NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2022

by | Jun 15, 2022 | Rumors | 42 comments

A look at some potential contract buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian and Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray topped Frank Seravalli’s list of this offseason’s potential contract buyout candidates. The first contract buyout window is from July 1 – 12.

Kassian has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.2 million. Murray also has two seasons remaining with a $6.25 million AAV.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Seravalli that Kassian could be bought out as he could prove difficult to move this summer via trade. The Senators, however, are reportedly willing to carry three goaltenders (including Murray) into next season.

That’s understandable given Murray’s cap hit. While the Sens have the cap space to absorb the two-thirds’ buyout for four seasons, that’s a long time to carry dead cap space, especially the $2.5 million per season over the final two years.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, St. Louis Blues rearguard Marco Scandella and Vancouver Canucks winger Jason Dickinson fill spots three, four and five on Seravalli’s list. Vlasic has four more years at $7 million AAV left on his contract, Scandella has two more seasons at $3.275 million annually, and Dickinson has two more with an AAV of $2.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vlasic’s buyout will sit on the Sharks’ books for eight years, with years three and four biting deeply into their cap space. Nevertheless, The Athletic’s Corey Masisak said in a recent mailbag segment that he considered a Vlasic buyout more likely than trading a blueliner like Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson. As Seravalli observed, carrying the full $7 million of the fading Vlasic’s contract for four more years would be worse than the buyout cost.

I see Scandella and Dickinson as buyout candidates if their respective teams can’t find anyone to trade their contracts off their hands in the trade market.

Nashville Predators defenseman Philippe Myers, Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker are six, seven and eight respectively on the list. Myers has a year remaining on his deal with an AAV of $2.55 million. Johnson has two more seasons at $5 million annually remaining while Zucker has a year left at $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers appears a likely buyout candidate. As Seravalli points out, the blueliner is 25 so his buyout is one-third the remaining value instead of two-thirds. Because his contract is also backloaded, the Predators would get a cap credit of over $616K for this season and be charged only $633K the following season. Seravalli suggests that could make Myers’s contract enticing in the trade market for cap-strapped clubs.

I think the rebuilding Blackhawks can afford to carry Johnson’s contract for at least one more season. The Penguins could also ride out the remaining year of Zucker’s deal if they can fit new contracts for Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin into their current cap space. They could also retain up to half his cap hit in a trade or attempt to move him for another player with a comparable contract.

New York Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth and Boston Bruins winger Nick Foligno round out the top 10. Nemeth has two more years left with an AAV of $2.5 million while Foligno has one season remaining at $3.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could attempt to trade Nemeth but the way his contract is structured could make a buyout likely. The cap hit is $1 million for each season except for the second year, where they won’t be charged anything. As for Foligno, Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins aren’t leaning that way.


  1. Re Oil. and Cap space needed:

    Per Puckpedia; if Duncan Keith were to retire after the 21-22 season:

    “Blackhawks would have a $5.5M cap hit in 22-23 & a $2M cap hit 23-24

    Oilers would lose his $5.5M actual cap hit in 22-23 & instead have a $3.4M negative cap hit (cap savings), for a swing of $8.9M”

    Note…. He’s owed $1.5 M for 22-23….

    Holland…. Have a “secret handshake” agreement with Keith…. Retire… we’ll hire you back 3 @ $0.3 M as an advisor

    The net after tax loss to Keith is about 250K to 260 K (see Gavin group)… for that; he moves to next phase of hid life; doesn’t have to put his 30 Yr old body through 6-8 months of gruelling work; and doesn’t have to travel anywhere near as often…. Worth it

    That move (per Puckpedia) ) … nets Oilers $8.9 M

    Do a similar “nudge nudge , wink wink” hand shake deal with Smith; another $2.2 M saved off Cap.

    Note: Smith 35+ contract CAN be bought out (not front loaded; no SB after Yr 1)…. If bought out….$1.7 M cap savings 22/23; dead Cap $0.8 M 23/24

    Yammo vs JP….

