First Buyout Window Closed, Who Was Bought Out?

The first buyout window of the 2023 NHL offseason has come to a close on June 30th. Teams were either shopping these contracts or preparing to buy the players out before the deadline. With free agency being in full swing and the bought-out players finding a new home, let’s dive into each player’s former contract and then new contract.

Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene was heading into year five of his seven-year contract worth $8 million annually with the Nashville Predators. New Predators general manager Barry Trotz started to clean house and it was clear that if the player didn’t fit his vision, they were going to be traded, or in Duchene’s case, bought out from their contracts. Duchene was due to be paid $20 million over three years, $6 million in signing bonuses and $14 million in salary. Duchene would have had a modified no-trade clause where he submits a seven-team no-trade list, however, the buyout occurred. See below for buyout details.

The Nashville Predators will have the Matt Duchene buyout on the books for six years total with a value of $9,333,333 total, the cost is $1,555,556 for each season, the breakdown per season is below.

2023-24 cap hit: $2,555,556
2024-25 cap hit: $5,555,556
2025-26 cap hit: $6,555,556
The final three years carry the same cap hit: $1,555,556

Duchene is coming off his two best seasons in Nashville, in the 2021-22 season, he scored 43 goals and assists for 86 points in 78 games. In Duchene’s 2022-23 season, he scored 22 goals and 34 assists for 56 points in 71 games.

Duchene has played a career 976 games for the Colorado Avalanche, Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Nashville Predators. Throughout his 976 games, Duchene has scored 316 goals and 428 assists for 744 points. Duchene’s career plus/minus is a minus 92 and he has 266 career penalty minutes.

Where did Matt Duchene sign in Free Agency?

Matt Duchene signed a one-year contract worth $3 million total with the Dallas Stars. Duchene, 32, looks to earn a new contract with his one-year stop with the Stars.

Related: Matt Duchene Signs With Dallas Stars

Duchene was selected third overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, since his NHL debut in the 2009-10 season, he’s played in 14 seasons. He will play in his 15th NHL season as he looks to hit 1000 career games this season.

Blake Wheeler

Blake Wheeler was heading into the final year of his five-year contract worth $8.25 million annually with the Winnipeg Jets. Longtime Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was looking to trade Blake Wheeler, but the five-team trade list made it incredibly difficult for Cheveldayoff to move Wheeler. The Jets were forced to then buy out Wheeler’s contract as they look to have a new identity on the ice and in the locker room.

The former six-year captain of the Jets was bought out on June 30th and the buyout is structured in a far simpler way. The total value of the buyout is $5.5 million and will cost the Jets and carry a cap hit of $2.75 million for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons.

Unlike Matt Duchene, Wheeler’s number has taken a small step back, but he’s always been close to a point per game while wearing a Jets jersey. In Wheeler’s 2022-23 season, he scored 16 goals and 39 assists for 55 points in 72 games.

Wheeler, who will be 37 when the season starts, has played 1118 career games between the Boston Bruins, Atlanta Thrashers, and then the Winnipeg Jets after Atlanta’s relocation. Wheeler has scored 312 goals and 610 assists for 922 points total. Wheeler also has a career plus/minus of plus 65 and 741 total penalty minutes.

Where did Blake Wheeler sign in Free Agency?

Blake Wheeler would sign a one-year contract with the New York Rangers worth $1.1 million total, however, Wheeler’s contract only carries a cap hit of $800,000 as the other $300,000 is performance bonuses. Wheeler has played in 16 NHL seasons and will suit up for an original six franchise in his 17th NHL season.

Although Wheeler was drafted fifth overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, he never suited up for the Coyotes. Wheeler opted to play his entire college tenure and get his degree before becoming an NHL player.

Mike Reilly

Mike Reilly was heading into the final year of his three-year contract worth $3 million annually with the Boston Bruins. However, the Bruins looked at their lack of cap space and Reilly’s performance and elected to buy him out of his contract. Reilly was due $4 million in salary for the 2023-24 season, however, Boston bought his contract out.

The buyout is a simple structure, two years in length and with a total value of $2,666,667. In the 2023-24 season, the cost is $1,333,334 with a cap hit of $333,334, the 2024-25 season carries a cost and cap hit of $1,333,334.

