The last time the National Hockey League experienced such a serious interruption in the operation – and the inevitable economic jerk it entailed – the directors were given a card without detention. Indeed, two of them.
In the summer after the lockout in 2012-13 and the shortened season, the players and governors agreed that each club should be granted two compliance buy-outs in order to set ceilings in the face of a stagnating upper limit. These could be used in summer 2013 and / or summer 2014, as the cap has waited two seasons to resume its upward trend.
With the help of this practical buyout tool, a full 28 overpaid players were granted an early free agency – provided that they did not sign again with the same team that bought them within a full calendar year.
Household names such as Martin Havlat, Daniel Briere, Brad Richards, Scott Gomez, Tomas Kaberle, Ilja Bryzgalov and Christian Ehrhoff were among those who had to find a new job.
Is there anything nicer than a mulligan?
With the 2020-21 cap expected to score a COVID 19 goal, there are rumors that the league could consider a similar option in the near future – with the blessing of the NHLPA, of course.
And although a relapse into the compliance buyout at this point is purely hypothetical, we had enough time to review the rosters and compile a list of potential candidates.
Here is a breakdown of 11 players that could be considered for an amnesty buyout, and the pros and cons of deducting what is probably the most uncomfortable tool available to a GM.
(For all details on buyouts and a practical buyout calculator, please visit the excellent CapFriendly.com.)
Loui Eriksson, two years on a $ 6 million cap hit
In summer 2016, Vancouver signed a 30-goal stud with 63 points from Boston. In four runs as Canuck, Eriksson has never scored more than 11 goals or 29 points. His slowed feet have also led to an increase in minor punishments and occasional bench exercises.
Eriksson's actual annual salary falling to $ 4 million in 2020-21 and 2021-22 makes him a little more tradable, but the 34-year-old winger has long been outdated – and an exciting core from Vancouver is beginning to develop his own.
Jim Benning is a donor and he's dealing with Roberto Luongo's cap recapture penalty and his most expensive striker underdelivery.
With Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev, Josh Leivo, Tyler Toffoli and Jake Virtanen on the way to becoming a free agency, it is questionable whether a compliance buyout window could help Vancouver more than any other club.
Justin Abdelkader, three years with a $ 4.25 million cap hit
Because the rebuilt Red Wings are in no hurry to spend money on the cap and put an immediate competitor together, and because they'll also have a number of expensive contracts this summer (Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, Trevor Daley)) they still can easily overpaid veterans like Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen (two more years on a $ 5.25 million hit).
Here is the question: Does Steve Yzerman still want a 36-year-old Abdel squad to take place in 2023?
It's easy to look at Abdelkader’s 2019-20 numbers – zero goals, three assists, minus 14 points – and to be afraid of another three years ago when a deep wing was overpaid.
There could be a mood here, with Abdelkader a loyal, career-long wing and a respected leader. But remember: Yzerman used a compliance buyout for local hero Vincent Lecavalier when he acted as Tampa's GM.
Brent Seabrook, four years with a $ 6.875 million cap hit
First, a restriction: injured players are not eligible for buyouts. However, the 34-year-old Seabrook seems to be recovering well from his three shoulder surgeries, as measured by his push-up challenge video (see below).
In addition to Alex DeBrincat's monster raise for 2020-21, there are some young players in Chicago who need a raise this summer: Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome and Drake Caggiula.
Be it in the off-season or the next, buying Seabrook could be an option.
It looks like Brent Seabrook's recovery is going well since he's handing out the #PushUpChallenge to @ kdach77 out here.
(: @ kdach77 / IG) pic.twitter.com/ZyNGKZCRyz
– Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) March 23, 2020
Milan Lucic, four years with a $ 6 million cap hit
The overwhelming Lucic has a full no-move clause until June 1, 2021, which will be changed at that time. And while last summer's change of scene brought him and James Neal good, the Power Forward is nowhere near the $ 6 million threat he's being paid for.
Lucic, 31, scored a total of 20 points in 68 games with Calgary and was a minus player after six years as a plus in four consecutive seasons.
Given the urgency of the Flames and GM Brad Treliving's willingness to buy up bugs (Troy Brouwer, Michael Stone), Lucic would be high on a candidate list if the NHL compliance buyouts grant.
