Let the buyouts begin
June 15 is the beginning of the NHL's buyout period, which runs for 16 days leading up to the July 1 free agency period. The time frame allows teams to shed salary in time to buy other talent and for players who are bought out to enter the unrestricted free agent pool.
Expected to be bought out is Senators netminder Ray Emery. Glen Murray in Boston, Alexei Zhitnik in Atlanta, Kyle Calder in Los Angeles and a host of Maple Leafs (led by Darcy Tucker and Andrew Raycroft) are also possibilities.
As Spector noted last week, "the increase of the salary cap to an anticipated $56 million could see teams more receptive to buying out contracts."
Murray's a good case study, one that The Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont looks into in some depth today. If they keep him on the roster at more than $4-million, the Bruins will have approximately $5-million to work with in free agency. If he's bought out, that jumps to close to $8-million, which would be enough to bid for any of the top UFAs available.
Many GMs with similar dead weight on their rosters have had considerable time to mull the buyout option, and it's likely we see these decisions made early in the process.
After June 30, buyouts can be made within two days after arbitration decisions, allowing teams to fit a new contract onto their roster by eliminating someone else.
I broke down how buyouts work in terms of calculating a cap hit last summer.