    Call Ron Francis….. offer up Yammo ; Ryan , Kassian, for Soucy

    Those moves have Oil with $19.9 M in space (plus if Klefboom still remains on LTIR…. another $4.2 M …. Total $24.1 M) to sign/re-sign)….

    8 Forwards including UFAs Kane and Archibald; RFAs McCleod & JP

    1 D…. Re-up Kulak??

    Starter and Back-up

    Promoting Skinner to back-up roll ; and promoting 2 Condors wingers (including Holoway) and signing two vet UFA forwards @ < $900 K each…. (Chaisson? Gagner? Caggulia? )

    Leaves $15.5 M + (that’s w/o Klefboom room) for:


    # 1 goalie (Husso? The Flower?) ;

    Kulak (or PK, or Miller, or DeHaan or Staal or Psyk etc.)



    Tight but feasible …. all starts with backroom handshake deals with Keith snd Smith

    *Note…. Instead of Kassian potentially gumming up the trade …. He could be bought out…. Saving $2.5 M Cap 22/23; $1.3M Cap in 23/24…. With dead Cap of just shy of $1M in each of 24/25 & 25/26

    • 🍁Pengy,
      Love your Oilers Story, I think the Oil should go after
      A starter in Net.
      1st, Villie Husso
      2nd Jack Cambell

      I dont think they should buy out Zack Kassian,
      The Oilers have to much in buy outs…❗️ $3.5M just for this year and 3 years at $2.M for james Neal…
      they should trade him, with a 5th or 6th pick Or keep him on the 4th line this year for team toughness

      Trading for Carson Sucey RD, from Seattle is a good idea as we need a 3rd paring d/man that big and has some sandpaper to his game

      Offencive d/men like Tyson Barrie will be in demand this UFA season im sure they can make a good deal for him and is $4.5 contract is very good

      • Hi Willie

        So very busy…. Late again to read respond; sorry

        Agree re Husso. I however disagree with nixing completely the idea of buying out Kassien. If Keith “retires” ($8.9 M cap freed up)…. Then Kassian buyout certainly not a priority. If Keith stays on… Oil have to make some tough decisions including buyouts

        No one ever has to sell me on Soucy…. My bromance has been going on for a while

    • Pengy..welcome back !!!

      Penguins latest offer to Letang was 4 years @ $7.25…which he has rejected…

      They gave him the 4 years term that he wants but I think he wants north of $ 8 million. He had a great year, but I wouldn’t go more than
      $8 million for only 3 years.
      Then that means you move on from Malkin which they should do anyway.

      While Malkin is still good, he isn’t elite, half his points were on the power play, his 5 on 5 stats were awful, he is streaky and inconsistent, and a bad defensive player.

      That $9.5 million will go along way towards younger free agents.

      Vincent Trocheck 28, is a better all around player at this point in Malkin’s career and you can get the Pittsburgh native for $5.5 or $ 6 million…then resign Rakell..

      • Malkin had almost as many points in half the games as trocheck.

      • Thanks BnG

        Term to me is not as important…. For sure Pens will have to be in rebuild in 2 years…. So bring down the Cap

        As long as they can get Tanger and Gino for $15.5 M combined or less…. All good….. right now…..~ $16.8 M

        Save $1.3 M above, Minimum; boot Zucker…. Cap eased quite a bit for other roster moves

        Marino absolutely can’t be moved if they don’t sign Tanger….. Freidman as 1RD…. WTF? Freidman is absolutely fine at 3RD….

        P-O J a must to come up

        Love to see Rakell and E-Rod back

        With Chrisms re Gino (@ $2M more) over Trochek

    • Excellent post Pengy.

      • Thanks Pete

    • “Holland…. Have a “secret handshake” agreement with Keith…. Retire… we’ll hire you back 3 @ $0.3 M as an advisor .”

      You mean, something along the lines of the Pierre McGuire hire in Ottawa?

      Holland gave Keith that contract … now live up to it.

