Do you ever hope that your team is the one that signs that big free agent in July? Are you hoping that Brent Burns or Ben Bishop comes sliding through the doors and becomes that last piece your team desperately needs for that long cup run? There might be one slight problem. If your team is only one or two pieces away from becoming that Stanley Cup favorite it also means that your team could be close to the cap. If you head on over to
Cap Geek General Fanager NHL.Com (I forgot that nobody cares about this, right Bettman?) Cap Friendly there are several teams that do not have a ton of room to make a big time addition (long-term IR would change those numbers but lets pretend that is not the case and that there a lot of teams that could use some cap relief). There might not enough room to bring in that top line all star that takes you to the promised land. What are you going to do?
You have come to the right place. I have the answer you are looking for. What if every team was given another compliance buyout? What if every team could get out from one contract that is weighing down their future? Who is your Rick DiPietro or Ville Leino? It could bring new life to floundering organizations. Most of all it is fun to speculate and talk about. Here is my take on who I think teams would use their buyouts on if they had one to use after the 2016-17 season. Instead of getting into the debate of whether or not the team would use the buyout or not I forced every team to make the decision. Which left some fun decisions for a few teams that did not have any cap problems. Let us know who you think your team would buyout if they had the chance. :
Ryan Kesler – I promise you that Carl is not writing this. As much as this pains me to say and even with his good start to the season (12 points in 15 games) Ryan Kesler would be the one for the Ducks. There are really no other options on this team. No one can afford to pay a mostly defensive minded forward $6.875 million a year. Kesler still has 5 more years on his contract after this year. I still do not think they will buy him out any time soon (see, this is not Carl) but given the chance to buy him out without a penalty they would happily pull the trigger. Sorry Ryan.
Mike Smith – The Coyotes are the last team that needs to use a buyout of this nature (see: Chris Pronger/Pavel Datsyuk/Dave Bolland). What if this team could replace Mike Smith with Ben Bishop, Jaroslav Halak or Martin Jones? All goalies who could be available in the next two off-seasons? They would never actually use this buyout but since I had to choose someone Smith is the guy.
Michael Frolik – Calgary would probably like a do-over on this contract they handed out just last year. Frolik only scored 15 goals last year and has a sub 50 Corsi in his time in Calgary (thanks Carl!). What Calgary saw in giving him a 5 year deal at $4.3 million per year is beyond me. They are already running into cap problems with trying to fit Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan under the cap. The other option from this team could be Mark Giordano. Giordano may be a productive player right now but with 5 years on his contract after this year that will take him to age 38 he would be in the conversation as well. Frolik has had a decent start to the season (10 points in 15 games) but if he does not keep that up he would be the choice for the Flames.
Andrej Sekera – As bad as the Oilers have been they do not really have that many bad contracts, if any, on this team. Last year Sekera has another 4 years left after this year at $5.5 million a year. He will be 35 by the time this contract will be over. While it may not be a problem right now it is easy to see this contract being a problem for the Oilers when their young guy(s) (well, mainly Connor McDavid) start needing raises.
Los Angeles Kings
Dustin Brown – There are several options for the Kings. Brown, Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik top the list of candidates. You could make the case for any of those three and not too many people would but up a fight. Production and the play style of Brown was the reason I went with him over the other two.
San Jose Sharks
Paul Martin – I had to choose someone. The Sharks might be in the best cap situation in the entire NHL. It helps when they have Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton both coming off the books this year. Martin is currently 35 and has two more seasons to go after this year. He will be 38 by the time the contract is over. It is difficult to think he will be a productive NHL defense man at that age. If it was not Martin the options would then go to Joel Ward, Mikkel Boedker or Marc-Edouard Valsic. It is not going to be one of them so Martin is the guy.
Brandon Sutter – He has never really settled into Vancouver yet. He spent most of the last year injured and when he has not been injured he has not seemed to find a fit on this team. With the Sedin’s and Burrows contracts all ending in the next couples years there are not a lot of options on this roster. Unless Sutter finds where he fits into this team over the rest of this season he would be the guy the Canucks would use a buyout on and free up some cap space.