Kukla's Korner

The Sabres Observer

Cap Recapture Penalty Fear Forces Ehrhoff Buyout

After initially jumping out of my chair reading Bob McKenzie's alert on the Christian Ehrhoff buyout, it started making a bit more sense after playing around with Capgeek's recapture calculator.

There are a few scenarios where the cap recapture penalty could really hurt the Sabres down the road when they're hoping to be a contending team looking to keep up with the league's big spenders.

If Buffalo were to trade Ehrhoff now, and then if he were to retire at age 36, the Sabres would be liable for a $5M cap hit for both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.  If he were to retire at age 37, the cap hit would be a whopping $10M for the 2020-21 season.

Sam Reinhart will turn 24 early in the 2019-20 season.  Most of Buffalo's current prospect pool will be near their prime at that point.

Would a $5M cap hit for two years have been a big deal, and would it have been offset by assets Murray could have gotten back in a trade?  Would it have made sense for the Sabres to make a deal and then grit their collective teeth hoping to avoid the $10M penalty scenario?  It's pretty obvious what their answer is.

There was another option.  The Sabres could have minimized the cap hit to be no worse than $3M simply by keeping him for the duration of his contract.  But it's pretty apparent that Ehrhoff doesn't want to wait around for the blueprint to take its course. 

This is where the debate and judgment of the compliance buyout decision may be focused.  Do you keep your top defenseman even though he clearly wants to leave?

Due to the fact that there is also a scenario where the penalty could still come into play if Ehrhoff is claimed on waivers, it's pretty apparent that the defenseman will decline the waiver option.

It will be interesting to hear Tim Murray's explanation of the move.  For all that Sabres fans love about him, his asset management skills will be called into question by many.

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Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink
  Tags: cap+recapture+penalty, christian+ehrhoff, tim+murray

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

Davis originally garnered media attention in 2002 as leader of a lobbying campaign working in unison with potential buyer Mark Hamister attempting to secure state financing to keep the Sabres in Buffalo.  In 2004, Davis was briefly back on the airwaves - this time reaching the finals of the inaugural "WGR Rookie" sports talk competition.  After a few years of "syndicating" his articles on various sites, along with doing some internet radio work, Davis now devotes his new media efforts to bringing quality Sabres related opinions and content to Kukla's Korner.

Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]