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Abel to Yzerman

Buyout Window Opens On Friday

from Luke Fox of Sportnet,

While owners were not in favour of easing their executives’ jobs with a round of compliance buyouts — those get-out-of-jail-free cards handed out after the 2013 lockout — the traditional buyout window is right around the corner.

GMs are permitted to buy out contracts of their untradables beginning Sept. 25 — with ownership’s blessing, of course. That first buyout window shuts on Oct. 8.

Here is a breakdown of 14 players who might be considered for a buyout, and the pros and cons of pulling the trigger on arguably the most uncomfortable tool at a GM’s disposal.

Justin Abdelkader, three years at a $4.25-million cap hit

Because the rebuilding Red Wings are in no rush to spend to the cap and assemble an immediate contender, and because they’ll also have a bunch of expensive contracts coming off the books this summer (Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, Trevor Daley), they can still absorb overpaid veterans like Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen (two more years at a $5.25-million hit) with ease.

Here’s the question: Does Steve Yzerman still want a 36-year-old Abdelkader taking up cap space in 2023? Or is it worth keeping some good pros around to groom the next wave?

It’s easy to look at Abdelkader’s 2019-20 numbers — zero goals, three assists, minus-14 rating — and start dreading another three declining years of overpaying a depth winger.

There could be sentiment at play here, with Abdelkader being a loyal, career-long Wing and a respected leader.

But remember this: Yzerman once bought out local hero Vincent Lecavalier when he served as Tampa’s GM.

A more modest but effective move might be buying out veteran Darren Helm, who is due $3.85 million for one more year.

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Comments

MurrayChadwick's avatar

But remember this: Yzerman once bought out local hero Vincent Lecavalier when he served as Tampa’s GM.
A more modest but effective move might be buying out veteran Darren Helm, who is due $3.85 million for one more year.

And this is where Luke Fox’s credibility goes out the window, nice job writing this piece looking everything up on google… 

Lecavalier was a max contract and more importantly a CBA compliance buyout, meaning no repercussions other than cash.

Helm had a really good year last season, and if replicated, could easily be flipped for a nice midround pick we retained some of the partial season salary.

 

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 09/21/20 at 03:36 PM ET

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Helm and Abdelkader are both overpaid.

The difference is that Helm, despite the hate, is still a reasonably competent defense-first bottom six forward. At half his salary, I can imagine several NHL teams still interested in his services.

Abdelkader, meanwhile, is not only clearly below replacement level in the NHL, but I’m not even sure he’d be a particularly good bottom six forward at the AHL level. Even at league minimum I wouldn’t be interested.

IMO there’s no reason at this point to buy out either. Helm can play one more year and ideally get flipped at the deadline. Abdelkader IMO should just be straight sent to the minors.

Cap advantage of buyout vs. bury:

2021: $1.37 million
2022: $820k
2023: $820k
2024: -$1.06 million
2025: -$1.06 million
2026: -$1.06 million

Basically I think it’s highly unlikely that the Wings are going to be within $1.37 million of the cap next year, so a buyout doesn’t really gain them anything (aside from reducing actual expenses paid, I guess.) Whereas those three years of ~$1 million hits after the end of the original deal are more likely to cause meaningful problems.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/21/20 at 04:35 PM ET

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No hate for Helm. And more just frustration and disappointment that
it didn’t occur to Holland that a seven year contract to a mediocre power forward
type already around thirty like Abdelkader was grossly excessive and especially at over 4M.

It was almost like his logic was: we’ve made this type of player such a low priority that when we sort of have one and he’s familiar and home grown, we’ll treat him like the scarce treasure our own acts of omission turned him into. Is there any position in hockey where a player ages faster than a winger with a bigger body and below average skill who is tasked with playing a physical game? Do any of these types who suddenly produce a 20-goal season mid-career stay at that level?

Here’s hoping for another season like the last one for Helm so he can enjoy a playoff run and we can enjoy that mid round pick.

The players it makes sense to buy out are mostly just those on teams desperate for short-term relief and where the contract is actually structured to allow that.

Posted by lefty.30 on 09/21/20 at 04:52 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Abdelkader IMO should just be straight sent to the minors.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/21/20 at 04:35 PM ET

If there are viable minors or foreign pro teams that our prospects can play in, why? I keep asking this question, I’m unsure anyone has thought it through beyond just bloodlust, cause abby sucks. 

We need a 14th forward, the games are going to be incredibly pressed next year with limited practice time, why stick a kid in that situation, to start their contract, mostly sit, not practice and get a game everyone 4-5 nights tops. 

I agree with the rest of your post.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 09/21/20 at 04:54 PM ET

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Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod’s pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 09/21/20 at 04:54 PM ET

I get where you’re coming from, but honestly by my count there are at least 22 forwards who are under contract or are RFAs that I think are probably already better than Abdelkader right now, or at the very least not any worse than he is:

Larkin
Mantha
Bertuzzi
Zadina
Fabbri
Helm
Glendening
Timashov
Veleno
Brome
Svechnikov
Rassmussen
Filppula
Nielsen
Erne
Smith
Hirose
Ehn
Perlini
Turgeon
Elson
Pearson

I know that might seem crazy harsh, but Abdelkader has just 22 points in his last 120 games. He has just 2 goals in his last 106 games.

