Surprise! It’s buyout season!
With the league year wrapping up within the next two weeks, the league has allowed a buyout period from today until Thursday October 8th, the day before the start of free agency. This could be a very important time for cap-strapped teams that need to shed some salary to get under the $81.5 million ceiling. The Boston Bruins could be one of these teams, according to Conor Ryan of the Boston Sports Journal.
Yes, I know that’s behind a paywall, so let me sum up what he said. Basically, the Bruins could buyout John Moore or Nick Ritchie. There is a benefit to dealing away both or either but also a downside as well for each.
John Moore has just completed the second year of his 5 year, $13.75 million contract. While he was primarily looked at as being part of the 6 or 7 top defensemen in the system, he has since fallen down the depth chart with both Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon making cases for themselves to remain on the roster. The Moore signing was puzzling from the beginning in that his term was so long. Personally, I believe that he was signed to become a defenseman for Seattle so that the Bruins wouldn’t have to part with their more valuable prospects and drafted players. However, it really doesn’t benefit the Bruins to keep him around that long as they’re only protecting 3 D for the expansion draft and John Moore will still $2.75 million sunk during this upcoming season. Ideally, Don Sweeney will unload John Moore on a team that needs defensemen (Ryan suggested the Winnipeg Jets) but he’ll likely have to pair up Moore with a pick or so to make that happen. If he can’t or won’t do that, Moore could be bought out. This is what it would look like. The cap savings in 2020-21 would be $1,444,444.
Nick Ritchie is a different situation. Since he is only 24, only 1/3 of his remaining salary has to be paid out over twice the remaining term of his contract. Somehow his buyout would cost nothing against the cap in 2020-21 and only $333,333 in 2021-22. However, since he was traded for Danton Heinen, giving up on Ritchie this early with nothing to show for losing Heinen is a very bad look. We know that Bruins fans have a hard time letting go of bad return for traded players (see, Seguin, Tyler).
Obviously, trading players is the better way to go. However, neither of these players has done themselves any favors at improving their value, so we’ll have to see what will happen.