Different ways exist when approaching buyout candidates. Just because something looks good on paper does not mean it is. Think of it as sort of a good idea and bad idea scenario. This is not an easy process. Division wise, let’s break down the numbers using the CapFriendly buyout calculator.
Popular NHL Buyout Candidates — Central Division
Practical: Artem Anisimov – Center/LW
Anisimov interestingly enough is a strange case of a player paid too much but produces just enough to stick around. He is 30 and coming off three straight 20 goal seasons. However, he is not all that good face-off wise in that span (45%). His possession numbers are -4% below team average and quite a few of his metrics fell off the face of the Earth. Is the big savings of around $4 million this year worth the buyout or are the two lesser years a risk? It does seem reasonable if Stan Bowman cannot find a suitor.
Not Practical: Brent Seabrook – Defense
Seabrook looks attractive on the surface and the savings the first two years would be a godsend. However, the cap is going up to $80 million or more likely. Furthermore, this buyout would be for 12 years! The replacement value of $944,444 for a defenseman is more burdensome than when it comes to finding a forward.
Practical: Colin Wilson – Center/LW
Wilson performed at a level much worse than accustomed to. By the end of the season, he was barely playing fourth line minutes and getting scratched often. He is owed nearly $4 million for one more season. Could he bounce back? That does not seem likely. Replacement players come easy at $1.333 million for a team like Colorado, who does have ample cap space. Cutting ties with the forward who had just 18 points in 56 games may be easier than trying to trade him.
Not Practical: Erik Johnson – Defense
This was more a joke than anything last year when it was rumored about. Johnson’s contract has five more years remaining at $6 million AAV. That is a lot of years. Age becomes an issue but probably not for a couple more seasons. Injury concerns are something to look at, yet Colorado values the defenseman too much to buy him out now.
Practical: Jason Spezza – Center
The point drop illustrates the obvious. Injuries still creeping up on the 35-year-old and his back keeps acting as a persistent issue. His minutes dropped to just 13 minutes a night. Possession metrics remained okay and slightly above team relative. Unfortunately, the defensive lapses and lack of offense make him too popular of a candidate. Can Dallas find a $2.5 million replacement forward? That answer is yes. Dallas also carries a good bit of cap space.
Not Practical: Martin Hanzal – Center
Hanzel injuries cement his status as not practical. His latest malady keeps him out at least another six months and it may take longer for the center to get back to normal. He will be worth little which means LTIR is a strong possibility.
Practical: Marcus Foligno – Left Wing
Foligno plays well enough but with fourth line minutes, he is replaceable. $2.875 million a year for the next three years is a considerable amount for a cash-strapped team. Saving a bit over $2 million a year with a buyout in the early portion could be vital for Minnesota. They need cap space with the contracts Minnesota needs to sign. Trades occurring despite a cap increase remains a possibility too. However, the Wild should be able to find a 25 point forward for cheap. Tyler Ennis could be more practical with a solid $1.2 million in total savings. He could be a more trade worthy commodity.
Not Practical: Zach Parise – Left Wing
It just will not happen yet. A 14-year buyout at those insane prices is just unfathomable. If Parise is healthy, the forward could have a good couple years left.
Practical: Nick Bonino – Center
He plays a defensive center role but all his metrics indicate a drop that may not bounce back. That -5% to team relative is a problem. Part of this can be explained by his 36.5% offensive zone usage. On the other hand, his shots on net plummeted to just 1.18 per contest. With his $4.1 million dollar salary over the next three years, Nashville could find a replacement for the center. The question is, will they?
Not Practical: Kyle Turris – Center
Turris signed a six-year extension for $36 million. Nashville fans frustrated by his lack of playoff production want a little change. A 12-year buyout is just not an option.
St. Louis Blues: Practical: Vladimir Sobotka – Center
Sobotka plays well enough but his numbers do not scream being worth $3.5 million. His 31 points in 81 games are decent. Unfortunately, 17 minutes of playing time diminishes that outlook. Patrik Berglund potentially is a better fit and Sobotka is 30. 33 points was a career high and that may be a sign. Buying him out carries just enough savings for a team that can use a few more dollars.
Not Practical: Jay Bouwmeester – Defense
Bouwmeester shutting down the best offensive players just does not occur anymore. His possession metrics have worsened over the past few seasons. Furthermore, the defenseman’s declining health places St. Louis in a tenuous position.
Practical: Dmitry Kulikov – Defense
Winnipeg possesses quite a bit of depth and has some players to sign – Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey. Kulikov has a tough time staying healthy and defensively the metrics are below average. The points per game are always going to be low. His time on ice was a career-low 17:04 last year. This illustrates his decreasing value and he is just 27. A buyout gives Winnipeg an extra boost in savings for two seasons. That would be enough to contend with Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine.
Not Practical: Tyler Myers – Defense
Could Myers be traded from Winnipeg? He has a better chance than Kulkov of being moved. The defenseman has just one year left on his big deal from Buffalo. He possesses an ability to produce around a point every other game still. Trade winds sway Winnipeg enough and dollars could be saved.