Mike Reilly has played in 339 career games between the Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, and Boston Bruins. Reilly has scored 12 goals and 86 assists for 98 points total. Reilly’s career plus/minus is a minus ten and he has 132 career penalty minutes. Reilly split his 2022-23 season with the Boston Bruins (ten games, one assist/point total) and the Providence Bruins (36 games, seven games, 19 assists, 26 points, plus three, 34 penalty minutes).

Where did Mike Reilly sign in Free Agency?

Mike Reilly and the Florida Panthers agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $1 million annually. The 2023 Stanley Cup Finalists were looking to find an experienced defenseman both for their top defensive pairings and in their depth pieces. Mike Reilly will likely be a sixth or seventh defenseman in the Panthers’ current lineup.

Drafted in the fourth round at 98th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Reilly would make his NHL debut in the 2015-16 season with the Minnesota Wild and since then, he’s played in eight NHL seasons and his tenure in Florida will be his ninth NHL season.

Kailer Yamamoto

Kailer Yamamoto was in the final year of his two-year contract worth $3.1 million annually. Yamamoto was set to be paid $3.2 million in salary this season with the Edmonton Oilers, however, Edmonton would trade him to the Detroit Red Wings alongside Klim Kostin to free up cap space.

Another simple and easily structured buyout for two years is Detroit’s buyout of Yamamoto’s contract. Valued at a total of $1,066,667, the cost is $533,334 and carries a cap hit of $433,334 in the 2023-24 season, the cost and cap hit is $533,334 in the 2024-25 season.

Yamamoto has played in 244 career games exclusively for the Edmonton Oilers. Yamamoto has scored 50 goals and 68 assists for 118 points during his career. He also has a career plus/minus of plus 29, Yamamoto has accumulated 106 penalty minutes. In Yamamoto’s 2022-23 season, he played 58 games where he scored ten goals and 15 assists for 25 points. Yamamoto was a plus 12 and had 24 penalty minutes.

Where did Kailer Yamamoto sign in Free Agency?

Kailer Yamamoto and the Seattle Kraken agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million annually. Yamamoto will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights when his contract expires at the end of the 2023-24 season. Yamamoto will look to liven up his career in Seattle and become a cornerstone piece for the Kraken.

Drafted 22nd overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. Yamamoto would make his NHL debut in the 2017-18 season with the Oilers. Since his debut, Yamamoto has played in six seasons and will play his seventh in Seattle.

Who else was bought out before June 30th?

The Arizona Coyotes bought out Zack Kassian and Patrik Nemeth on June 20th, ten days before the first buyout window closed. Kassian’s buyout is valued at $1,533,333 total with a cost of $766,667 for two seasons, the cap hit is $1,666,667 for 2023-24 and $766,667 for 2024-25. Nemeth’s buyout is valued at $2,333,333 total with a cost of $1,166,667 for two seasons, the cap hit is $116,667 for 2023-24 and $1,166,667 for 2024-25.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson was bought out of his contract on June 16th, the day the buyout window opened. However, since Arizona retained some salary on Ekman-Larsson’s contract, they are hit with 20% of Ekman-Larsson’s buyout value. The 20% value hit is the same amount that they retained salary in the original trade. Arizona will lose a retained salary slot and be hit with a payout of $2.32 million over eight years. The cost of the buyout will be $290,000 for eight years and the cap hit will be the same as the cost for the final four years of the buyout length. The cap hit is $20,000 in 2023-24, $320,000 in 2024-25, and $650,000 in 2025-26 and 2026-27.

For the Vancouver Canucks, they are on the hook for $17,013,333 total, they will pay Ekman-Larsson $2,126,667 for eight years. The cap hit is the same as the amount that Vancouver is paying Ekman-Larsson in the final four years of the buyout. The cap hit is $146,667 in 2023-24, $2,346,667 in 2024-25, and $4,766,667 in 2025-26 and 2026-27. Ekman-Larsson would agree to terms on a one-year contract worth $2.25 million annually with the Florida Panthers.

Josh Bailey was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks and then bought out on June 29th. Bailey’s buyout will span two years valued at a total of $2,333,333. The cost for the buyout is $1,166,667 in both years and the cap hit is the same as the cost in 2024-25. The Blackhawks will be hit with a $2,666,667 cap hit for the 2023-24 season.

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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