Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Looks Like Redden Could Be Bought Out This Week

According to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN the NHLPA and NHL have come to an agreement on players who were being sat out this year in order to be bought out this summer.

News broke Sunday that Scott Gomez was told by Montreal not to bother showing up to the mini-training camp. Similarly, the New York Rangers planned on doing the same thing with Wade Redden. As Bob McKenzie wrote last week, the Rangers had three options as to what to do with Redden and the most obvious was sit him out the entire season and then buy him out this summer.

After these two players made the news as casualties of the new CBA - not just being buried in a minor league hidden from the NHL, but prohibited from playing hockey to avoid injury - it was reported the NHLPA were discussing the issue with the league. Seems odd to me that this wasn't discussed during the lockout which cost us almost half a season. One would think that somewhere along the line someone had to think to themselves how the new amnesty buyout would effect players with atrocious contracts who would be bought out next season.

TSN is reporting the deal between the NHLPA and NHL means:
teams are now eligible to exercise an "accelerated compliance buyout" on one player with a salary cap hit of $3 million or more before the regular season begins on Saturday.
If a compliance buyout is used this week, a team will have only one left to use next summer.
To be fair, we all know that neither Gomez nor Redden lived up to their contracts. Both players were severely overpaid and never lived up to the contracts Sather signed them to you. It doesn't day the NHL director of scouting to see that. However, it seems extremely unfair to the players if they were forced to sit out a year to await a buyout this summer. Don't get me wrong, these guys are going to be laughing all the way to the bank (not that they haven't been doing that for the past few years), but sitting out an entire year basically would've forced these two veterans to the brink of retirement. Hard to recover from that much of a lay off from any competitive sport, nevermind a professional league where you are already reaching the last few years of your career.

I've said before that Wade Redden is still an NHL defenseman. When he was sent by the Rangers to Hartford it was my belief that Wade Redden would easily make any NHL roster as a top six defenseman. The problem is, he wasn't the number one or even top pairing defenseman that his contract signified he should be.

The Scott Gomez era in New York ended miraculously in the summer of 2009 when somehow Sather sent the overpaid Gomez to the Habs in a deal that landed blue chip prospect Ryan McDonagh - who is now arguably the team's best defenseman. Now, perhaps he and Redden will continue their NHL careers somewhere at a contract more in tune with what they can bring to a team.

In order for a player to be bought out this week, he still must clear waivers first. The Rangers and Montreal will take the full cap hit on each player for this season, less the $900,000 for not burying the player in the minors, but suffer no cap hit next season or beyond.

Do the Rangers and Canadiens owe these players anything? Probably not. But, I think that for the cap hit of $900k this year, both teams are likely to buy out their respective player and allow them to pursue their career elsewhere rather than forcing them into a likely early retirement.

Something tells me after they're bought out and re-signed elsewhere they still won't have any problems affording New York Rangers tickets!

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