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Compliance buyout process begins Monday

Jun 15, 2014, 9:09 AM EDT

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: Mike Richards #10 of the Los Angeles Kings and Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers battle for the puck during the second period of Game Four of the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden on June 11, 2014 in New York, New York. Getty Images

The unrestricted free agent market won’t open until July 1, but some big names could be available sooner. That’s because the window for exercising teams’ remaining compliance buyouts will start Monday and run through June 30, per CSN Washington.

Compliance buyouts are a special option that teams were granted as part of the new CBA to help them cope with the fact that the new agreement was lowering the cap. Each franchise was allowed to buy out the contracts of up to two players over the summers of 2013 and 2014 without suffering any cap penalty.

That led to players like Vincent Lecavalier, Daniel Briere, and Mikhail Grabovski becoming free agents last summer. In total, 18 players were bought out, per Cap Geek.

For some teams, this summer’s compliance buyout window represents their last chance to safely get out of long-term contracts that could hurt them down the road, especially given the recapture penalty that punishes teams when players signed to long-term, heavily front-loaded deals retire with years remaining.

One prime example of that is New York Rangers forward Brad Richards, who is 34 years old and comes with a $6,666,667 annually cap hit through 2019-20. Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Richards might find himself in the same boat as his role has diminished despite the fact that he’ll cost $5.75 million annually against the cap through 2019-20.

Not all the compliance buyouts will be on big names though. It seems likely that Detroit will buy out the contract of Jordin Tootoo while San Jose’s Martin Havlat and Buffalo’s Ville Leino will also probably be wearing new uniforms in 2014-15.

It’s worth noting that while these buyouts don’t count against the cap, those players will still receive two-thirds of what was owed, with the payments spread out over double the remaining length of his contract. For example, the Flyers are also paying bought out goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov roughly $1.6 million annually through 2026-27 in addition to consistently spending to the cap.

So while compliance buyouts are a helpful tool for teams to utilize, they also require that owners make a financial sacrifice.

  1. 950003cups - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    Congratulations to the NY Rangers deep playoff run to the Stanley Cup Final

    • billiam55 - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      not sure why u like to crap on the rangers all the time. it was a great run. many teams in this league cant say the same.

      • 950003cups - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:44 AM

        A bit of sweet revenge my good friend. Back in 2012 Ranger fans were swearing that if they played the Los Angeles Kings they would have won the cup. Fast-forward two years later, they played the Kings that had just gone through 21 street games and got dropped in five. The Devils had played the strongest Los Angeles Kings team ever assembled and we went down in six games.

        They were rubbing it in for an entire year. Now it’s our turn. Remember, he who laughs last laughs best!

  2. pone27 - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Hope the Hawks strongly considering buying out Bickell. Like the player a lot, but his cap hit is way too high for what he brings to the table.

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      They don’t have any left. They used them on Montador and Olesz.

  3. aldog83 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    LA Kings should keep Richards as long as team performs in playoffs.

    Richards production lower but keeps winning.

    Buy him out next year if Kings get knocked out early.

    For now would not mess with chemistry of this winning formula.

    Cap is going up.

    • McFaddensPulledHammy - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      I think most organization’s theories are to let the team that just won their championships defend it next year. The Kings will more than likely keep most of their players.

      This is the final summer of compliance buyouts so if Richards is going to be one, it needs to be now.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      Reading…it helps

      “Each franchise was allowed to buy out the contracts of up to two players over the summers of 2013 and 2014 without suffering any cap penalty.”

  4. dolphincult - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    ahhhh yes there is blowflow. always hanging around to correct us but never offering a thought of his own. pure troller

  5. dolphincult - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Richards will definitely be bought out. Jeff Carter doesn’t need Richards around to sparkle. They will use that cap space somewhere else

  6. crazemastercraze - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Must be awesome to suck at your job, get fired and continued to get paid a huge sum of money for it.

    • 19to77 - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      While somebody else pays you to play against your former employer, no less. Gotta be a nice feeling, coming to the ice and realizing both teams playing that night are paying you.

      • 950003cups - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:13 PM

        One team is paying you to play hockey. The other team is paying you to not play. Not a good feeling. Your next contract is most likely guaranteed to be cut in half. That’s what the other team is paying you to play hockey.

