The Canucks are parting ways with Ryan Spooner. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that Vancouver has placed the forward on unconditional waivers for the purposes of buying out the final year of his contract.
2018-19 represented a remarkable fall from grace for the 27-year-old. One season earlier, he had an impressive 41 points in 59 games between the Bruins and the Rangers and he looked as if he could be a useful secondary scorer in New York. The team certainly felt the same way, handing him a two-year, $8MM contract last summer.
However, things did not go anywhere near as well for Spooner this past season. He struggled in the early going with the Rangers and was flipped with $900K of salary retention to Edmonton for Ryan Strome. The move worked out a lot better for the Rangers than it did for the Oilers.
Spooner picked up just two goals and an assist in 25 games with Edmonton before he was ultimately waived and sent to the minors. Shortly after that, he was flipped in a swap of bad contracts to the Canucks with Sam Gagner going back to the Oilers. Unfortunately for Vancouver, the struggles continued as he had just four assists in 11 games. Overall, he wound up with only three goals and six helpers over 52 NHL games between the three teams, hardly the type of production befitting that type of contract.
As a result of the Rangers holding onto part of Spooner’s contract, they’re also affected by this move. The buyout cost per team is as follows:
With the buyout, Vancouver will save a little under $2MM for next season which will help offset the salary recapture penalty that hit their books following the retirement of Roberto Luongo but will take on the extra charge for 2020-21. Meanwhile, the Rangers will save $600K for the upcoming season with the extra $300K on the books for the following season.
Meanwhile, Spooner will enter a UFA market where he will now find himself battling for a depth spot in a lineup. While his 2018-19 performance wasn’t strong, there should still be a few teams thinking that there could still be a bit of upside and that in the right spot, he could be a decent producer from the bottom six. At any rate, his next contract will be a fraction of the one he is being bought out of.