With the Cup Finals over and teams officially able to use their compliance buy outs, there should be plenty of activity before free agency opens up. I'm being asked fairly often who I think will be out in the free agent pool after the amnesty period. Well, I actually don't believe there will be a ton of buy outs - at least not during this summer.
I think teams will try to take whatever routes necessary to avoid having to use a compliance buyout in the first summer after this new CBA, whether it be through trading one bad contract for another, dealing a high-priced underachiever for nickels on the dollar (i.e. mid to late round draft pick), exercising a new option to absorb up to 50% of a cap hit in any deal, or simply waiting until next summer to reevaluate their situations.
Regardless, I don't think this will be a boring period by any means. I think there will be some creative maneuvering via the trade route, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Anyway, I have given this some thought, and I have complied a list of players who I think will most likely be bought out THIS summer. Again, I don't think teams are rushing to use this option, but there are teams that could certainly use immediate cap relief in order to improve their organizations. I do think there will be just as many - perhaps even more - buyouts the following summer.
Below is the list, which includes the annual cap hit and remaining years on thee deal (this also includes the three players that have already had their intended buy outs announced by their teams).
• Ville Leino - $4.5M through 2016/2017 (Buffalo)
• Tuomo Ruutu - $4.8M through 2015/2016 (Carolina)
• Shawn Horcoff - $5.5M through 2014/2015 (Edmonton)
• Scottie Upshall - $3.5M through 2014/2015 (Florida)
• Dany Heatley - $7.5M through 2013/2014 (Minnesota)
• Brad Richards - $6.7M through 2020/2021 (New York Rangers)
• Daniel Briere – buy out announced (Philadelphia)
• Jussi Jokinen - $2.1M through 2013/2014 (Pittsburgh)
• Adam Burish - $1.8M through 2015/2016 (San Jose)
• Vincent Lecavalier - $7.7M through 2020/2021 (Tampa Bay)
• Tomas Kaberle – buy out announced (Montreal)
• Anton Volchenkov - $4.25M through 2015/2016 (New Jersey)
• Mike Komisarek - $3.6M through 2013/2014 (Toronto)
• Keith Ballard - $4.2M through 2014/2015 (Vancouver)
• Jeff Schultz - $2.8M through 2013/2014 (Washington)
• Ilya Brygalov – buy out announced (Philadelphia)
• Roberto Luongo - $5.3M through 2022/2023
• Rick DiPietro - $3.6M through 2021/2022 (yes, it really doesn't make sense to wait a summer)
Others that also could make this list, but more likely to be considered the following summer, include guys like Drew Stafford, Ed Jovanovski, Ryan Malone, Mikhail Grabovski, and John Erskine. It's probably not worth speculating too much about until next season, as there undoubtedly will be other players around the league not living up to hefty contracts and/or pertinent cap relief issues for teams one year from now.
Well, do you see anything you like? Am I missing anyone - what are your thoughts?