      • Hi George

        Love the Maguire (turd) analogy

        Holland didn’t give Keith that contract; Bowman did

        Handshake agreements are common…. Cite all the players who have contracts signed minutes into UFA window…. They were all “ agreed” to before hand. I truly believe there are going to be some “informal” talks re Keith’s future with Oil over the next couple of weeks. Gut feeling…. He retires. Less confident re Smith

    • Don’t players make more money on LTIR than they would if they retire? Just wondering because I don’t remember any player eligible for LTIR retiring before their contracts are up…

      • Work out a deal with Arizona to buy him out. They get a 6M cap hit for 600k. That what needs to happen in desert for three more years at least

  2. I am not sure, but I believe there is a rule against hiring back a just retired player to prevent the exact scenario proposed.

    • Yeah, but Bettman approves it to punish the Hawks and gain public approval (in all but Chicago).

  3. There is a union involved . Also I really doubt all these nudge nudge wink wink deals happen in real life. I don’t think there is that much trust. Management changes mindset changes over multiple years .

    Kassian bought out is the most likely scenario. Take those monies and sign E Kane . He can play Kassian’s role on any given night . Trade Barrie and take those monies for a goalie Husso or Varlamov . M Smith won’t retire he will go on LTIR

  4. I agree Lyle – if Dorion is going to buy out any contract it’ll be that of Colin White

  5. i not a fan of the way buyouts are handled in terms of the long term cap penalties. to me, it hurts the players and the team way too much.

    for the players, if a team want to pay you the amount remaining on your contract [say the 13 million that Ottawa owes Murray] i say go right ahead. this only allows the player to go and sign another contract with another team and make even more money.

    i do realize with my system that the rich teams could buy their way out of bad contracts, so perhaps a team buying their way out of a contract should only be penalized on the cap for 1 year at full value.

    i am not sure i am conveying my thought very well, so here is a scenario:

    Let’s say Las Vegas signs . Johnny Gaudreau to a 10 year 100 million dollar contract.

    after 1 season, they realize he is bad and decide to buy him out of the 9 years remaining with 90 million on the contract.

    .Johnny Gaudreau gets his 90 million owed and becomes a free agent again and signs another contract with another team to make even more money.

    this also save gaudreau from being waived, or sent to the minors etc,

    The team is penalized for the following season for 1 year of 10 million on their cap, and after that – nothing. this way they are still handicapped by their mistake for the short term.

    let’s also be honest here, most buyouts are on players with 1 or 2 years remaining. so the cap hits are manageable.

    very few teams are willing to deal with big long term cap hits. Martin Jones, Zach Parise and Suter are the current biggest buyout offenders. and common – we all know minnesota is going to trade one or both of those contracts to rebuilding teams like arizona so it will never really affect them.

    here is a link to past buyouts https://www.capfriendly.com/buyout-history

    NHL GM’s should click that link as a cautionary tale and stop signing old UFA’s in the summer

  6. Colin White is WILDLY popular in the room. In fact I’ve heard talk that he was in the captain discussion amongst the players. Seems it’s mostly fans, the coach and the GM that don’t like this guy. Trade him to Boston and which he become Bergeron Light.

    Seravelli appears to be taking some things here and spinning them to be like…”what a GM would never do so surely it will happen!”.

    The Matt Murray buy out…or even more ludicrous a trade/retain with the Leafs had me actually laugh out loud.

    Vlassic has a full no move. But maybe you could entice him with a trade. I think he still has value. Burns and Karl aren’t going anywhere….and I wouldn’t pull a Minnesota move just yet if I was in San Jose.

    • The only problem with White, Dark G, is that $4,750,000 cap hit for 3 more years for a 3rd/4th line winger.

      All this talk about acquiring a Top 6 RW and a top 4 D – should they be giving him a chance at RW on the line with Stutzle? Why not give it a go right out of the gate?

      • I agree. In fact I was yelling it all last year. The coach HATES HIM. I can’t fathom why. He has hands when placed with good people. He’s defensively responsible.

