It’s buyout season in the NHL.
Beginning on Friday, teams will have two weeks to decide if they want to rid themselves of an undesirable contract.
Before you ask, no, Loui Eriksson is not on this list. Despite being a healthy scratch in the playoffs with a contract that carries a $6 million cap hit, he’s essentially buyout proof because so much of his salary is tied up in salary bonuses. Teams can only buy out players of base salary, and Eriksson will receive $3 million of the $4 million owed to him next year in the form of a signing bonus.
Teams are permitted to buy out one player per year during the buyout window (September 25 to October 8) at two-thirds of the remaining contract value for players 26 or older.
Buying out players is costly, but it provides valuable cap savings, which the Canucks are in desperate need of to retain as many players as possible. GM Jim Benning has already gone on record as saying the Canucks are looking to “move money out,” and a buyout certainly would help accomplish that.
Here’s a look at the best buyout candidates on the Canucks this year, with the help of CapFriendly’s handy buyout calculator.
1. Sven Baertschi
Contract: One year left, $3.367 million cap hit
The Canucks gave up on Sven Baertschi last season, sending the 27-year-old Swiss winger to the AHL for the bulk of the year. He’s owed $2.4 million in real dollars next season, the last year of a contract that carries a $3.367 million cap hit.
Given that he’s cleared waivers multiple times, it’s unlikely that anyone would take Baertschi in a trade without some serious sweeteners added in.
Buying out Baertschi would lower his cap hit to $1.767 million in 2020-21 but add $800,000 on the Canucks’ cap in 2021-22.
2. Jay Beagle
Contract: Two years left, $3 million cap hit
Jay Beagle has two years left on his contract, paying him $2.2 million per season in real dollars, but carrying a $3 million cap hit. A total of $1 million is due to him in the form of signing bonus money in 2021-22.
The team’s fourth-line centre and a go-to penalty killer, Beagle provides value, but he also turns 35 next month.
Buying out Beagle would lower his cap hit to $1.367 million next season, but he’d still count $2.367 against the cap in 2021-22, not to mention $566,667 in 2022-23 and 2023-24.
3. Brandon Sutter
Contract: One year left, $4.375 million cap hit
Given he’s owed $4.5 million, with $1 million in the form of signing bonus money, the Canucks could save more than $2 million off their cap next season by buying out Brandon Sutter.
Sutter never turned into the “foundation player” Benning thought he was going to be when he signed him to a five-year contract in 2015, but he might still have trade value.
There’s a lot of miles on Sutter’s body, making him a buyout candidate if he can’t be traded.
4. Jordie Benn
Contract: One year left, $2 million cap hit
After signing as an unrestricted free agent last year, Jordie Benn was a disappointment in his first season with the Canucks, spending more time in the press box than on the ice in the second half.
Benn’s $2 million cap hit could be cut in half next season if he’s bought out. Then again, the Canucks might be able to trade him or gamble that he’ll have a bounce-back year.