The NHL window for buying out contracts opens on Friday and lasts until 5pm on October 8 (the day before the beginning of free agency), something that will be a necessity for teams looking to escape a bad contract, save money and/or open up cap space.
An example of this is the Ottawa Senators reportedly placing Masterton Trophy winner Bobby Ryan on unconditional waivers for the purposes of buying out the final two years of his contract. The Sens save $3.667 million in cap space each of the next two years. That fact is inconsequential since Ottawa is well below the NHL salary cap floor, but with the maneuver the budget conscious club is saving $3.667 million in salary.
Although other Atlantic Division clubs in Montreal (Karl Alzner), Buffalo (Carter Hutton), and Boston (John Moore) may avail themselves of this option over the next two weeks, the Toronto Maple Leafs will not, since they do not have a bad contract that would necessitate a buyout.
Barring any last minute changes, here is an overview of the upcoming important NHL Off-season dates.
All dates are based on the 'Critical Dates' calendar found in the MOU, and take into account the newly released schedule for the SCF which can end no later than September 30th. pic.twitter.com/kupr0S4FlC
The Leafs core group (Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin) are all locked up for multiple years and with the exception of Rielly are all loaded with signing bonuses, which makes them buyout proof. Most of the remaining skaters (Alex Kerfoot, Andreas Johnsson, Pierre Engvall, Justin Holl) have either been recently signed to extensions, are entering the final year of their contracts (Frederik Andersen, Zach Hyman) or are still on their entry-level deals.
GM Kyle Dubas may be able to benefit from the buyout window down the line, depending on the players who become new unrestricted free agents. Players will receive two-thirds of the money owed to them over double the number of years left on their contract, which means that they could be more willing to take a lesser salary to hook on with a new club for next season.
Dallas benefited from bringing in buyouts victims Andrej Sekera and Corey Perry, who they signed to one-year, $1.5 million contracts with performance bonuses. If similar players become available and intrigue the Leafs, it may an inexpensive way to help solidify their depth if other moves are necessary to clear cap space to improve their defense.
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