Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/15/11 at 05:43 AM ET
In a story about the Edmonton Oilers possibly dealing tough guy Zach Stortini, the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson makes an important point:
The Oilers can officially buy out the last year of Sheldon Souray’s contract at two-thirds of his salary starting today. They have a two-week window to do so. Neither Souray nor his agent Paul Theofanous have replied to interview requests.
We already know that the New York Rangers are highly likely to buy out Chris Drury and Wojtek Wolski, but the buyout period is always fascinating because at least two or three players that one wouldn’t assume teams would buy out, even at 2/3rds of their salary, spread out over twice the length of their contract (thus yielding, in the case of Chris Drury and Capgeek’s handy-dandy buy-out calculator, taking on half player’s cap hit for a certain number of seasons and then a smaller amount for the remaining seasons).
Even with a potential lockout season and a possible penalty-free buyout period on the horizon, I would expect a few players that we didn’t expect to be bought out to hit the market, and they’re usually attractive commodities during the free agent period, red flags regarding performance and/or injury included, because of their more affordable prices.
And as several reporters and bloggers have noted, including In Lou We Trust’s John Fischer, teams can begin filing for salary arbitration with their players today (the Devils are all but assured to do so in the case of Zach Parise to ward off restricted free agent offer sheets on July 1st), yielding a second buy-out period after their arbitration hearings.
To some extent, the off-season truly begins today, regardless of Game 7’s significance. We should know where the salary cap stands, based upon the NHL’s final tally of revenues and whether the NHLPA chooses to automatically apply its 5% inflator, by the entry draft on the 24th and 25th in Minnesota ($62-63.5 million are the estimates at the present moment), and unrestricted free agency begins only two-and-a-half weeks from now, so it’s going to get interesting for every team’s respective fan base in short order.
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