Starting today, NHL teams have two weeks to buyout players that are acting as albatrosses on their salary caps.
Don’t expect the Bruins, however, to put this tool to use. Players over 26 years old are due two-thirds of the salary remaining on their contract over twice the term. The only player who’d be a candidate based on not living up to his salary is Michael Ryder, who would be too expensive to buy out.
Ryder is due $4 million in the last year of the three-year deal he signed in July 2008. That means the Bruins would have to pay him around $2.67 million to go away. That would leave them with a cap hit of $1.33 million over the next two seasons. That just wouldn’t make financial sense or do much to aid general manager Peter Chiarelli’s quest to upgrade the roster.
The more likely scenario is the Bruins trade Ryder or bring him to camp in the fall. If he fails to make the team, they can extract the entire $4 million from their cap by waiving him and sending him to Providence (AHL). Of course, then Delaware North has to pay a guy $4 million to play in the minors, but sometimes that’s the cost of business (just ask the New Jersey Devils, who have done this probably the most of any team).
The best-case scenario is that Ryder works hard in camp and fits in on the Bruins’ third line on a deeper roster and finds the touch to at least give the club 25 goals in the last year of his deal. Then they can use that $4 million cap space to enhance the team in the summer of 2011.
For those wishing for a Dennis Wideman buyout, you’re probably out of luck too. Wideman has two years left on his deal and would carry a similar $1.33 million cap hit as Ryder — but over four years. Again the Bruins are better off using a draft pick to get someone to take him off their hands or using the Providence option as a threat to get the best out of him in the fall.