June 15 marks the beginning of the NHL’s first buyout window. Here are five players who could see themselves bought out.
For a variety of reasons, NHL teams are reluctant to buy out players. Owners don’t like paying players to not be in the organization.
Buyouts force teams to commit cap space to someone who’s not on the roster. Because signing bonuses are guaranteed, any player with a huge signing bonus due is basically buyout-proof because buying them out wouldn’t save teams any money.
This year, though, things could be different. There are several teams who need cap space. The buyout period begins on June 15 and runs through June 30. Which players could see themselves bought out? Let’s look at five prime candidates.
5. Troy Brouwer – Calgary Flames
Troy Brouwer signed a four-year deal with the Calgary Flames after an impressive postseason performance in 2016 with the St. Louis Blues. It was an ill-advised deal at best when it was signed. Two years later, Brouwer has become a liability.
In 76 games last season for the Flames, he put up just 22 points. That’s his lowest point total in any full season. He scored just six goals despite getting 94 minutes of power-play time. Brouwer played 13:56 per game, his lowest total in a full season by over a minute. He used to be pretty good at face-offs (251 wins in 441 attempts as recently as 2014-15), but even that skill has left him.
The Flames could really use some cap space to improve their team. Especially since they need to get a goalie and address their lack of depth at right wing. Yes, Brouwer’s a right wing. But they could easily find someone who could do what he’s doing (or better) for much cheaper than his $4.5 million cap hit.
Buying out Brouwer would save the Flames $3 million of cap space for the next two seasons. However, it would then cost Calgary $1.5 million of cap space for the two seasons following that. With the rising salary cap, $1.5 million is a drop in the bucket. The Flames need cap space and buying out Brouwer gives them a good amount of it.