The second and final period for the NHL clubs to use their amnesty buyouts began 48 hours after the Los Angeles Kings claimed the 2014 Stanley Cup and slammed shut for good at 5 p.m. ET on June 30. Bought-out players became unrestricted free agents on July 1, many inking deals with new clubs almost immediately.
Each team was granted two compliance buyouts to use either last summer or this one, a clause embedded in the new CBA to provide some previously spend-silly GMs with a mulligan. Or two.
Important to note that a player cannot re-sign with the same club that bought him out until a full calendar year passes.
Here, in brief, is how all 30 NHL teams used (or didn’t use) their compliance buyouts.
Anaheim Ducks Buyouts used: 0
The Ducks stood pat — a testament to GM Bob Murray’s salary cap management.
Boston Bruins Buyouts used: 0
General manager Peter Chiarelli has committed big money and term to a handful of players, but they’ve all performed. The Bruins announced early last summer that an amnesty buyout wasn’t in the plans, and Chiarelli reiterated that sentiment on June 23.
Buffalo Sabres Buyouts used: 2
Ville Leino ($4.5-million cap hit until 2016-17) was the posterboy buyout candidate in 2014; he scored zero goals this season. New general manager Tim Murray bought out Leino shortly after the window opened this June. Murray bought out defenceman Christian Ehrhoff on June 30. Ehrhoff, 31, had a whopping seven years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4 million.
Calgary Flames Buyouts used: 1
Despite being positioned well under the salary cap, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported on June 30 that the team was using a compliance buyout on Shane O’Brien, a $2-million cap hit signed through 2014-15. O’Brien, 30, was scheduled to make $2.2 million in real money next season. The 230-pound defencman has not scored an NHL goal since the 2011-12 season. He spent 31 games last season down with the Flames’ AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat.
Carolina Hurricanes Buyouts used: 0
The Hurricanes traded their leading buyout candidate, Tuomo Ruutu ($4.75 million cap hit until 2015-16), to the New Jersey Devils at the March deadline.
Chicago Blackhawks Buyouts used: 2
They aren’t headline-grabbing names, but Chicago bought out Steve Montador ($2.75 million cap hit until 2014-15) and Rostislav Olesz ($3.125 million until 2013-14) after winning the 2013 Stanley Cup in order to free up cash and re-sign Bryan Bickell, then a pending UFA.
Colorado Avalanche Buyouts used: o
In 2013, Joe Sakic used a standard buyout on defenceman Greg Zanon ($2.25 million cap hit through 2013-14). Although P.A. Parenteau spent time in coach Patrick Roy’s doghouse, he was traded to Montreal instead of being bought out.
Columbus Blue Jackets Buyouts used: 0
No buyouts last summer. This summer, there was a chance 32-year-old forward R.J. Umberger ($4.6 million cap hit through 2016-17) would’ve been bought out had Columbus failed to find a trade partner for him. But on June 23 the Blue Jackets swapped Umberger and a fourth-rounder to Philly for Scott Hartnell.
Detroit Red Wings Buyouts used: 2
Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo ($2.5 million cap hit through 2013-14) got the buyout last summer; he signed a cheap, one-year deal with St. Louis and played sparingly on the Blues’ blue line. The contracts of overpaid forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson expired, giving the Red Wings some cap space to play with this summer. Detroit GM Ken Holland used the team’s final amnesty buyout on Jordin Tootoo ($1.9 million cap hit through 2014-15). Tootoo played just 11 NHL games in 2013-14, registering a single assist.
Dallas Stars Buyouts used: 1
On June 17, Aaron Rome was bought out of the final year of his contract, a cap hit of $1.5 million. Often a healthy scratch, the 30-year-old defenceman played just 25 games this year with Dallas, registering a single assist and a minus-6 rating.
Edmonton Oilers Buyouts used: 0
The Oilers’ big-money deals have all been made with young, promising stars. Nothing to see here.
Florida Panthers Buyouts used: 1
Panthers GM Dale Tallon bought out ailing captain Ed Jovanovski ($4.1 million cap hit until 2014-15), even though he had just one year left on his deal and the Panthers had plenty of cap space. Under new ownership, the team has grown more keen to spend to win.
Los Angeles Kings Buyouts used: 0
Last spring general manager Dean Lombardi said his club was devoid of poor contracts and there would be no need to use a compliance buyout. But Eric Duhatschek of the Globe & Mail raised the possibility of Lombardi buying out 29-year-old centre Mike Richards this summer. Richards is a winner who notched 10 points during the Kings’ 26-game run to the championship but has seen his production and ice time decrease over the last three seasons. Despite playing all 82 games and bringing much coveted hockey “intangibles,” this year Richards scored just 11 goals and hasn’t hit 20 since he left Philadelphia after the 2010-11 campaign. Richards is signed through 2020 with a cap hit of $5.75 million, but he’ll make $7 million in actual salary next season. According to capgeek.com, buying out Richards would’ve cost the Kings $19.33 million over 12 years.
Eventually, Dean Lombardi told the Los Angeles Times that he would not be using any compliance buyouts:
Minnesota Wild Buyouts used: 1
Last summer the Wild used its first compliance buyout on defenceman Tom Gilbert ($4 million cap hit through 2013-14). Gilbert signed a one-year, $900,000 deal with Florida and provided the Panthers with good value. With forward Dany Heatley’s $7 million cap hit off the books, the Wild stayed pat in 2014.
