Starting this morning, the NHL’s first buyout window is open. From now until June 30th, teams are able to use a buyout on any unwanted contracts they might need to shed from their books. For the Colorado Avalanche, this is likely irrelevant as they are in no danger of needing the salary cap flexibility any time soon. Though, there are a couple contracts they might want to get rid of.
With a ton of cap space over the next few year, the Avalanche can afford to carry a few unappetizing short-term contracts. That said, it might be a good idea for Joe Sakic to consider buying out one of his veteran players, simply to create a spot in the lineup for one of the youngsters.
Sakic hasn’t been afraid to use the buyout option in the past. A year ago, the Avalanche bought out the final year of Francois Beauchemin’s contract in order to clear space on the roster.
Thanks to a number of stellar moves over the past 12 months, the Avs currently sit with an abundance of forwards that look ready to be regulars in the NHL. There is a lot of young talent that should be in the lineup regularly next season. Alexander Kerfoot, Tyson Jost and J.T. Compher have established themselves as regular NHLers, while Vladislav Kamenev, Dominic Toninato and A.J. Greer look like they’re ready too. Add to that group Sven Andrighetto, Carl Soderberg, Matt Nieto, Colin Wilson, Gabriel Bourque and you’ve got more forwards than are neccessary to fill out the bottom-9 forwards in the lineup.
This is before bringing in any external help this offseason.
So would the Avs consider buying out one of the veteran forwards to help alleviate the logjam in the bottom-6?
Looking at the roster, there are two options; Carl Soderberg and Colin Wilson.
As far as Soderberg goes, that is a horrendous contract. You never want to be paying nearly $5m for a player that has 51 points combined over the past two seasons. That said, Soderberg serves a function on this team. He kills penalties, plays tough defensive minutes and the coaching staff obviously trusts him to play a shutdown role against the opposition’s top players. It’s still a really bad contract.
With two more seasons left on Soderberg’s contract, this is what a buyout would look like:
The buyout would spread the cap hit out over the next four seasons, but would save the team $3 million. If the Avs needed the cap space, this move might be a lot more likely, but given that Soderberg is still a useful player, the team can afford to carry his inflated contract for the next two seasons. This seems like a longshot, but something the team would consider.
The other option is a lot more plausible. Colin Wilson was brought in via trade from the Nashville Predators last summer. In what was likely a salary dump for his old team, Wilson was thought of as a stop-gap veteran to fill a role while some of the kids developed. Injuries limited Wilson to 56 games, causing him to finish the season with just six goals and 18 points - his lowest point total since 15 points in 35 games as a rookie in 2009-10.
Wilson is owed $4 million for one more season - a number that is far to high for the value he brings to the team. A Wilson buyout would look as follows:
Buying out Colin Wilson makes a lot of sense. He makes a ton of money, the buyout wouldn’t be very prohibitive, and he’s a player that is doing little more than clogging up the depth chart. He’s a player that you might be able to trade away for a late round draft pick, though with that cap hit it’s probably unlikely.
Wilson’s presence in the lineup next season will take away an opportunity from someone like A.J. Greer. With the way the roster is currently constructed, there is really only room for one of Colin Wilson or Gabriel Bourque in the lineup on any given night. By re-signing Bourque last month, the Avs have shown that they clearly want him around. The return of the veteran makes Wilson expendable, making a buyout a viable option.
What should the Avalanche do?
This poll is closed