The Stanley Cup has been awarded and now we’re officially into the off-season and the first step to a long summer ahead of us is the buyout period.
A buyout is when a team quite literally buys out a player’s contract to obtain a reduced salary cap hit over a period of twice the remaining length of the contract. They help relieve some short term cap issues, but the trade-off is that it in a way spreads out the cap hit over twice the amount of time left on the contract which can handcuff a team especially if the contract still has multiple years left on it.
For a team like the Winnipeg Jets, a contract buy out would help give them a bit of extra room to fit in the contracts of pending RFAs like Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine, it would also help create a roster space or two for next season. It’s also worth noting though that if an NHL club plans to buy out a player, they first have to clear waivers and they can be picked up by any other team. This isn’t an issue if you’re looking to clear deck of a player you can’t seem to even trade a bag of pucks for, but it’s also a deterrent to just cut players who may have burdensome contracts but still would hold value as a top nine forward or top two pairing defenseman for most teams. No, Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien will not be bought out. You probably can forget about the Jets buying out Bryan Little or Matthieu Perreault as well.
The truth is, the Jets only have one logical option for a potential buyout: Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
Thanks to our friends over at PuckPedia.com we can see what a Kulikov buyout of his final contract year would look like:
The Jets would free up a shade under $2.9 million for the upcoming season which could mean a lot not just for this summer, but also for another potential trade deadline move late next season. The downside of course is that the following season – a season where without a buyout Kulikov would be off the ledger completely – his cap hit of $1.4 million remains with a couple of more big RFA deals in Jack Roslovic and Josh Morrissey set to expire and significant raises be handed out again.
Would it be worth it? Should the Jets buy out the final year of Dmitry Kulikov to get a small savings in cap space for the upcoming season? Could the Jets possibly entertain the idea of buying anyone else out? Let us know your thoughts and what trades you’d make in the comments below or on either our Twitter feed or Facebook page!