    • 67nova - Jun 15, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      CEOs have been getting golden parachutes for years. ’bout time an employee got the chance at one.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:03 AM

      Actually the biggest offenders are politicians. They can agree to lots of deals against their constituents interest as well as state and national interests. Coast for years on incumbancy, and when it falls apart, enjoy the huge pension they voted on for themselves.

      Prime example, Eric Cantor, who would have brought in amnesty for illegal alliens, and the predictable HUGE hit on all out social support programs, excellerating out nations plunge into bankruptcy.

      Woopsie, a professor of economics who spent $150,000 on his campainge WOOPED Cantor 55-55, who spent 5 mill.

      Not a participan rag. Just pointing out another example of where folks coast and somehow get a big payout.

      • petersteelewannabe - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM

        While I agree that politicians are examples of getting paid way too much for doing (next to) nothing, I would blame ALL of them, not any particular party or belief. Also, we are not “accelerating” towards bankruptcy…we were plunging into the red since 2008….BEFORE our current Administration it should be noted.

  7. rsl22 - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Does anyone know if a team can re-sign a player they buy-out?

    For instance, can the Caps buy-out OV and then re-sign him for the league minimum? I understand the bad faith and collusion aspect (I’m an attorney, sorry), but it would be a serious coup to free up $8MM in cap space while retaining a star player. Almost every team would benefit if they did it with their highest paid player.

    • flyboystransport - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      No they cant. I don’t know if however if you buy a player out and trade for that player at the deadline.

    • rsl22 - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      Well, from capgeek:

      While compliance buyouts prohibit a player from rejoining the team that bought him out for one season, there is no rule prohibiting this with ordinary-course buyouts.

      I guess that answers that.

    • 19to77 - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      Yeah, you’re not allowed to resign with the same team. Also, I’m pretty sure you can’t be dealt to another team, bought out by that team and resign with the original one in the offseason. I imagine you’re not permanently prevented from going back to a team that buys you out, but the rules definitely prevent turning around and rejoining it immediately at least. So, yeah, no way for the Caps to BS their way out of Ovi’s titanic cap hit.

  8. flyboystransport - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Wondering if Phaneuf gets bought out

    • 19to77 - Jun 15, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      Pretty sure they can’t use a compliance buyout on him. They’re only useable on contracts signed before the new CBA. Besides, they can probably trade him if they retain a bit of salary. Better than buying him out before year one of his contract starts and having him leave for nothing in return. Besides, that still wouldn’t actually IMPROVE their defense. Much as everyone rags on Phaneuf (and fair enough in a lot of cases), they have no way of filling the 25ish-minute hole that would leave on their blueline.

      • flyboystransport - Jun 15, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        I missed the list….Toronto already used both buyouts.

  9. jaredwmoore - Jun 15, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Hoping the Devils use their last compliance buyout on Salvador (1 year, 3.16 mil remaining) or Volchenkov (2 years, 4.25 mil). They need to free up some spots with the defensemen anyways with some of the younger players they have coming.

    • dontbebitter - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:03 PM


  10. djshnooks - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Tim Murray said this week that Ville Leino will be bought out, but it will not be a compliance buyout…it will be a regular buyout so they can get to the cap floor.

    Other stuff for anyone interested…

    He also said Tallinder, Konopka, Scott, and D’Agostini would not be re-signed.

    And they’re working on extensions for Ennis and Conacher. McBain might be traded at the draft or just not retained.

    They still have both compliance buyouts…but I doubt either are used. Stafford and Stewart will be trade chips.

    Tim Murray wants another 1st round pick, and he won’t trade down past #7.

    The draft can’t get here soon enough! lol.

    • petersteelewannabe - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      I am curious if Buffalo can ‘trade” one or both of his compliance buyouts, assuming that can be done. For teams like Philly, who have a history of unwise contracts, an unused compliance buyout maybe worth something if it can be “traded”.

      Example, Philly trades Vinny Lecavalier and a 2015 draft pick/or another player to Buffalo (the pick or second player being compensation for the large amount of money, something Terry Pegula has, will be eating to then turn around and use one of the compliance buyouts on Vinny for some negotiated compensation from the Sabres. It allows Vinny to then go where he wants, Buffalo gets something for their trouble and Philly gets to rid itself of a bad contract and free up cap space.

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