The amnesty clause
Well if the owners get there way, they will get an amnesty clause just like the NBA owners got last season. The way it worked for them was they had until the start of this season to use it on one player. It’s a buyout without a cap hit essentially. Each team would have 1. Whether or not a team could trade their amnesty clause I don’t know. I’m going with the assumption that they cannot. I’m just rolling with each team having one and who (if anyone) would be the best candidate to use it on. Some teams won’t be able to afford buying out a player. I looked at each team and this is what I came up with:
Anaheim – Nobody, just not enough money and also they don’t have what anyone would deem a bad contract
Boston – This one is tricky but if it can be done as soon as the lockout is over than I’m guessing Tim Thomas. If not, then I’m not sure they have a guy. Maybe Marc Savard, but they can hide Savard as long as he doesn’t officially retire.
Buffalo – Ville Leino definitely. This smelled like a bust the minute they signed the deal and he has lived up to that expectation of being a bust in his 1 season with the Sabres. Tomas Vanek has a gross contract thanks to Kevin Lowe, but it only has 2 seasons left.
Calgary – The team….Ok I’m joking, Jay Feaster….Ok I’m still kidding you would never want him to have time to ea…this isn’t that kind of website or article. Ok FOR REAL….Jay Bouwmeester. Thought it was a great signing when they did it and while I think he gets underrated because of the deal, he still has been nowhere near the level of player he is getting paid to be. Other candidates for me would be Hudler and Wideman….who they JUST signed.
Carolina – Can’t really see anyone here. Pitkanen was the only one I thought about, but that blueline will need him and he only has 2 years left on a deal that isn’t even THAT bad. It’s not a Dennis Wideman contract (I doubt I get a Christmas card from the Feaster’s this year).
Chicago – They’ve shed themselves of most of their cap problems, but Marian Hossa still as a gross deal long term. His cap hit now is fine, but I would get rid of it if I had the chance because down the road it could hurt.
Colorado – Perhaps Paul Stastny but I think he is moveable with only 2 years left on his deal, he certainly hasn’t lived up to it though the past few seasons.
Columbus – R.J. Umberger and James Wisniewski are great candidates, but I don’t think the Blue Jackets could afford to buy them out.
Dallas – Alex Goligoski is the only possibilty I can see here, but his deal isn’t TOO bad considering they don’t have much else on the blueline. But he has a no trade, so it might be smart for the Stars to get out from that.
Detroit – If it’s anyone it will be Johan Franzen. The cap hit is fine, but the length of the deal is scary. Would depend a lot on weather or not you can re-sign the guys you buy out. You couldn’t do that in the last CBA.
Edmonton – This SHOULD be Shawn Horcoff, but I worry about this one because managment has always overrated the guy, and he is tight with Katz. Horcoff is a useful player, just not at 5.5 mil per.
Florida – Brian Campbell would be the guy, but they don’t have the coin to do it and Campbell was the biggest reason they had their big turn around last season.
Los Angeles – I know they just won a Cup with him in the lineup but if I were Dean Lombardi I would be using this on Jeff Carter. The length is scary, and the guy is as one dimensional as they come.
Minnesota – I would use this on Dany Heatley if I were them. I know they traded for him last season, and he only has 2 years left but he’s still nowhere near worth 7.5 mil anymore.
Montreal – More tricky than you would think. Most would say hands down Scott Gomez. I say it’s a toss up between Gomez and Bourque. Gomez only has 2 years left on that disgusting deal, but Bourque has 4 more years left on his deal that isn’t a huge cap hit, but he has been terrible since signing it. I would pick Bourque because in 2 years this team will be ready to spend and then would have both of them off the payroll.
Nashville – The only big contracts they have are Weber and Rinne and it won’t be either one of them. Can’t see anyone being bought out here, although they’ll wish they could buy out Gaustad in a year or so.
New Jersey – I don’t think they can afford to go out from under the Kovalchuk deal, and after last season they may not want to. But a guy I could see them using it on is Volchenkov who has 4 years left on his deal.
NY Islanders – Mr. 15 years Rick DiPietro. When that deal was first signed I didn’t understand what the problem was, they got a guy who at the time was only 26, emerging as an elite goaltender at a cap hit of 4.5 mil a year. But as we’ve seen, a million injury problems later it was a mistake.
NY Rangers – Wade Redden no question and both sides want this bad. Wade just wants back in the league. He is the poster child for this clause if it happens.
Ottawa – Before last season it would have been Jason Spezza, but he justified that contract last season. Nobody here to amnesty, at least not before this season hopefully starts.
Philadelphia – I don’t know why I’m even bothering to type that it’s Bryz. I don’t make many good calls, but I was all over this bust right from the start. Lucky for Holmgren and Snider if each team does get an amnesty they can erase this drastic mistake.
Phoenix – If they can actually afford to buy someone out I would think it would be Keith Yandle, but with no owner I can’t see a buy out being possible.
Pittsburgh – Likely that it’s Paul Martin. He has just been a total bust in Pittsburgh. A product of the Devils system, so perhaps on a cheap deal a team like Nashville or Jersey again could get him and get his career back on track.
San Jose – Patrick Marleau as surprising as that may be for some of you. It’s a bad deal, although there are only 2 more years left on it. Still effective, just not 7 mil a year effective.
St. Louis – Nobody here, the Blues have done a great job avoiding gross UFA deals and signing their guys to reasonable deals. Took them forever to rebuild it, but they finally are set.
Tampa Bay – This is tricky. On one hand there is no question it would be Lecavalier. But on the other hand, does Jeff Vinnik have the money to simply buy him out? And would he buy out a guy who is so loyal to that team and that city? Not an easy decision here.
Toronto – Mike Komisarek was thought to be a key piece in helping the Leafs rebuild their defense. The defense has been rebuilt in spite of Komisarek. 4.5 per, but would be a nice pick up for 1.5 per.
Vancouver – They should be able to trade Luongo, but then again teams may force the Canucks to buy him out and then attempt to sign him to a new deal. If they are able to deal him then it’s Keith Ballard who might not find another job in the league afterwards.
Washington – Mike Green might be the guy here. 3 years left, 6 mil per season, and he can’t stay healthy. I know he makes their PP much better and played a lot better defensively last season than in the past, but they have a lot of good young d-men including Dimtry Orlov who could step into that role.
Winnipeg – I don’t think they would do it, but I would use it on Dustin Byfuglien. He isn’t very good in his own zone, can’t be trusted to keep his weight down, and I don’t believe he brings enough offense to justify the rest. 4 years left at 5.25 per, it’s not a good contract, but without him that blueline is very thin. Tough call.
Goes without saying but all of the guys bought out would be UFA’s and while they’re terrible pickup’s with their current deals, it would be quite intriguing to see where these guys go. A guy like Jay Bouwmeester for example I could still see getting a 3.5-4 mil per season deal if he were bought out as he is still a very effective d-man. Most hockey fans want this clause in the new CBA, but let’s just hope there is hockey this season. I’m going to believe neither side would be THAT stupid to cancel another season, but we will see.
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