BY PETER HOUSTON – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
Scott Gomez and Wade Redden are probably thanking their lucky stars. With the NHL and NHLPA having agreed on “accelerated compliance buyouts”, Gomez and Redden won’t have to spend the entire campaign as healthy scratches. While the Oilers lack depth on the defensive end, I can’t see them going after Redden. He hasn’t played at a quality NHL level for four years and there’s no reason to think he can turn it around at age 35. Here’s a couple more likely candidates to be bought out and potentially pursued by the Oilers:
James Wisniewski, Columbus Blue Jackets: This could be an interesting case. Wisniewski is going into the second year of a six year, $33 million deal that already looks really bad. There’s a chance they could buy him out before the season for the sole reason of accelerating their tank job. There is absolutely no way Columbus is going to come anywhere near the playoffs this year, so why not buy Wisniewski out, guarantee his cap hit is off the books for next year, and try and get that first overall pick? Seth Jones would look a lot better back their for the next four years than James Wisniewski.
Keith Ballard, Vancouver Canucks: While Ballard isn’t nearly bad enough to be an accelerated compliance buyout, it might be worth it because of the injury risk. He’s missed 52 games over the last two years because of injury. He also really hasn’t panned out the way the Canucks thought he would, putting up 14 points in 112 games with the team. It’s doubtful they’ll want his $4.2 million cap hit on the books for another two years (after this one), even if they get rid of Roberto Luongo.
There’s a pretty good chance neither of guys are bought out before the season, but you never know. And if you’re the Oilers you’d be much better off taking a chance on them on a reduced salary than 35-year-old Wade Redden coming off a couple years in the AHL.
More NHL: Should the Canucks sign Scott Gomez?