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 Buyout Candidates – Pacific Division
Not Really Practical: Corey Perry — Right Wing
Corey Perry falls in the category of aging veteran who may begin to decline even more. At 33, he has had seasons of 53 and 49 points the last two years. For a player making $8.625 million, that is not the production level one is accustomed to. Some argue that he could bounce back like Dustin Brown. This may be true. However, Ondrej Kase created an opportunity for himself last season that could be explored more. Anaheim has options to go in a different direction and this would be a big step. The savings is over $10 million the first two years alone. Realistically, Bob Murray is not the person that would cross the bridge and hence this is “not really practical”.
Not Practical: Ryan Kesler – Center
Kesler injured his core well over a year ago. However, the injury has not healed properly and he suffered through one of his worst seasons ever. Anaheim has some financial flexibility which gives them options for now (LTIR, etc.).
Not Really Practical: Alex Goligoski – Defense
Goligoski performed at a level much worse than accustomed to defensively. By the end of the season, he was picked on by teams on a regular basis. Yes, the defenseman had 35 points during the season. On the other hand, his price tag is high enough to save some dollars and find a replacement. With several UFA defensemen and trade options possible, Arizona is not without leverage. If Arizona had to choose a player, it might be Goligoski.
Not Practical: Niklas Hjarlmarsson – Defense
This appears good on the surface but Arizona seems to like the defenseman enough. One year at $4.1 million is not outrageous. His trade value may even rise during the season as well.
Practical: Troy Brouwer — Center
The point drop illustrates the obvious the past two years. His minutes dropped to just 13 minutes a night. Possession metrics remained awful and below team relative (-4%). Unfortunately, the defensive lapses and lack of offense make him too popular of a candidate. Can Calgary find a $1.5 million replacement forward? That answer is yes. Calgary has enough cap space.
Not Practical: Michael Stone– Defense
Stone’s problem lies in the fact that his modified no-trade may not matter. The salary causes a retention scenario if Calgary chooses to trade the defenseman.
Practical: Kris Russell — Defense
Russell blocks shots well but, he is replaceable. $4 million a year for the next three years is a considerable amount for a team with issues. Saving a bit over $3 million a year with a buyout (first two years) in the early portion could be helpful for Edmonton. The defenseman struggles with metrics despite some offensive bursts. 21 points in 78 games is not worth it for a blueliner who played just 19 minutes a night.
Not Practical: Milan Lucic — Left Wing
It just will not happen yet. A ten-year buyout at those insane prices is just unfathomable. If Lucic can bounce back even a bit, his value creeps up a bit.
Los Angeles Kings
Practical: Dion Phaneuf — Defense
He plays a defensive center role but all his metrics indicate a drop that will not likely bounce back. That -5% to team relative is a problem. His offensive zone usage with the Kings was over 55%. On the other hand, His shots on net steadied at around 1.8 per contest. With his $5.25 million dollar salary over the next three years, Los Angeles could find a replacement for the defenseman. The question is, will they?
Not Practical: Dustin Brown — Right Wing
Brown bounced back in a huge way with the help of Anze Kopitar. The 60 point season cements the fact that Los Angeles will keep him on the top line.
San Jose Sharks
Practical: Paul Martin — Defense
Martin aged poorly and at 37, has just one year left on his deal. He is the prime candidate for a buyout as San Jose performed better without the aging rearguard. His minutes were limited to less than 15 a night in just 14 games. That sign is troublesome and San Jose likely will not find a trade partner. The defenseman could still provide a little value, just not at nearly $5 million.
Not Practical: Mikkel Boedker — Right Wing
Boedker bouncing back despite bottom six minutes was unexpected. His metrics are still around 4.5 to 5% below team average but the point production, including goals, does offer some potential.
Practical: Ben Hutton — Defense
Hutton enters 2018-19 on the last year of his deal. Six points in 61 games, including zero goals on 103 shots. Could Hutton be traded? Sure. However, if they cannot find a team for Hutton to go to, then a buyout becomes likely. It is practical in the sense that this would allow Hutton to get a jump on finding a team. One wonders if Vancouver does Hutton a favor.
Not As Practical: Loui Eriksson — Right Wing
Eriksson only saves Vancouver $500,000, and yet the buyout remains possible. Vancouver faces a long-term rebuild. The 32-year-old forward will be a casualty at some juncture. Whether it happens slow or quick, is a matter to stay tuned on. He is a popular buyout candidate but Vancouver is the uncertainty here.
Vegas Golden Knights
Not Really Practical: Oscar Lindberg — Left Wing / Center
Lindberg underwhelmed in Vegas mostly because he just did not quite fit in. Sometimes the change of scenery does not work. He played a few games in the playoffs with just an assist. Lindberg sparingly was used in a fourth line role then. During the season, it was more of the same that most saw when he was in New York. Flashes of production mitigated by some bad decision making were frustrating. It is easy to find a replacement forward who can basically equal his production via the trade or UFA route. His low price does not offer much savings honestly. Vegas might buy out Lindberg if there were no takers for him via waivers or trade.
Not Practical: Jon Merrill — Defense
Merrill benched for the rest of the playoffs was not a sign. Vegas still needs insurance in case they do make a move for a top-four defenseman before the season starts. Merrill provides insurance for now.