- Chris Kelly $3M, 3 years left
The Bruins currently have $58M already committed to the $64M cap. Including Kelly, they have 11 forwards already under contract, along with six defensemen. Caron and Daugavins are RFAs, but that probably won’t hurt the bottom line that much. The big issue is Tuuka Rask is an RFA and even backup Anton Khoudobin is a UFA. If they combine to make $7M total, that alone would put Boston over the cap. To say nothing of Boston needing to round out their roster. Most of the Bruins players are under good contracts, and while Kelly’s contract isn't terrible he’s probably the most expendable player and freeing up 3M might have to be necessary. He could become a trade candidate instead.
- Ville Leino $4.5M, 4 years left
- Drew Stafford $4M, 2 years left
Leino is a no-brainer because he isn't worth nearly that much money and it’s hard to fathom anyone taking that contract via trade. Stafford is definitely no lock to get bought out and frankly, I wouldn't bet on it. That said, I thought he was a name worth mentioning because he makes a ton of money, has been on the trading block and Buffalo seems tired of him. Chances are they can trade Stafford or at the very least keep him and see if he rebounds before deciding on what to do next with him.
- Cory Sarich $2M, 1 year left
- Miikka Kiprusoff $5.8M, 1 year left NOTE: if he doesn't retire
As noted, if Kiprusoff doesn't retire he probably will get bought out. The Flames are going through a huge rebuild, he makes a ton of money, and it will be hard to find a team that actually needs a goalie and can afford that cap hit. When it comes to Sarich, the Flames made him available to every team this year and found no takers. Giordano and Wideman are in the top 4, and chances are Butler –who is an RFA—will be too. Since they are rebuilding, it’s entirely possible Brodie will also be in the top 4, along with Derek Smith somewhere in that unit and maybe a guy like Mark Cundari who they just got in the Bouwmeester deal. Maybe Calgary keeps Sarich and hopes they can get some value for him at next year’s deadline, or maybe they just cut bait and start giving young guys auditions.
- Jamie McBain $1.8M, 1 year left
Canes have $56M already committed to the cap next year and had McBain on the trading block this year. It’s entirely possibly they simply trade him for a late pick or something minor, but if they can’t they might just buy him out because they are strapped for cash and don’t appear to think he’s a solution to their defensive woes. They only have four other defensemen under contract other than McBain so they might keep him, but they've played Sanguinetti all year and he’s a UFA who could probably be resigned for cheap, plus Murphy might make the team next year along with a few other AHL candidates likes Jordan, Biega and Bellemore.
- Rotislav Olesz $3.125M, 1 year left
- Steve Montador $2.75M, 2 years left
These two are both no-brainers as Olesz and Montador both make a lot of money and are already buried. This is a foregone conclusion.
- Greg Zanon $2.25M, 1 year left
- Shane O’Brien $2M, 2 years left
Including Barrie and Elliott, the Avalanche already have eight defensemen under contract next year. Siemens could make the team out of camp for the 13-14 season, plus they might be bad enough to draft Seth Jones this year. Due to this, I picked the two most logical choices to be bought out because Hejda and Johnson have value, Hunwick plays a ton and Ryan Wilson is a solid player.
Columbus Blue Jackets
- James Wisniewski $5.5M, 4 years left
Wisniewski is the only righty on the Columbus defense and he isn't a bad player, but he makes a lot of money and that’s a terrible contract with a lot of term left. Maybe the Blue Jackets keep him, or maybe they run with Johnson, Tyutin, Nikitin, Erixon, Murray, Goloubef, Prout and maybe even Savard. It might not make them a better team immediately, but it would get them away from this contract. They could also wait to do this after next season instead.
Detroit Red Wings
- Mikael Samuelsson $3M, 1 year left
- Todd Bertuzzi $2.075M, 1 year left
The Wings have $52M worth of players signed for next year and Dan Cleary, Valterri Filppula and Damien Brunner are all key UFAs. They also have Brendan Smith and Gustav Nyquist as important RFAs that need to be signed. It’s a tight squeeze for them and Bertuzzi and Samuelsson are both old and have barely played this year. If Detroit’s looking to make room to sign younger guys, their combined $5M could help them quite a bit.
- Ben Eager $1.1M, 1 year left
- Ryan Smyth $2.25M, 1 year left
- Eric Belanger $1.75M, 1 year left
Since Eager is already buried, it’s probably safe to assume he’s getting bought out. Belanger hasn't produced at all since coming to Edmonton and would be my guess to be bought out based on ability, although both these guys have seen their best days pass them by. On the flip side, Smyth is making more money so they could clear more cap room. The Oilers payroll is at $52M and they need to resign Gagner, Paajarvi, add two defensemen and a goalie. The cap is $64M. Each team only has two buyouts.
- Scottie Upshall $3.5M, 2 years left
- Ed Jovanovski $4.125M, 2 years left
- Filip Kuba $4M, 1 year left
The Panthers aren't really in cap trouble, these three players just have terrible contracts. Upshall played 26 games last year, and only 18 so far this year, throwing up 8 points total and he’s turning 30 this year; that’s a lot of money for a third liner. Jovanovski is turning 37 this year and is basically a third pairing defenseman making a lot of money for two more years, so there isn't much more that needs to be said. Kuba isn't worth his money either, but at least there’s only a year left. It’s reasonable to envision any of these guys getting bought out.