        Actually I do know why the coach hates him. Because he’s not a big/rough/tumble/smashmouth hockey type. And when he tried to be he blew his shoulder out. Like a couple others on this team. The coach has to go. The GM too.

        At first I was like…I’m not paying again until Melnyk is gone. And I mostly stuck to that. Now PD has to seek life elsewhere too. Someone should live stream fan reaction to the “boneheadery” that’s going to occur with that 7 pick.

        My personal prediction is he makes the pick. At least I hope that’s what he does. He’s such a terrible pro evaluator……if Minny ends up with the 7th + + for Fiala….I’ll chew my foot off.

      • LOL. I hear you. Fiala … if that deal ever went down … could just as easily become Jonathan CheeChoo part deux.

        By all means, if they’re not going to deal Colin White then put him at RW on a line with Stutzle centering him and Formenton. Then use the 7th pick and a good D prospect like Bernard-Docker or Thompson to go after a top 4 D-man with term on one of those cap-strapped teams who absolutely have to clear space.

      • I agree that White isn’t a bad contract if they give him a chance to succeed. They seem to want him to fail so they can get rid of him. Look up Jim Pappin for a player the coach hated who succeeded when he got out of town.

  7. I wonder what the damage would be if Scooby Dubas bought out Johnny its not about the money Tavares’s contract.

    Not tradeable, and no viable return on their investment.

    Wow, per Cap Friendly (if Im reading it correctly) a buyout of Tavares only nets $900,000.00 in cap space per year.

    Good thing Dubas made the majority of the deal signing bonuses. Leafs cant even free up money with a buyout of an 11 million dollar contract.

    Welcome to the Scooby Dubas School of Cap Management.

  8. I understand that if you keep a player in either the NHL or AHL you still have to pay him. Nonetheless, isn’t an option to send NHLers whose contracts compromise cap space to the AHL? I just don’t seem to recall it being done.

    • Perhaps Chris Wagner, and his 1.35 million dollar salary fits into what you’re looking for?

      • I’d keep Wagner. Before I’d ever keep that stiff Foligno what waste of time and space when they signed Foligno I said it loud and clear “ Matt Belesky here we come right back where we started from,” Forbort another stiff.

      • Your unbridled passion and exuberance never ceases to amaze me. Positive thoughts, Rick. Positive thoughts.

        Hello, Bedard!?

    • Hi LJ

      All players with 1 way contracts who do NOT have a NMC (no movement clause), can be sent to AHL

      They first have to clear waivers

      If they clear… they are expected to show up for the AHL club

      If they show up…. They maintain their NHL Sal

      For the above… if the player’sCap is $1.08 M or less…. The proportion of Cap (for time spent in AHL) is removed from NHL Cap hit

      Making over $1.08 M…. The first $1.08 M is “buried” Cap, the balance stays as a hit against club

      The kicker… sending them down may save$1.08 M, but usually a player comes in (from AHL) to get roster back up to 23…. League min is $700 K (soon to be $750 K)…. so if you send a player down and bring another in…. Max savings is 308 K ($1.08 M – $0.7 M)

      Not done often… but if a player is just not producing/ playing at $1.08 M level…. Might as well bring in a younger AHLer ready for promotion… and likely at their EL contract level (max at $925 K)

      2-way contracts…. They get paid their AHL contract rate when down in the minors

      ELC… if their sent down…. AHL rate written in contract…. For instance, if Jackets send Sillinger down (not happening ) he only gets $80 K (per Capfreindly) annual rate :


  9. Ok the idea of buyouts are terrible! I don’t quite understand the lure of it. I get it, you relieve your team of an anchor of a contract and open a roster spot, but… you now effectively have a “player” on your team costing whatever the buyout is plus can never be traded and puts up zero points. Even if it’s only $1m you can find serviceable players for less than that, maybe a prospect you’d like to see or two. If the bad contract is the anchor, the buyout is the spike nailing it and your team to the ground.