#StayAtHomeChallenge thank you @ ToreyKrug… @justinbieber in the background (daughter has "Never Say Never" on repetition) pic.twitter.com/6BdhsLpBww
– Milan Lucic (@ 27MilanLucic) March 21, 2020
Karl Alzner, two years with a cap hit of $ 4.625 million
Although Alzner has worked his way back into the NHL for four games this winter, there is no doubt that the defender was an outstanding bankruptcy, a classic overpayment on July 1st. In summer 2019, he took second place after Lucic among the most wanted buyouts from CapFriendly.com.
After eight years of perfect NHL participation, Alzner was scratched on the opening night of the 2018/19 season and appeared in only nine major league games for the organization before being downgraded to Laval, where he does quietly solid, albeit overcompensated work for two seasons.
Andrew Ladd, three years with a $ 5.5 million cap hit
That Ladd was almost brought to Minnesota at the close of trading in a complicated transaction for Zach Parise is strong evidence of how the organization sees the veteran.
The 34-year-old Ladd is only 50 games away from joining the NHL Club with 1,000 games. He scored 11 goals in 34 games with AHL Bridgeport this season and once in his four Islanders games. Maybe he could play a valuable bottom six role in a sensible cap hit.
But the native Maple Ridge (BC) is still making money in line with his 20-goal and 60-point Winnipeg days 2014-15. And in the coming months, GM Lou Lamoriello will increase Mathew Barzal's salary by three zeros.
Kyle Okposo, three years on a $ 6 million cap hit
A scan of Sabers recent buyout history – Christian Ehrhoff, Ville Leino and Cody Hodgson all had line items this season – reminiscent of the franchise's love of a good overpayment.
God bless Okposo, but the injured professional fell into the same pattern as Matt Moulson: great years alongside John Tavares on Long Island, followed by the inability to fulfill his contract in Buffalo.
The 31-year-old Okposo earned top-line dollars, but scored nine goals and ten assists in 52 games this season. This is the fourth year in a row that his score has dropped.
The Pegulas might also consider revising the contract with Jeff Skinner (seven more seasons with a $ 9 million goal), but the overwhelming winger (14 goals) is only 27 years old and has a history of opening and closing From production.
Sergei Bobrovsky, six years with a $ 10 million cap hit
Purchasing the remaining six (!) Years from Bobrovsky's mega-deal would save the cash-conscious Panthers $ 11 million in payments. More importantly, it could incorrectly correct the wrong agency from 2019.
No goalkeeper – not even a two-time Vezina champion – should devour an eight-digit part of a team's salary limit during this time. The position is too unpredictable, prone to injury and break-in, and the cap space is too valuable.
That Bobrovsky's 2019-20 record and savings percentage (23-19-6, .900) has faded alongside that of his backup, the youngest ECHLer Chris Driedger (7-2-1, .938), has the risk of Bets underlined so big on the position.
Henrik Lundqvist, one year on a $ 8.5 million cap hit
It's more about creating space than saving money.
When the virus paused in the 2019-20 campaign, the Rangers stormed out of their reconstruction while clumsily carrying three NHL-caliber goalkeepers. An affordable young duo made up of Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev could set the folds of the blues shirts well for the coming years.
The purchase of the king would mean a short – and possibly friction-triggering – conclusion of a career in the Hall of Fame, but could also be transferred cold to the sports business.
James Neal, three years on a $ 5.75 million cap hit
No stranger to buyout as a means of limiting comfort. The Oilers are currently paying five players not to be in Edmonton: buyouts Benoit Pouliot, Eric Gryba and Andrej Sekera and trades with retained salaries Lucic and Sam Gagner.
Undoubtedly, Neal recovered well with 19 goals in 2019-20, but he's a Dash 20 winger by the age of 35. There are better ways than a Powerplay specialist to allocate this salary to Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitls Prime.
Note: Then Ken Holland, GM of the Red Wings, used both his 2013 and 14 amnesty buyouts.
David Backes, one year on a $ 6 million cap hit
The urgency to buy backes, which previously burdened the cap structure of the Bruins, is not as severe as you can imagine.
The ducks have a room full of young strikers who could benefit from Backes' mentoring, work ethic and experience. In addition, the guy has only one season left, and Anaheim is not expected to be a contender / donor by 2020-21.
Absolutely, Backes is overpaid. He scored once and hardly played 22 games in 2019-20. But he "only" will earn $ 4 million in real money next season.