Los Angeles Kings
- Dany Heatley $7.5M, 1 year left
Heatley is making mere thousands less than Parise, and is seventh on the team in scoring. Cal Clutterbuck is an RFA, Matt Cullen and PM Bouchard are UFAs should they want to resign them, Backstrom is a UFA in net along with Falk and Spurgeon on defense as RFAs. They have $58M already tied up for next season and just brought in Pominville.
- Tomas Kaberle $4.25M, 1 year left
- Rene Bourque $3.3M, 3 years left
Kaberle will get bought out, that goes without saying. There’s a good chance Bourque doesn't get bought out, but the Habs already have $61M of their $64M tied up for next year and do need to fill in their roster. They've been fine without Bourque, although he is a good player that can still contribute. He is turning 32 this year and still has three years left. They may just want to get out of that contract and give themselves some breathing room for next season.
- Mike Fisher $4.2M, 2 years left
It would be a surprising and hard move for the Predators to buyout Fisher, but it’s possible they do. He’s turning 33 this year, he's making a lot of money for the next two years and he isn't getting any better. Fisher is third on the team in scoring, so he’s not having an awful year, but he’s making a lot of money on a small market team and they might just take a long hard look at that contract and ask themselves if he’ll be worth that money the next two seasons.
New Jersey Devils
- Anton Volchenkov $4.25M, 3 years left
Volchenkov plays under 16 minutes a night and is signed for three more years. They can afford to keep him financially, but it’s just a terrible contract that they should want to get away from.
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
- Brad Richards $6.6M, 7 years left
Brad Richards already isn't worth $6.6M, so imagine 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 years from now. Maybe they keep him for next season and decide to buy him out after that though.
- Ilya Bryzgalov $5.6M, 7 years left
- Danny Briere $6.5M, 2 years left
How could this team not buyout Bryzgalov at this point? His play and demeanor has been well documented so there’s no point in getting into it, but he has 7 years left and is making a lot of money for a guy who is not the answer in net. The Flyers are already a million dollars over next year’s cap, too. Then there is Briere. He’s old now, makes a ton of money and doesn't put up the point totals he once did that made us all overlook his defensive issues. That’s a lot of money for an old, regressing, flawed player. And he has two years left.
St Louis Blues
San Jose Sharks
- Martin Havlat $5M, 2 years left
- Adam Burish $1.85, 3 years left
The Sharks aren't in cap trouble, but Havlat makes quite a bit of money for a guy who is struggling to produce, let alone the fact that he basically never stays healthy. He has two years left so they may just want to use that money elsewhere instead because Havlat hasn't really been a good fit in San Jose to this point. It’s doubtful the Sharks buyout Burish, but you just look at his contract and term and role and just wonder about it so I put it down. Call it due diligence.
Tampa Bay Lightning
- Ryan Malone $4.5M, 2 years left
Malone isn't a bad player but he’s turning 34 this year, he struggles to stay healthy every year, and he’s making a lot of money for a guy who is more of a top nine forward than top six. Tampa Bay also has a bit of a youth movement going on right now and if they weren't thinking of buying Malone out before, the play of guys like Alex Killorn should be causing them to.
Toronto Maple Leafs
- Mike Komisarek $4.5M, 1 year left
- JM Liles $3.875M, 3 years left
Komisarek is getting bought out, we know that already. Liles has had an up and down year but the bottom line is that the left side of the Leafs defense has Gunnarsson, Fraser, Gardiner and Rielly on it, and Liles is signed for three more years. They might be able to trade him because he can still run a power play, contribute, and isn't on a terrible contract though. But that term might be a little tricky.
- Keith Ballard $4.2M, 2 years left
- Roberto Luongo $5.3M, 9 years left
Keith Ballard has played forward this year and has two more years on his contract still at a big number. I don’t see how they don’t buy him out. Luongo probably won’t get bought out because Gillis is proving to be stubborn and actually thinks he can get value in return for him. That said, I felt it was necessary to at least include his name here.
- Joel Ward $3M, 2 years left
- Jeff Schultz $2.75M, 1 year left
Ward is actually having a quietly good year as he’s surpassed his 18 points from last year and is playing 15 minutes a night. There’s a solid chance they don’t buy him out because third liners are worth the money that he’s making. The betting is that they keep him. Schultz on the other hand is a depth defenseman making quite a bit of money, and the Caps have to resign Karl Alzner this summer. It’s hard to imagine them not buying him out.
- Olli Jokinen $4.5M, 1 year left
Jokinen has 13 points in 41 games and while I don’t love +/-, when you’re -17, that’s saying something. He’s turning 35 this year, so what are the chances he gets better? The Jets have to resign RFAs Wheeler, Little, Burmistrov and Bogosian too. While they have the cap room to do it, Jokinen is making a lot of money and not producing so they might just cut ties.