The Carolina Hurricanes are set to deal with the largest cap hit on a buyout in NHL history.
The team announced Tuesday that they have placed winger Alexander Semin, he of a five-year, $35 million contract signed just two seasons ago, on waivers with the intention to buyout his contract. Semin, who is still owed $21 million of his $35 million contract, will still hit the Hurricanes salary cap for $2.333 million per season, though. According to David Alter, that puts Semin’s buyout as the largest annual cap hit for a buyout in league history.
According to War-On-Ice’s buyout calculator, Semin’s buyout will remain on the Carolina cap for the $2-plus million hit up until the 2020-21 season.
The news of the buyout isn’t altogether shocking considering the 31-year-old is coming off of the worst offensive season of his career. In 2014-15, the second year of the five-year deal, Semin mustered just six goals and 19 points. Prior to that, his previous career low came in his rookie campaign when he scored 10 goals and 22 points.
Semin has often been heralded as one of the most pure goal scorers in the NHL and has eclipsed the 20-goal plateau in seven of his 10 professional seasons. Were it not for the lockout shortened campaign in 2012-13, he likely would have reached at least 20 goals eight times. Prior to coming to Carolina as a free agent in 2012, Semin was two seasons removed from a 40-goal, 84-point campaign as a member of the Washington Capitals.
Regardless of his numbers this past season, however, GM Ron Francis had previously told Chip Alexander of The News & Observer that a buyout wouldn’t be coming.
“Alex is a part of the Hurricanes and we’ll continue to work with him and try to help him be the player we think he can be,” Francis told Alexander. “Things are different now in the way we are running things and what we expect. Our job is to continue to work with him and get the message through.
“We think we can do it. We’re not giving up on him at all.”
Obviously, there was a change of heart and the Hurricanes have decided that the best course of action is to cut ties with Semin. By the beginning of Wednesday’s free agent period, Semin will become an unrestricted free agent and will likely have at least a couple suitors.
In addition to the news of Carolina putting Semin on waivers for the purpose of a buyout, the Florida Panthers announced they have done the same with winger Brad Boyes. While the Semin move made sense from a salary-to-production perspective, the decision to buyout Boyes is surprising from the Panthers, especially considering the move will put them more than $2 million below the salary floor.
This past season, Boyes was sixth on the Cats in scoring, registering 14 goals and 38 points in 78 outings for Florida. He was signed to a two-year contract extension in March 2014, but for unreported reasons, the team has decided to cut ties with the 33-year-old. Boyes’ cap hit for the upcoming season was $2.625 million, and the buyout will count against Florida’s cap space for $958,333 this upcoming season and $833,333 in 2016-17.