While St. Louis’ 2-1 win over San Jose on Friday night to tie the Western Conference Final was significant in itself, it also played a role in locking in a key day on the offseason calendar. The schedule for the Stanley Cup Final has been set which means the buyout window is now locked in as well. The window opens up on the later of June 15th or 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. The latter can end no later than June 14th which means that teams will have to wait until the 15th to begin the process of buying out players.
As a refresher on the rules, players must pass through unconditional waivers in order to be bought out unless they have a no-move clause. In those instances, the player can simply block the waiver placement and accept the buyout. Injured players cannot be bought out. The standard cost to buy a player out is paying two-thirds of his remaining salary (excluding signing bonuses which are 100% payable) over two times the remaining term on the contract. That applies for anyone 26 and over. If a team wants to buy out someone younger than that (a rarer occurrence), the cost drops to one-third of the remaining salary.
With several teams facing difficult salary cap situations for next season, it’s likely we’ll see some activity on this front before the window closes on June 30th. Teams can acquire and then immediately buy out a player as Colorado and Montreal did last summer with Brooks Orpik and Steve Mason respectively. It wouldn’t be surprising if there are more moves like that this offseason as teams with extra payroll room look to leverage their cap space and buy out a player while taking on additional assets from other teams.