The man pictured above is Scott Gomez, a forward for the Montreal Canadiens. You can be forgiven if you didn't know that the former Calder Trophy winner was still in the NHL, after all he did only pot two goals during the 2011-12 NHL campaign, a season during which he pocketed a cool $7.5 million. Granted he did miss all but 38 games due to injury, but still, two goals? In case you think those two goals were an aberration, keep in mind during the 2010-11 season, when Gomez was paid $8 million he had seven goals and 31 assists in 80 games, the same number of points that his teammate, defenseman P.K. Subban was paid $875,000 for scoring.
So, there you have it, Scott Gomez is the poster boy for the reason NHL teams are hoping there is some type of buyout clause in the next NHL CBA.
There are arguments for and against the buyout clause. Some say that the teams that signed these players to these crazy contracts (in Gomez's case that contract was for seven years and $51 million) should be stuck with them. Others say that the buyout clause would allow the team to reset and get out from under the deals that may be hurting them financially. I'm not here to take sides on that issue, let the NHL and NHLPA hammer that one out across the negotiating table.
I am here to point out the fact that there are several teams that are hoping the buyout clause is included in the next CBA, and here they are...
I know I covered Gomez a bit in the introduction slide, but he demands a little more attention. While the Canadiens are the team that is on the hook for Gomez's contract they are not the team that signed him to the ridiculous deal, that was the NY Rangers.
Following the 2009 season the Rangers were looking to dump Gomez's contract after just two seasons and they found a willing partner in the Canadiens. The Canadiens are never going to be as lucky as the Rangers were, no one will take on the final two seasons of Gomez's deal even if they are the lowest paying seasons of the deal at $5.5 and $4.5 million.
You just know that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is praying that he can unload this contract.
Rick DiPietro is under contract with the NY Islanders until the end of the 2021 season. The Islanders goaltender signed a 15 year deal before the start of the 2007 season. That deal was for $67.5 million.
Since putting pen to paper DiPietro has played a total of 172 games for the Islanders. That's 172 of a possible 492.
Injuries have cursed the goaltender, last year he played in only eight games. There is no one that will be willing to take on DiPietro's contract at this point and the only hope the Islanders have of getting this one off the books is a buyout clause in the upcoming CBA.
One upon a time, Tomas Kaberle was a hot commodity. During the 2010 season there was even talk that that Philadelphia Flyers could pick up Kaberle in exchange for Simon Gagne and Braydon Coburn. Read that again, that's not Gagne or Coburn, that's Gagne and Coburn, stunning.
In the end that trade was never made, and instead Kaberle was shipped to the Bruins for Joe Colborne, a first round pick and a conditional draft pick. Kaberle was on the Bruins' Cup-winning team for the 2011 season, but the team didn't keep him past that season and he signed a three-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes worth $12.75 million.
The Hurricanes quickly realized they had made a mistake and unloaded Kaberle on the Montreal Canadiens after just 29 games.
Once in Montreal, Kaberle put up 22 points in 43 games.
Kaberle is due $4.25 million in each of the next two years—money that could be much better spent elsewhere.
In the summer of 2008 Shawn Horcoff signed a sweet deal with the Edmonton Oilers, six years for $33 million. The problem with the deal is that Horcoff has been a disappointment since putting his name on that contract, delivering seasons of 36, 27 and 34 points. The 27 point season was abbreviated due to injury, but the other two, he played in 77 games and 81 games in those seasons. Those numbers are a far cry from the 50 points in 53 games season he had before he signed the deal.
Three years remain on Horcoff's deal and the Oilers would most likely welcome the chance to get out from under the $5.5 million cap hit those years carry.
Keith Ballard is signed with the Vancouver Canucks through the 2015 season, carrying a cap hit of $4.2 million for each season remaining on that deal.
The Canucks did not sign Ballard to that deal; his previous team, the Florida Panthers, did, but they must have sensed something in Ballard's play since they dealt him to the Canucks at the 2010 draft after he had put up 28 points for the Panthers.
Since arriving in Vancouver, Ballard has been hampered by injury and poor play. In the 112 games he has played for the Canucks, he has put up 14 points, while steadily falling down the team's depth chart.
James Wisniewski was one of the prize signings the Columbus Blue Jackets made last summer, inking a six-year deal worth $33 million. The other prize the Blue Jackets obtained last summer, Jeff Carter, was shipped off to the LA Kings during the season. Carter and Wisniewski were brought in to help Rick Nash and the rest of the club make a push toward respectability. Instead, the team finished last in the NHL with 65 points.
Nash and Carter are both gone and Wisniewski, with his long deal and his $5.5 million cap hit, is still there to remind the team of the mistakes they made.
The Blue Jackets are in a rebuilding stage and if they had their way, I'm sure they would use that $5.5 million on more than one player.
When it was announced that Ilya Bryzgalov had signed a nine-year deal with the Philadelphia Flyers many fans were left puzzled. When those same fans saw that the contract was worth $51 million many were flabbergasted.
The team could have signed Bryzgalov for the NHL minimum and many would have said they lost out in this contract. A goaltender lasting nine years in Philly? C'mon, what are the odds of that happening?
What do we remember from Bryzgalov in his first season with the Flyers? His interviews and his spotty play and while he was entertaining to listen to, I doubt team owner Ed Snider wanted a comedian in net for what he is paying Bryzgalov.
I would not be at all surprised to see the Flyers buy out Bryzgalov if they had the chance through an amnesty clause. The team can admit their mistakes and a buyout is the only way they will rid themselves of this one.
When Vincent Lecavalier signed his 11-year, $85 million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning he was the toast of the NHL. Today, he's not even close to being the top player on his own Lightning hockey club.
Since 2007 his numbers have been in perpetual decline. Lecavalier scored 108 points that season, last year he closed out the year with 49, putting up three less points than he had goals in 2007.
The odds of the Lightning finding a trade partner are slim, you'll be hard pressed to find a club willing to take on the $10 million Lecavalier is due in each of the next four years. After those seasons the numbers drop, but the reality is the Lightning need to get out from under this contract and a buyout is the only way that is going to be feasible.