Every year July 1st marks Canada Day and Jarome Iginla’s birthday – it’s nice that we have a day off to commemorate both events. But this year, July 1 marks the start of the first buyout window in the National Hockey League‘s offseason schedule.
Don’t expect the Calgary Flames to use this buyout window.
The Flames won’t skip the buyout window due to their reluctance to spend money. Of course, under general manager Brad Treliving, they’ve only had one trade where they kept their salary – that was David Rittich to Toronto at the 2021 trade deadline. But they paid six players for play elsewhere under his regime via buyouts.
The purchased lot includes:
- Shane O’Brien
- Mason Raymond
- ryan murphy
- Lance Bouma
- Troy Brouwer
- Michael Stone
(Note: Brouwer and Stone were bought out in the second buyout window, which opens if a team has arbitration cases. The idea is that if an agreement related to an arbitration case creates capping, a team can buy out a player to get out of a cap jam.)
There are two players we’ve heard suggested for buyouts: Milan Lucic and Sean Monahan. Both don’t seem like good options, but for different reasons.
Why not buy Milan Lucic?
Lucic isn’t a great buyout option due to his contract structure. Under the CBA, only salary can be bought out, not signing bonuses, and the cap a player reaches is only reduced by the reduction in their salary over the buyout years.
For Lucic, he has a $5.25 million cap for the Flames, but for 2022-23 he only has $1 million in salary. Buying it back would earn him two-thirds of his salary ($666,666) over two years (one-third, or $333,333, each year). This reduces his salary and cap reached in 2022-23 by just $666,666, with the Flames seeing his cap drop from $583,333 to $4.667 million (with the remaining reduction seen by Edmonton as they keep some of his salary in the original exchange).
A league minimum wage replacement for Lucic would cost $750,000, so there is simply no point in buying out Lucic since the cost savings would not cover a replacement player. Redeeming it would actually be increase the cost of its place on the list due to replacement cost.
Why not Sean Monahan?
The good news is that Monahan’s deal is better structured than Lucic’s, with Monahan set to pay $6 million in salary in 2022-23. Buying him back would lower his hit cap by $4 million — to $2.375 million — and really help the Flames out of a bind.
But Monahan is recovering from hip surgery he underwent in April. Under CBA terms players unfit to play can’t be bought out – Toronto bought out Jared Cowen in 2016 and it became quite a controversy because Cowen argued he was unfit to play and couldn’t be redeemed. Cowen lost his appeal, but the whole ordeal established that unless an injured player explicitly gives the team permission to do so, he cannot be redeemed.
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