With Evander Kane’s extension on the book now, the San Jose Sharks salary cap is much more constrained than it was a year ago. Now, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports there is a “strong possibility” the Sharks plan on easing their salary cap by buying out defenseman Paul Martin next week when the window opens on June 15th. A buyout would save the team approximately $2.8MM in cap space for next season.
The Sharks signed Martin to a four-year, $19.4MM contract back in 2015 to provide a veteran presence to their veteran team. Unfortunately after two solid seasons, Martin really struggled this year. The 37-year-old started the season playing two games, but he never recovered from an ankle injury from the offseason, prompting to miss the next two months of the season. When he returned in December, he found that his position had been taken by Joakim Ryan and the veteran was finally waived in January. He played with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda for 18 games before returning to his usual spot alongside Brent Burns. However, he was too slow which showed during the playoffs against the Vegas Golden Knights. He was responsible for the Golden Knights Game 3 game-winning overtime goal and lost his job for the rest of the series to Ryan again.
With a buyout, instead of taking Martin’s entire $4.85MM cap hit this year, the team would instead take a 2.02MM cap hit this year and a $1.42MM cap hit in 2019-20, which would save the team close to $2.8MM for next season. With Kane on the books for $7MM AAV for the next seven years and several restricted (Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney) and unrestricted free agents (Joe Thornton, Eric Fehr, Joel Ward) they must deal with this offseason, as well as the potential extensions available to the Sharks for Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, the team needs to free up as much cap as possible.