The NHL’s offseason buyout window is open (and runs through July 27) and this offseason certainly brings the possibility of a number of teams to take advantage of that window.
Not only is the NHL salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million, no doubt creating headaches for a lot of teams that spend to the cap, but there is also the upcoming Seattle expansion draft. Teams will be looking to protect as many key players as possible, and utilizing a buyout on a player with a no-trade or no-move clause could help clean up team protection lists.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few candidates to be bought out over the next few weeks.
This is a tricky one because while the Wild would get $5 million in salary cap savings this upcoming season, they would get absolutely hammered the three years after that when the cap hit would be $6 million, $7 million, and $7 million respectively. That is the type of salary cap hit you commit to an All-Star and the Wild would have it be going to a player no longer on the roster.
But the alternative is not really ideal, either. Because if the Wild keep Parise they are still paying more than $7 million to a player over the next four years that is on the downswing of his career and found himself as a healthy scratch this year and in the playoffs.
The Wild could try a salary retention trade, but that would still require them to take on dead salary cap space and also run the risk of being hit with a cap recapture penalty in the future should Parise retire before his contract ends.
It might be worth it in the short-term to buy him out, get the $5 million in salary cap savings for this upcoming season, clear a protection spot in the expansion draft, and have some extra money to re-sign Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala.
The Calgary Flames signed Neal to his current five-year, $28 million contract prior to the 2018-19 season and it has simply not worked out.
The Flames traded him after one brutal year, and now the Oilers look to be on the verge of moving on after two years.
Since signing the contract he has 31 goals in 147 games, with the bulk of those goals (11 of them) coming in one 15-game stretch to open the 2019-20 season.
Buying out his deal would save the Oilers $4 million in cap space in each of the next two seasons, and they will need it to build the depth around Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. They will take a $2 million salary cap hit in the two years following that, but the short-term savings are worth it.
Tony DeAngelo, New York Rangers
The only surprise here might be the fact that the Rangers did not buy him out as soon as the buyout window opened, because it seems to be inevitable.
The Rangers pretty much barred DeAngelo from being around the NHL team following a series of incidents from his reaction to a healthy scratch, to a fight with teammate Alexander Georgiev. His social media presence also became a pretty significant distraction.
There does not seem to be any trade interest so a buyout seems to be the only path.
DeAngelo has been an extremely productive player at a premium position at every level he has played at throughout his career, and has already had three different teams move on from him before his 26th birthday. That should be a significant red flag for any team interested in signing him if (when?) he gets bought out.
The Rangers would save more than $4 million in salary cap space this season.
Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks
Jones has been one of the league’s least productive goalies for three years now and the Sharks clearly need to address the position in a meaningful way.
His contract (still years three remaining at a salary cap hit of $5.75 million with a no-trade clause no-movement clause) makes him extremely difficult to trade, while a buyout would save the Sharks a couple of million (between two and three million) under the cap over the next three years.
It is the easiest and most sensible move.
Loui Eriksson, Vancouver Canucks
This contract just never worked out as expected from the very beginning.
The Canucks gave Eriksson a six-year, $36 million contract and never received more than 11 goals or 29 points in a single season.
He has just one year remaining on the deal, and a buyout would spread the salary cap hit out over the next two seasons.
They would get $2 million in salary cap savings this season and take on $1 million in empty space for the 2022-23 season. Given how tight the Canucks salary cap situation is, as well as the fact they have to re-sign both Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes (two of their best and most important players) this offseason as restricted free agents every bit of added salary cap space will be important.
Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars
Bishop is still capable of playing at an extremely high level when he is healthy, but did not play at all during the 2020-21 season. The Stars still have Anton Khudobin under contract as a veteran goalie and Jake Oettinger showed a lot of promise as a rookie.
That could make Bishop expendable.
Buying him out would save the Stars $1.6 million against the salary cap in each of the next seasons, before having less than $850,000 in empty space the two years after.
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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.
DeAngelo, Neal, Parise among potential NHL buyouts originally appeared on NBCSports.com