not see Arizona buying him out. However, for the production he put up in the 2013-14 season, it could be possible for the Coyotes to let him walk. His open roster spot could allow a guy like Max Domi to start the season in Arizona.
D – Zbynek Michalek – 1 year, $4 million per year
Michalek cannot stay in the lineup consistently. The Coyotes could use the extra cap space for free agency.
Boston Bruins (2 left):
D – Dennis Seidenberg – 4 years, $4 million per year
Seidenberg is coming off of a knee injury that left him out since December 27. Seidenberg is 32, and there are plenty of young Bruin defensive prospects that could be NHL ready. If you buyout Seidenberg, you could also have more cap space to resign Andrej Meszaros or extend a guy like David Krejci.
FW – Marc Savard – 3 years, $4.028 million per year
This only happens if Savard is cleared before this period ends. Savard’s career is most likely over.
Buffalo Sabres (2 left):
FW – Ville Leino – 3 years, $4.5 million per year
No goals this season for the Sabres in 58 games played. In three seasons in Buffalo, Leino has only scored 10 goals, when he was signed to be a scoring machine for the Sabres. His injury risks and his bad habits are also not good fits for the Sabres long-term. The “Billy Beino” era in Buffalo seems to be over.
D – Mike Weber – 2 years, $1.667 million per year
At first the Mike Weber signing sounded like a good idea, as Weber was a good shut down defender for the Sabres. This past season was a misery for Weber, playing as one of the worst defenders for the Sabres. Weber was a minus-29, second worst for a defenseman in the NHL behind Vancouver’s Alex Edler.
Calgary Flames (2 left):
D – Dennis Wideman – 3 years, $5.25 million per year
Dennis Wideman was brought in to be a top defender for the Flames, but he has been anything but that. Wideman’s tenure in Calgary has been rough, only amounting to 43 points in 92 games. It is up to new general manager Brad Treliving if he wants to give Wideman another shot.
FW – David Jones – 2 years, $4 million per year
David Jones had a rough year with injuries this year, but his offensive abilities would help the Flames in their rebuild.
Carolina Hurricanes (2 left):
FW – Alexander Semin – 4 years, $7 million per year
With former general manager Jim Rutherford gone in Carolina, Ron Francis has to make a decision on Alex Semin. Usually known for his incredible skill, but lazy work ethic, Semin put up 42 points (22+20) in 65 games played this season. It could happen if Francis wants to get rid of some assets.
G – Cam Ward – 2 years, $6.3 million per year
Injuries have killed Cam Ward. Once one of the league’s best goaltenders, Ward has battled with injuries that have kept him in and out of the lineup. If Ward is out in Carolina, it could open up the possibility of going after a free agent goaltender.
Chicago Blackhawks (0 left):
2013 – Steve Montador and Rostislav Olesz
Colorado Avalanche (2 left):
FW – Alex Tanguay – 2 years, $3.5 million per year
Tanguay’s career has taken a turn for the worst. The 34 year old has been troubled by injuries in recent years, and his cap space could benefit the Avalanche. More cap space could result in a resigning of Paul Stastny.
FW – P.A. Parenteau – 2 years, $4 million per year
Parenteau has been a disappointment in Colorado. Injuries have had something to do with it, but his struggles have also found him scratched. Head coach Patrick Roy has also benched Parenteau for his lack of production just this past season. It is going to be intriguing to see what the Avs will do here.
Columbus Blue Jackets (2 left):
D – James Wisniewski – 3 years, $5.5 million per year
In three years with the Blue Jackets, Wisniewski has not lived up to his full expectations. 2013-14 was a bounce-back year for Wisniewski with seven goals and 44 assists in 75 games. Wisniewski is going to be a tough decision for general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.
FW – R.J. Umberger – 3 years, $4.6 million per year
It has already been expressed that Umberger’s time in Columbus is over. The Jackets will try to shop Umberger for the draft, but if no deal is done, he will be bought out.
Dallas Stars (2 left):
FW – Erik Cole – 1 year, $4.5 million per year
Cole seems like his time in Dallas is over. The 35-year old has had injury issues in the past, and his point production has dropped in the past couple years. It seems logical that Cole is on his way out of Dallas.
FW – Shawn Horcoff – 1 year, $5.5 million per year
This is intriguing because of the fact that Horcoff is being paid like a first line winger when he is a third or fourth line winger. Horcoff only put up seven goals and 13 assists in 77 games for Dallas this year.
