In a surprising move, the Anaheim Ducks have placed Simon Despres on waivers in order to buy out his contract. Despres had four seasons remaining on his current contract, meaning the buyout cap-hit will be as follows:
- 2017-18: $1.26MM
- 2018-19: -$338K
- 2019-20: -$338K
- 2020-21: $963K
- 2021-22: $663K
- 2022-23: $663K
- 2023-24: $663K
- 2024-25: $663K
Interestingly, completing the buyout now when Despres is only 25 means that the team only has to pay out 1/3 of the remaining salary, and because that needs to be spread over eight years they will actually receive a cap credit in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Had they waited any longer, Despres would have turned 26 (July 27th) and the team would have had to pay twice as much in terms of salary.
Despres missed all but one game last season for the Ducks, but began skating with the team late in the year and now must have been officially cleared in order for the team to buy him out. The defenseman has dealt with concussion problems for quite some time, but could try to and come back somewhere around the league. Once a first-round pick that showed big potential as a two-way horse, if he wants (and is able to) play again he’ll have to rebuild his value.
This move is almost certainly linked to a possible Cam Fowler extension, as the team moves money out in order to hand out a long-term contract to their star defenseman. Despres was set to go unprotected in the expansion draft anyway, meaning this has little to do with that situation. The Ducks, who were right up against the cap already will save almost $2.5MM this season and more than $4MM each of the next two, room enough to help them fit in Fowler or any free agent they deem worthy.