NHL Buyouts 2014: Tracking Latest News, Amnesty Reports, Rumors on Top Players

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2014

Updates from Friday, June 27

The Arizona Coyotes have bought out Mike Ribeiro according to Chris Peters of CBS Sports:

The Arizona Coyotes announced they have bought out the remaining three years of forward Mike Ribeiro's contract. Since the veteran forward was signed last offseason under the new collective bargaining agreement, this is not like the compliance buyouts that have been all the rage this week. The Coyotes will retain a $1.944 million cap hit each season until 2019-20 according to CapGeek.com.

CSN's Kevin Kurz has an update from the Sharks camp:

Updates from Wednesday, June 25

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Tampa Bay Lightning are set to move forward with their second buyout: 

The Tampa Bay Lightning has initiated the compliance buyout process for veteran wing Ryan Malone, the Times has learned.

Tampa Bay had one more buyout available, having used one on former captain Vinny Lecavalier last summer. A buyout of Malone will save the Lightning a $4.5 million cap hit by spreading two-thirds of his $2.5 milllion salary ($1.67 million) evenly over two years.


Original Text

NHL teams have one last opportunity to get bad contracts off the books, as the compliance buyout window will remain open until June 30.

All 30 teams were given the option to make two such buyouts between last offseason and the current one. Although bought-out players will have to be paid, their cap hits will be eradicated from the salary caps of the teams that release them.

Several compliance buyouts have already been made, but there may be more to come before the deadline comes and goes. With teams posturing for this offseason and future ones, buyouts could prove to be valuable tools. For teams that decide against using one or both of their buyouts, they will no longer be on the table following June 30.

With that in mind, here is a closer look at the players who have been bought out and could potentially be bought out in the coming days.


Buyouts Used

The following players have been bought out, courtesy of Sportsnet's Luke Fox:

Compliance Buyouts Used
Ville LeinoFBuffalo Sabres
Jordin TootooFDetroit Red Wings
Aaron RomeDDallas Stars
Brad RichardsFNew York Rangers
David BoothFVancouver Canucks


Buyout Rumors

Ryan Malone

Perhaps no player who has yet to be bought out is more likely to get cut than Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ryan Malone. The 34-year-old power forward has been a productive player in the NHL, but his play has dropped off considerably in recent years.

With that in mind, Malone is very much in the mix for a buyout, according to Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times:

Malone is coming off the two worst seasons of his career with a combined 23 points in 81 games over the past two campaigns. Malone was once a perennial 20-goal scorer for the Bolts and Pittsburgh Penguins, but those days appear to be over.

In addition to ineffective play, injuries have hampered Malone. Per Smith, general manager Steve Yzerman is exploring a number of possible options relating to Malone:

Obviously, injuries he's had—some serious injuries over the past three, four years since I've been with the organization—have limited the number of games that he could play. It does take its toll on a player. We're taking everything into consideration for the offseason in improving our team, and we're looking at all different (options), whether it be the draft, free agency, trades, buyouts. We'll take it all into consideration.

Even more so than the injuries, though, are the concerns for Malone from an off-ice perspective. Malone was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and cocaine possession, but he has pleaded not guilty, according to Smith.

While Malone is obviously entitled to a fair trial and everything that goes along with it, the fact that he is involved in such a serious matter might make it that much easier for the Lightning to buy him out. His failure to produce on the ice is bad enough, but Tampa doesn't need any extra distractions.

Because of that, the Lightning have every reason to buy out the final season of Malone's contract at a cap hit of $4.5 million, per NHLNumbers.com.


Martin Havlat

San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat was once a dynamic winger capable of scoring between 25 and 30 goals per season. It has been three seasons since Havlat approached those kinds of numbers, though, and that makes him an obvious option to be bought out by the Sharks.

With a $5 million cap hit remaining on Havlat's contract for the upcoming season, per NHLNumbers.com, it would make sense for the Sharks to dump him so they can afford to bring in a free agent who could potentially help with a Stanley Cup run.

In addition to not being overly productive, Havlat has missed 85 games over the past three seasons. He still has plenty of talent at 33 years of age, so it is possible that a team would be willing to take a chance on him. San Jose is banking on that, as it is exploring trade options rather than buying him out straight away, according to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period:

If nothing comes of the trade negotiations, however, a buyout is essentially guaranteed, per Ross McKeon of the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Sharks have a lot of talent up front in the form of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, among others. Havlat simply hasn't meshed with that group and needs a change of scenery.

San Jose needs to add pieces in order to get over the hump, and buying out Havlat will help in that regard.


Anton Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador

The New Jersey Devils have no shortage of options in terms of potential buyout candidates, with defensemen Anton Volchenkov and Bryce Salvador leading the charge. With Volchenkov signed for two more seasons and Salvador signed for the upcoming campaign, the Devils could potentially wipe a lot of salary off the books.

For as much sense as it would make for New Jersey to make a move, Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger is reporting that New Jersey is leaning against using its remaining compliance buyout on one of the high-priced blueliners or anyone else:

That doesn't mean the Devils won't change their minds, but the current indication is that they are willing to let their final buyout go by the wayside. That may prove to be a mistake since a buyout would give the Devils some cap relief and the ability to make more moves in free agency; however, Volchenkov and Salvador are steady veterans.

It is possible that the organization is comfortable with both of them in front of goalie Cory Schneider, which is significant since Schneider figures to be the full-time starter in 2014-15. It will be interesting to see if the Devils have second thoughts as free agency approaches, though.


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