Detroit Red Wings (1 left):
FW – Stephen Weiss – 4 years, $4.9 million per year
A history with sports hernias has taken Stephen Weiss’ career down a dark path. Weiss, who was just signed last offseason, only played in 26 games and registered four points. Do the Red Wings want to keep Weiss and possibly have more issues?
FW – Darren Helm – 2 years, 2.125 million per year
Injuries cannot keep Darren Helm in the lineup as well. Since playing in all 82 games in the 2010-11 season, Helm has only played in 111 games, registering 46 points. Helm can bring his game every time he steps onto the ice, but he needs to stay healthy.
2013 – Carlo Coliacovo
Edmonton Oilers (2 left):
FW – Boyd Gordon – 2 years, $3 million per year
Gordon is a good shut down presence for the Oilers. However, the Oilers need to reach the cap floor somehow.
FW – Jesse Joensuu – 1 year, $950,000 per year
Florida Panthers (2 left):
D – Brian Campbell – 2 years, $7.143 million per year
Campbell’s contract is the killer here. The extra cap space for free agency would be nice for general manager Dave Tallon.
D – Ed Jovanovski – 1 year, $4.125 million per year
Jovanovski is going to be 38 by the time next season starts. The former first overall pick for the Panthers in 1994 only played in 37 games this season due to injury. His career is starting to slow down faster and faster.
Los Angeles Kings (2 left):
FW – Mike Richards – 6 years, $5.75 million per year
The talk swirls around Richards being bought out. The Kings would be better off with Richards, but tons of talk that he is done in Los Angeles.
FW – Jeff Carter – 8 years, $5.273 million per year
Carter has a growing role with the team, so this move is unlikely.
Minnesota Wild (1 left):
G – Niklas Backstrom – 2 years, $3.417 million per year
Backstrom resigned last season with the Wild to be the starter for the team. General manager Chuck Fletcher made the decision knowing the risk of Backstrom’s injury history. Backstrom is under contract while Ilya Bryzgalov and Darcy Kuemper are free agents. Buying out Backstrom could create some cap space to acquire a free agent goaltender like a Ryan Miller or Martin Brodeur.
FW – Matt Cooke – 2 years, $2.5 million per year
This buyout possibility makes sense if the Wild do not want to deal with Cooke’s antics anymore. Cooke is a key guy to play on the penalty kill, but the Wild would use his cap space for free agency to target a player like Thomas Vanek.
2013 – Tom Gilbert
Montreal Canadiens (0 left):
2013 – Scott Gomez and Tomas Kaberle
Rene Bourque needs to be bought out, but a compliance buyout is not an option.
Nashville Predators (1 left):
FW – Paul Gaustad – 2 years, $3.25 million per year
Nashville overpaid for Gaustad, and with two years on his deal they could certainly try to trade Gaustad. If no body will take a flyer on Gaustad, buying out Gaustad seems like an option.
FW – Matt Cullen – 1 year, $3.5 million per year
I cannot see this happening, but Cullen was not as productive as expected this year. Besides his shootout numbers, Cullen only accounted for 10 goals and 29 assists in 77 games. Nashville could be in a transition period, so the more cap space for restructuring, the better.
2013 – Hal Gill
New Jersey Devils (1 left):
D – Anton Volchenkov – 2 years, $4.25 million per year
Volchenkov has been a great shutdown defenseman who has a knack for blocking shots, as long as he can stay healthy. Volchenkov has never put up an 80 game season in his 11-year NHL career. The Devils could retain Volchenkov, but his inability to remain healthy is his downfall.
FW – Ryan Clowe – 4 years, $4.85 million per year
Clowe has not been the same player since being traded from the Sharks in 2013. In 43 games with the Devils last season, Clowe had 26 points, but battled through injury most of the year. I cannot see Clowe being bought out but that can change under some circumstances.
2013 – Johan Hedberg
New York Islanders (1 left):
D – Lubomir Visnovky – 1 year, $4.75 million per year
The 37-year old Slovak is in a similar situation with Ed Jovanovski: injuries have slowed down his career. This season, Visnovky only made it on the ice for 24 games. Islanders could use him for his offensive abilities on defense, but the cap space they could use.
FW – Josh Bailey – 4 years, $3.3 million per year
Garth Snow was foolish for giving Josh Bailey such a contract. Bailey is supposed to be scoring goals and contributing on both sides of the ice. Bailey did have a career-year with 38 points in 77 games, but he is expected to play better than he has been.
