BY DANIEL DI NICOLANTONIO – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
As CBA talks continue between the NHL and NHLPA, there have been discussions on allowing teams to buyout one player (and possibly two) and not take a hit against the salary cap. Even though they are being saved from taking a cap hit, the owners want to look at the cash they are saving in total as well. So it is not going to be about the biggest contract all the time. Let’s look at teams in the Atlantic Division.
Buyout choices are based on players that have contracts that extend past 2012-13; salaries are the average per season.
New York Rangers: Wade Redden (D) – Two Years / $6.5 million
The New York Rangers are just ducking under the $60 million in salaries with the massive contracts of Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. Wade Redden’s contract is certainly not worth as much as any of these players mentioned.
New Jersey Devils: Andy Greene (D) – Three Years / $3 million
There are actually two likely candidates that the Devils would probably like to take off the books, both defencemen, Andy Greene or Bryce Salvador. New Jersey is not one of those teams exceeding $60 million in cap space, and after 2012-13 their cap drops below $40 million as Patrick Elias ($6 M), Travis Zajac ($3.8 M), Dainius Zubrus ($3.4 M) and David Clarkson ($2.6 M) come off the books. That is not to say any of these players will not return but provides New Jersey with options down the road.
The New York Islanders are currently taking a $41 million cap hit and because they will produce 10 UFAs/RFAs it will drop to $29 million this summer. Players that have contracts that extend past this season aren’t going anywhere so we have no choice but to select Rick DiPietro despite having to owe him $24 million over the course of 16 years. Remember another goaltender later on and we’ll see if it works out the same way or not.
Philadelphia Flyers: Chris Pronger (D) – Five Years / $4.9 million
Though there are a few different options in Philadelphia, Chris Pronger is the best option Flyers GM Paul Holmgren has. Pronger, 38, has been limited to the number of games he’s played in due to injury and is getting closer to ending his NHL career. Holmgren will need this money to extend Claude Giroux, who becomes a RFA after the 2013-14 season.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Paul Martin (D) – Three Years / $5 million
Paul Martin has to be at the top of the list for Pittsburgh making $5 million and not performing the way he needs to. Kris Letang, 25, has continued to grow and perform well since entering the league and will be due for a new contract following the 2013-14 season.
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