Using NHL equivalency estimates, Abdelkader’s scoring rate of 0.183 ppg over the last two combined seasons implies that he’d be about a 0.37 ppg player in the AHL. That puts him right on par with Turgeon, Elson, and Pearson, all of whom are both (A) too old to be considered prospects anymore but also (B) about a decade younger than he is. The Griffins had 8 forwards with at least 35 games played who easily beat 0.37, not even including those three.

And it’s not like Abdelkader is making up for it on the defensive end, either. Or getting any younger.

I can see the argument for keeping Veleno and maybe Rasmussen in the minors for another year of seasoning. Maybe, maybe start Brome in the minors as he adjusts to the North American game. And it’s possible a few of those RFAs might just straight up not be retained. But that still leaves a lot more than 13 guys who still deserve it more.

I think Abby is spent at the NHL level and no better than a typical AHL third liner. I would rather give his spot to a 26-year-old minor league journeyman than see him play another minute at the NHL level.

Yeah, part of that is probably sour grapes, but also I really do think there are just so many players out there who deserve it more.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/21/20 at 05:31 PM ET

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TLDR: I guess my point is that I think I can easily come up with a list of 13+ forwards under Red Wings contract / control who are not even really “kids” or prospects anymore, just veteran pros who have either already been around the block a few times (Perlini, Ehn, Filppula etc.) or are reaching the age (22, 23, 24 …) when they’re unlikely to make any more large developmental strides and it’s time to either sink or swim. I don’t think there are any particularly compelling reasons Abdelkader, an almost-33-year-old guy with 26 goals in his last 259 games played, should have the inside track over any of them.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/21/20 at 05:53 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Helm had a really good year last season, and if replicated, could easily be flipped for a nice midround pick we retained some of the partial season salary.

I agree. I think Yzerman will send Abby to GR. At least he will get around a million in cap relief. smile

Posted by bigfrog on 09/21/20 at 06:26 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/21/20 at 05:53 PM ET

So you’re arguing does he deserve to be on the NHL ice, and to that end, I don’t disagree with you whatsoever, he doesn’t, many of the players you mention are better players today, tomorrow, and to this organization.

But the open spot is the 14th forward, the extra guy relegated eat popcorn most nights, and next season in particular, there won’t be a lot off practice time with the big club.  So that 14th might get a few more games than he normally would, but in general, it’ll be a position that truly sits without much game time nor practice time.  Smith could be a 4th liner tomorrow, no question, but why keep him to bench him when there’s a spot for him to play a heavy load? I’m certainly not putting two players in Veleno or Rassmussen on the pine. Hirose is not a 4th line player, and doesn’t fit in our top 6, he needs another season, or an injury opportunity.

If someone truly goes down, Smith Veleno or Rassmussen can always be called up, while Abby keeps that pine nice and warm.

The real toss up is him and Erne for the 14th spot, but also how much bench vs. playing time you give the 12th and 13th forward between Ehn and Brome I could see them being rotated around a bit,  but I’d be surprised without practice to see Brome, new to the team, new to North American sized rinks, to be put into a part time role out of the gate.

I see a practical role for him on the big club which is sitting down and shutting up, but a lot has to be sorted out between what the AHL will look like, how easy it will be to get someone from their club, etc.

 

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 09/21/20 at 07:11 PM ET

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Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerGod’s pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 09/21/20 at 07:11 PM ET

Fair points, and to be honest I’m not upset with the idea of Abdelkader in the NHL as a spare forward. I don’t think he’s actually one of tope 14 in the system but it’s not like he’s that much worse than, say, Christoffer Ehn either.

A few small counterpoints:

- On Smith getting big minutes in the AHL or fourth line in the NHL—he’ll be 23 in February. He’s got two seasons of AHL play and more than a brief taste of NHL action already. Your mileage may vary, but I don’t think he has top-6 NHL potential and I don’t think more AHL seasoning is likely to benefit his development versus fourth-line minutes against NHL competition. I say he’s as ready as he’s likely ever going to be: let him start drawing his NHL paycheck ($700k versus less than a tenth that in the NHL) and contributing now. But again, your mileage may vary.

- On Hirose not being a fourth line player—Sure, but neither is Abdelkader honestly. Hirose might not help much on the defensive end but at least he has some offensive pop. Abdelkader provides nothing and is a drag no matter how you use him. Hirose is also about to turn 25, so again ... sink or swim time. Sure, maybe it’s a disaster and he turns out to be so bad defensively that even Abdelkader would have been an improvement ... but on a team this bad, that hardly matters. Might as well give him the chance to find out one way or the other, instead of sticking with a guy you already know can’t play.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 09/22/20 at 10:40 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com