Each year, there’s always a big buyout or two that happens. This year, teams will most likely buy a player out, especially with the cap only going up by $1 million. On CapFriendly, they have a section on their website for popular buyouts. Five of the buyouts on the page are realistic and most likely will happen if the teams cannot move their contract at all. Let’s go through the five names that are listed.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is currently in the fifth year of his eight-year contract worth $8.25 million per season. The Arizona Coyotes traded Ekman-Larsson in the 2021 offseason in the third year of Ekman-Larsson’s deal. The Coyotes retained $990,000 (12% of OELs contract) in this deal and would be hit with 12% per year if Vancouver chose to buy Ekman-Larsson’s contract out.
Mikael Granlund is in the third year of his four-year contract, worth $5 million per season. While Granlund doesn’t have a terrible contract, he massively underperformed after former Penguins GM Ron Hextall completely blundered this trade deadline acquisition. Five points in 21 games were far below what the Penguins expected out of Granlund. The current interim GM of the Penguins, Kyle Dubas, will look to utilize every dollar of the cap space, and Granlund might be moved or bought out because of it.
If Toronto cannot move Matt Murray, they will certainly look to buy him out. After two abysmal seasons in Pittsburgh and then Ottawa, Murray seemed to find his footing in the 2021-22 season. Injuries would plague Murray, and he would then be traded to Toronto. Murray would get hit with the injury bug again, and Toronto has two NHL-ready goaltenders in Joseph Woll and Ilya Samsonov. Matt Murray is in the final year of his four-year deal worth $6.25 million annually. Ottawa, who retained 25% of Murray’s contract, would be hit with a 25% cap hit if Toronto bought Murray’s contract out.
Here’s a player who will most likely get bought out and then soar wherever he plays next. The Montreal Canadiens have a sticky cap situation, they will need to ditch bad salaries and also become more competitive in the long run. Hoffman signed a three-year contract with the Canadiens in the 2021 offseason, and he’s been a solid 30-point player since then. Hoffman is on the final year of his three-year contract worth $4.5 million annually.
Mike Reilly was acquired by the Boston Bruins from Ottawa in the 2020-21 season, he played 15 regular season games with the Bruins and posted zero goals and eight assists. This small sample size earned Reilly a three-year contract worth $3 million annually. Mike Reilly would take a step back in the 2021-22 season, and in the 2022-23 season, Mike Reilly would play mostly with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. This is a no-brainer buyout should Boston be unable to find a team to trade Mike Reilly too.
While it is unlikely that teams choose to not free up some cap space and buy a player out, it’s not out of the question. Teams who are significantly cap-strapped, like Vancouver, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Calgary, Vegas, Boston, and Edmonton, might consider a buyout this offseason.