Let the off-season action begin.
With the NHL campaign closing this past week with the St. Louis Blues’ Stanley Cup victory, the league’s first buyout window officially opened on Saturday, and with it the opportunity for several teams to pay their way out of some problematic contracts in order to open up some precious cap space for the summer ahead. It was little more than one week ago that we speculated about several players who could be on the chopping block, and it wasn’t long after the window opened that a pair of those potential buyout candidates were indeed given the axe.
So, who has been bought out and what are the cap implications? Check back throughout the buyout window, which runs from June 15 to June 30, to keep up to date:
Anaheim Ducks – Corey Perry – June 19
Corey Perry has been bought out by Anaheim, bringing to end an era in which he was one of the cornerstones of the franchise during its most successful period. It had been speculated early in the off-season that the Ducks were considering all options with Perry, including a buyout, but Wednesday’s announcement makes it official. Perry’s play has dropped off precipitously over the past few seasons after an early-career run in which he established himself as one of the greatest players in franchise history, accumulating 330 goals and 664 points across his first 11 NHL campaigns. During that time, he won the Hart Trophy, Rocket Richard Trophy, the 2007 Stanley Cup and was a two-time first-team all-star. His tenure with Anaheim ends with Perry as the franchise’s all-time games played leader (988), second-highest goal scorer (372) and third-highest point-getter (776). He also ranks second all-time in playoff goals (36) and points (89).
Salary Cap Implications: The biggest saving for the Ducks comes this upcoming season, when Perry’s $8.625-million cap hit is replaced with a buyout cap hit of $2.625 million. But Anaheim best enjoy that benefit, because Perry’s buyout will count against the cap for a whopping $6.625 million in 2020-21 before back-to-back cap hits of $2 million in 2021-22 and 2022-23. The additional cap space this summer, though, gives the Ducks a projected $15.1 million with which to work, though that could be lessened if the cap is set below the early $83-million projection.
Philadelphia Flyers – Andrew MacDonald – June 16
It’s a move for which Flyers fans have long been clamoring, and shortly after the buyout window opened Saturday, Philadelphia made clear their intentions with MacDonald, who was set to begin the final campaign of a six-year, $30-million pact next season, by placing him on unconditional waivers. Over the past five seasons, MacDonald has been a serviceable middle- or bottom-pairing rearguard, but his minutes and impact have steadily diminished and it was clear almost from the outset of the deal that the $5-million cap hit was an overpay for the blueliner. In fact, Philadelphia waived and demoted MacDonald during the 2015-16 campaign. He spent 43 games that season with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Across 272 games with the Flyers, MacDonald notched 11 goals, 68 points and had a 19:23 average ice time.
Salary Cap Implications: There are definite cap savings involved here. This off-season, Philadelphia will get an additional $3.8 million with which to work as a result of the buyout. However, the Flyers will be on the hook for $1.917 million next season. MacDonald will be entirely off the books following the 2020-21 season.
Los Angeles Kings – Dion Phaneuf – June 15
The hope in Los Angeles was that Phaneuf’s mid-season acquisition in 2017-18, which came complete with three goals and 10 points in a top-four role down the stretch, would help alleviate the pressure on the top defensemen. Instead, the veteran blueliner’s time with the Kings has been cut short ahead of the final two seasons of his seven-year, $49-million pact. Last season was inarguably the worst of Phaneuf’s career. He slipped into a bottom-pairing role, averaged 15 minutes per game, scored just one goal and six points in 67 games and was a healthy scratch several times. Few will be surprised to see Phaneuf’s time in Los Angeles come to an end in this way. It was expected, and Saturday’s announcement only makes it official.
Salary Cap Implications: This is the rare buyout that’s going to impact two teams. Phaneuf will count against the Kings’ cap for $2.19 million this season and against the Senators’ cap for just north of $729,000. The dual buyout cap hits is the result of Ottawa retaining a portion of Phaneuf’s salary as part of his move to Los Angeles. The worst of it comes next season for both teams, though, as the Kings will deal with a $4.06-million hit as a result of the buyout, while the Senators will be saddled with a $1.354-million hit. Phaneuf’s buyout remains on the books for both teams through to the end of the 2022-23 season.
(All salary cap information via CapFriendly)
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