With the buyout window opening Wednesday evening, there is speculation as to which players will most likely see their contracts bought out. Luke Fox from Sportnet put together a list of players who might find themselves a victim of buyer’s remorse. Here are a few:
- Bryan Bickell: After having the playoff performance of a lifetime during the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup run, Bickell’s contract has been a thorn in the side of the Hawks constant cap worries. Signed to a 4-year, $16MM deal in 2013, the return on investment has been null for the Blackhawks. Some will point to bench boss Joel Quenneville as one of the reasons Bickell never found sustained success after his magical year. Scott Powers wrote in the Chicago Sun Times back in January that Bickell was resigned to his fate, and that it was ultimately up to the Chicago brass as to how they solved the problem. Bickell was shuttled back and forth to AHL affiliate Rockford, and barely saw ice time even when he was up in Chicago. As Fox points out, with only a year left and $4MM owed, if Bickell isn’t traded, he’s most likely to be bought out.
- Dave Bolland: Another former Blackhawk, Bolland has been injury plagued and unable to produce like he did when he was in Chicago. Back in December, the Hockey News speculated that Bolland would be an excellent candidate to be removed from the books with 3 years still left on his deal. However, the average hit on the Cap should Florida choose to do this would be $1.833MM per year through the 2021-2022 season. While the Panthers have historically taken on large contracts to remain above the salary cap floor (Brian Campbell comes to mind immediately), this would be a steep price for six seasons of a nearly $2MM hit. One other caveat: Fox reports that Bolland failed a recent physical, which would disqualify his contract from being bought out per CBA rules.
- Jared Cowen: The Maple Leafs are in the midst of an epic purge, and already dealt most of the bad contracts from the previous regime. Cowen’s was acquired in the Dion Phaneuf trade, and as Fox notes, general manager Lou Lamoriello already indicated that Cowen would be bought out. TSN (as well as mentioned in Fox’s article) also writes that the Leafs would get a credit for buying the contract out. Mark this one down as a guarantee.