Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The buyout brigade

The list of NHLers who have been or are expected to be bought out (or released) is rising by the day: Darcy Tucker, Kyle Wellwood and Andrew Raycroft from Toronto; Ray Emery from Ottawa; Jeff Hamilton and David Tanabe from Carolina; Marc Denis from Tampa Bay; Ben Clymer from Washington; and poor ol' Dan Cloutier out in Los Angeles.

And more are likely on their way.

Being put into hockey's unwanted bin isn't always a career killer, but in some of these cases, it's likely to be. Tucker and Wellwood will catch on with other NHL teams, and I imagine so will Emery given his recent trip to the finals and his relative youth.

Greg Wyshynski seems to think Raycroft will find a home, but given the dearth of available netminding jobs, that strikes me as incredibly unlikely. He hasn't been a decent starter since his Calder Trophy season, a span of four years in which he's posted NHL save percentages of .879, .894 and .876.

It's frankly amazing he lasted as long as he did. (And the chances of him going to Ottawa are nil.)

No, for he, and the likes of Denis and Cloutier, it's probably a pretty long road back into the NHL. Goaltending's always been a funny position in that even some of the brightest lights can go out quickly and without warning, and sometimes when puckstoppers lose it, it's gone.

Cloutier's contesting the buyout on medical grounds, but either way it's incredibly unlikely he sees NHL action.

At 28, Raycroft's older than you'd think given the number of years on his career, while Denis will turn 31 come August. It's a big drop to the buses of the AHL, but where else can these two catch on? There are very few openings given the deemphasis on backups under the salary cap, and the fact the Red Wings won the Cup with an $800,000 netminder isn't going to do wonders for the market.

Colorado and Washington are ironing out their starting situations, and teams like Buffalo, Vancouver, San Jose and Dallas need cheap backups.

Those are the openings, and I suggest the availables jump at them given there are quality options in free agency (Ty Conklin, Olaf Kolzig, Alex Auld, etc.) and supply far outstrips demand.

Beggars can't be choosers.



At 3:13 a.m., June 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a maximum number of contracts a team can buy out in a given season?

At 3:18 a.m., June 25, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

No. It's complicated, but during the buyout period, teams can buyout as they wish.

These are called "ordinary course buyouts." Compliance buyouts are limited in number and occur outside of the June 15-30 period.

At 10:40 a.m., June 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know this has been covered millions of times... but what happens when these guys sign elsewhere? does the team that originally bought the player out still get stuck with the cap hit?

At 11:19 a.m., June 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raycroft can forget playing in Finland, too. During the lock-out he basically stunk with Tappara, Tampere.

Marc Denis has been so lucky he can retire like 649 winner. All those years with bad Columbus team he was under no pressure to stop anything.

He was always bad. He was one of those hyped Quebec goalies. New Roy! New Brodeur! Nope.

Denis, Fichaud, Thiebault...

With Cloutier and Emery you have to say that fighting skill is overrated among goalies.

At 12:48 p.m., June 25, 2008, Anonymous Mike said...

Keep an eye on that David Tanabe buyout. The CBA prevents buyouts of injured players, and Tanabe has been suffering from "concussion-like" symptoms since mid-December. The Canes plan to buy out his contract anyway, claiming he's healthy. It could get interesting.

At 12:55 p.m., June 25, 2008, Anonymous Karina said...

Well, Wellwood's been picked up by the Canucks already.

It'll be interesting to see him under Vigneault.

At 1:15 p.m., June 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The goaltenders are going to have a rocky road, but I look at Brian Boucher and Ty Conklin, both of whom managed to get back into the NHL by accepting jobs in the AHL and sticking with it.

Boucher isn't signed yet, but his agent is in negotiations to return to the Sharks next season. Kudos for him for the comeback, if he does.

At 1:28 p.m., June 25, 2008, Blogger RudyKelly said...

Ahh, Cloutier, you magnificent bastard. Can we all agree that he may be a little delusional about his playing career and maybe, just maybe, the Kings weren't at fault?

At 1:59 p.m., June 25, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kings were at fault. For giving a known sieve $4M a year before he'd played a single game in a Kings uni. Unless Cloutier put a gun to Dean Lombardi's head. Which I doubt happened.

At 6:53 p.m., June 25, 2008, Blogger Bruce said...

I wonder if Marc Crawford still believes in Cloutier now that he's cost the Crow two jobs?


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