    • Im inclined to agree.

      • Very hard to argue in favour of the buy-outs. Probably has more to do with the GM not wanting a constant reminder around of an ill-conceived contract.

    • Hi Ron

      There are cases where buyouts make sense… see Meyers (Nashville)… buyout actuallyGAINS cap space this year

      For veteran buyouts…. If you have a player that is costly cap wise but really not playing anywhere near his level of Cap and had a front loaded contract… a buyout is prudent especially if only 1 or 2 years left

      E.g. player has a Cap hit of $5M but one year left; Sal due for upcoming year is $3.9 M; AND he is over 26 yrs old ; and he’s playing like an 8th Dman or 13th /14th forward….

      Buyout… 2/3rds remaining over twice the length of contract…. he gets $1.3 M cash upcoming year and following year

      Cap hit savings is $2.6 M this year …. bring in a 3rd line winger for $1.5 M – $2M or a bottom pairing D-Man for similar or less…. You’ve bettered the team and saved Cap this year

      This is done at the expense of $1.3 M dead cap next year ( mostly mitigated by an expected increase in overal Cap f $1M in 23/34)

      For Pitt…Zucker has only produced 23 goals in 2 1/2 years; and has been oft injured

      Buyout…Pens have tons O’cash…. Not an issue

      Cap savings $3.5 M this upcoming year; deadcap $1.7 M in 23/24

      $3.5 M gets a far better UFA than what he is producing at

      They could retain 50% (saving $2.75 M in Cap…. So 750 K less than buyout; but would have no dead cap next year)…. BUT would have to give up a pick as well to do it

      Buyout is the better option IMHO

      • You make excellent points throughout your argument that exactly shows why we are fans and can’t ever be mistaken for a GM. 😜

  10. Wondered if SJ could trade Vlassic for 1/2 salary w/o attaching a 1st or 2nd or an A prospect. $3.5M x 4 for a shut-down D would be reasonable. He played 75 games and had over 15m TOI. That might be a stretch after seeing his stats…..he is approaching a 3rd pairing guy…SJ would have to give Eklund with him to trade him!!! LOL

  11. RWM
    In case you missed the games Forbert was a good pick up by Sweeney. Did exactly what he was paid to do 3rd pair defensive d man blocked a ton of shots especially in playoffs. Foligno was a bust no doubt

    • The only thing wrong with Forbort is that he s paid like a 2nd pair defensemen.3MILLION is to much for a 3rd pair guy.

    • Bruins could try and trade Foligno. Difficult but I would wager if they find the right sucker, uhm I meant GM a deal could be made.

      Receptionist: Mr Sweeny on line one for you Mr Dubas

      Sweeney: lookin to move Foligno, interested?

      Scooby Dubas: Ill give you a first rounder and a prospect, nothing more. I dont need to look foolish in front of our fans.

      Dubas, too funny. lmfao.

  12. Chrisms…..Half his points were on the power play, he is awful defensively, he has bad stats 5 on 5..

    Tocheck is 7 years younger, a better overall player at this point, and will be cheaper.

    21 goals this season for Vinny and there is no reason why coming home playing second line minutes he can’t get 30 goals. he was + 21..

    He can be had for $5.5 or $ 6 million !!!!

    I love Malkin but even you can’t honestly say he is elite anymore or worth $9,5 million.

    Crosby is still elite
    Letang is still very very good
    Malkin has become a good player now

    Those are the facts..

  13. I believe I’m accurate in saying that Doug Armstrong has never had a “buyout player”—I doubt that Scandella will be a 1st.

    Army is real stubborn regarding buyouts (and no trade clauses too)!!

    The Blues,like so many other teams, sure are in a tight situation with cap space!! Somethings gotta give.


    • Hi IP

      Per Capfreindly … only Blues bought out….

      Drake (‘07) , McKee (‘09)

      Both before Army became GM (‘13 ?? I think??)

      But Army was Director of player personnel when McKee was bought out..so he may have been consulted on the idea ??


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