2013 – Rick DiPietro
New York Rangers (1 left):
FW – Brad Richards – 6 years, $6.667 million per year
Brad Richards has to be the most talked about possibility of a buyout. Since being signed in the 2011 offseason, Richards has had his moments with the Rangers. This year was not as good of a year, but the playoffs have been good to Richards so far. It is very possible the Rangers could buy him out due to his age and the money he will cost down the road.
FW – Rick Nash – 4 years, $7.8 million per year
If the Rangers want to keep Richards, Nash would be next. Highly doubtful he gets bought out. 0.000001% chance.
2013 – Wade Redden
Ottawa Senators (2 left):
D – Marc Methot – 1 year, $3 million per year
Methot has been a nice addition to the Senators defense, but he could be better. Methot is not much of a cap-hit; he could be traded before he is bought out.
FW – Chris Neil – 2 years, $1.9 million per year
Not likely because of such a low cap-hit. Neil is a veteran and leader for the Senators as well.
Philadelphia Flyers (0 left):
2013 – Daniel Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov
Pittsburgh Penguins (2 left):
FW – Pascal Dupuis – 3 years, $3.75 million per year
Dupuis missed most of the 2013-14 season with a wrist injury. He was signed to be Crosby’s partner in crime along with Kunitz, but the 35-year old could be a risk down the road.
G – Marc-Andre Fleury – 1 year, $5 million per year
The Penguins are going to try and trade Fleury at the NHL Draft, but if he is not traded, Pittsburgh will have to think this one through.
San Jose Sharks (2 left):
FW – Martin Havlat – 1 year, $5 million per year
Havlat WILL BE bought out, has already been confirmed by the organization.
FW – Adam Burish – 2 years, $1.85 million per year
If Burish could stay healthy, he would help the Sharks with fourth line grit. But with Burish not healthy, why bother?
St. Louis Blues (2 left):
D – Barret Jackman – 1 year, $3.167 million per year
Jackman has been with the Blues for a long time. The 12-year veteran is entering the final year of his contract, and will want a raise once his contract is over. But the Blues may go a different direction and try to get younger. After three straight disappointing playoffs, maybe the Blues will move on from Jackman.
FW – Magnus Paajarvi – 1 year, $1.2 million per year
After being acquired last offseason, Paajarvi never seemed to fit in with the Blues. Paajarvi only scored 12 points in 55 games with St. Louis, but his cap-hit will make him more of a target for trade.
Tampa Bay Lightning (1 left):
FW – Ryan Malone – 1 year, $4.5 million per year
Malone has been hurt, unproductive, and in hot water with the law. The Lightning should have bought out Malone last year, but luckily they have another shot.
D – Mattias Ohlund – 2 years, $3.607 million per year
If only Ohlund was healthy, maybe he would get another chance. His knee is really screwed up, and has not played in the NHL since May of 2011.
Toronto Maple Leafs (0 left):
2013 – Mikhail Grabovski and Mike Komisarek
Vancouver Canucks (1 left):
FW – David Booth – 1 year, $4.25 million per year
Booth cannot stay healthy, plain and simple. And even when he is healthy, Booth has not been able to produce. Ever since his concussion from Mike Richards hit in 2009, Booth has never been the same hockey player.
FW – Chris Higgins – 3 years, $2.5 million per year
Higgins is still relatively young, and this only happens if Booth does not get bought out. Even then, Higgins likely stays.
2013 – Keith Ballard
Washington Capitals (1 left):
FW – Brooks Laich – 3 years, $4.5 million per year
Injuries have turned Laich’s career upside down. With Laich unable to remain healthy, the Capitals will most likely part ways with Laich.
FW – Troy Brouwer – 2 years, $3.667 million per year
Brouwer can be a good second line winger, but his production has been lacking. Could be a possibility if Laich is retained.
2013 – Jeff Schultz
Winnipeg Jets (2 left):
G – Ondrej Pavelec – 3 years, $3.9 million per year
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff says that Ondrej Pavelec is going to be the Jets’ starter in October of 2014. However, that may not stop the Jets from buying him out yet. Pavelec has been shaky at numerous times, but buying him out may be a mistake if they cannot find a new goalie.
D – Grant Clitsome – 2 years, $2.067 million per year
Clitsome needs to stay healthy. If he does, he can contribute. It seems that Clitsome is more likely going to be traded than bought out.
What do you think? Who should be bought out? Who should stay on their respected teams?
Feel free to let me know and follow me on Twitter @BJWilsonSHC
As always, thanks for reading!