Montreal Canadiens Buyouts used: 2
The Habs used up both buyouts in 2013. After paying off Scott Gomez immediately after the 2012-13 lockout ended, Montreal gave defenceman Tomas Kaberle his pink slip. After single-season stints with San Jose and Florida, Gomez is a UFA once again. Kaberle spent 2013-14 playing for Kladno in the Czech Elite League.
Nashville Predators Buyouts used: 1
General manger David Poile tapped defenceman Hal Gill for a buyout in 2013. The free-agent veteran found a one-year, $700,000 gig with Philadelphia early in 2013-14 but played just six games.
New Jersey Devils Buyouts used: 2
Upon acquiring Cory Schneider from Vancouver, Lou Lamoriello bought out third-string goaltender Johan Hedberg in 2013. Although he waited until the last possible day, Lamoriello pulled the trigger and decided to use an amnesty buyout on defenceman Anton Volchenkov ($4.25 million cap hit until 2015-16) on June 30. Volchenkov, 32, scored zero goals, put up eight assists and was a plus-3 in 56 games for New Jersey in 2013-14. He signed on with the Predators for 2014-15.
New York Islanders Buyouts used: 1
It is as if the compliance buyout was created for Rick DiPietro ($3.57 million cap hit until 2020-21), whom the Isles bought out in 2013. Regardless if another club signs him as a UFA, DiPietro will collect $1.5 million annually for 16 seasons. Read that sentence again. Now feel free to retrieve your jaw from the floor.
New York Rangers Buyouts used: 2
Wade Redden was bought out in 2013. And perhaps the most compelling buyout candidate of all, centre Brad Richards was rumoured to be on the chopping block in 2013 but turned his game around under new coach Alain Vigneault. The Rangers already used up one get-out-of-jail-free card on defenceman Wade Redden, who enjoyed a brief NHL encore with the Blues and Bruins in 2013 before retiring.
The 33-year-old Richards’ $6.67 million cap hit through 2019-20 was a strain in New York, even when he was at the top of his game. Richards was bought out and signed on to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Ottawa Senators Buyouts used: 0
No compliance buyouts in the budget-conscious Canadian capital.
Philadelphia Flyers Buyouts used: 2
The Flyers cut two giant cheques — one to forward Danny Briere and one to goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov — in 2013, giving GM Paul Holmgren a pair of significant mulligans. It’s as if the whole idea of amnesty buyouts was created for this free-spending team. At reasonable rates, Bryzgalov (Minnesota) and Briere (Montreal) enjoyed stretches of success in 2013-14.
Arizona Coyotes Buyouts used: 0
Citing “behaviour issues,” the Coyotes bought out centre Mike Ribeiro on June 27, but the move was not an amnesty buyout.
Pittsburgh Penguins Buyouts used: 0
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury ($5 million cap hit through 2014-15) was a rumoured candidate last summer. His bounce-back season, however, quieted such speculation.
San Jose Sharks Buyouts used: 1
Past-his-prime forward Martin Havlat was plagued with injuries and carried a $5 million cap hit through 2014-15. GM Doug Wilson immediately informed Havlat that he would not be back with San Jose next season. Although Wilson tried shopping Havlat, the GM bought out the forward on NHL Draft Day:
St. Louis Blues Buyouts used: 0
The St. Louis Blues’ player salaries have been very well managed. No buyouts here.
Tampa Bay Lightning Buyouts used: 2
Former franchise face Vincent Lecavalier ($7.73 million cap hit until 2019-20) became the recipient of the largest buyout in NHL history ($32 million plus) in 2013. He was snatched up by the Flyers. Depth forward Ryan Malone ($4.5 million cap hit through 2014-15) is the prime candidate to go this summer; his cocaine arrest didn’t help his trade value. Malone entered a written plea of not guilty at his arraignment on June 16 in Tampa, and on June 25 the Lightning used its final compliance buyout on the veteran.
Toronto Maple Leafs Buyouts used: 2
The cash-flush Maple Leafs pulled the plug on defenceman Mike Komisarek and centre Mikhail Grabovski in 2013. Komisarek played 32 games for Carolina in 2013-14, while Grabovski left angry and had a nice little bounce-back season in Washington. The Leafs decided to buy out defenceman Tim Gleason on June 30, but since they used all their compliance buyouts in 2013, Gleason’s was a regular buyout.
Vancouver Canucks Buyouts used: 2
Defenceman Keith Ballard ($4.2 million cap hit until 2014-15) was bought out in 2013 and signed a two-year, $3-million deal with Minnesota. Winger David Booth ($4.25 million cap hit through 2014-15) should become the Canucks’ second compliance buyout this summer. Despite a case to keep him, new GM Jim Benning bought out Booth in June. The winger scored just five goals in 49 games in 2013-14; he carries a cap hit of $4.5 million and was signed through 2016-17.
Washington Capitals Buyouts used: 1
Former Capitals GM George McPhee bought out defenceman Jeff Schultz ($2.75 million cap hit through 2013-14) last summer. Schultz signed with L.A. but only played for the Kings’ AHL affiliate this season. Forward Brooks Laich ($4.5 million cap hit through 2016-17) scored just eight goals in 2013-14 before injuring his groin; the 30-year-old had his least productive season since his rookie campaign and was a rumoured buyout candidate. A team cannot buyout an injured player, however, and Laich, who underwent groin surgery in March, failed his end-of-year physical.
Winnipeg Jets Buyouts used: 0
Despite rumblings that goaltender Ondrej Pavelec ($3.9 million cap hit through 2016-17) might not be long for Winnipeg, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff announced in April that Pavelec will be the Jets’ starting goaltender in 2014-15. The Jets did not use an amnesty buyout.