Now that the Stanley Cup is over most people's attention has turned to the 2010 entry draft in Los Angeles or free agency which kicks off on July 1st. However between June 15 and 30th a very underrated and suddenly becoming important event is occurring: buyout season! This is the time of year when GM's have a chance to buy their way out of the stupid contracts that they've given out over the years. The most notable was Alexei Yashin who was bought out a few years ago by the New York Islanders with five years left on his deal. However the bad part that comes along with this process that punishes teams for doing this is that they have to pay off a percentage of the contract over 2 times the remaining years which means that for a total of 10 years the Islanders still have somewhere north of 1.5 million on their cap dedicated to Alexei Yashin. The Montreal Canadiens bought out Georges Laraque today and this will leave 500,000 on their cap for the next two seasons. These contracts were examples of GM's getting overzealous in handing out their owner's money trying to improve their teams but paying way too much to do so. This period is a bitter reminder of those times.
There are plenty of candidates for buyouts on Canadian teams and around the league. The Oilers have 3 potential candidates for buyout: Patrick O'Sullivan, Robert Nilsson, and Ethan Moreau. All three of these players had horrendous seasons and probably should be part of the Oilers next season for themselves and for the team. Moreau, the vet who is not aging gracefully, might be able to fetch a bag of pucks while O'Sullivan, whom basically became Joeffery Lupul 2.0 this year, might be able to fetch a low round draft pick. Nilsson will probably be bought out and is destined for Europe. His talent level isn't intriguing enough to make up for his lack of desire and interest. Buying him out will result in a 1 million dollar cap hit for the next two seasons. Jonathan Cheechoo will likely be bought out by Ottawa. Cheechoo looked like he might become one of the top goal scorers in the NHL after a couple of thirty goal seasons and then exploding for 56 while playing with Joe Thornton however injuries have effectively derailed his career. A 1.75 million cap hit for the next two years will count against Ottawa's cap. Jeff Finger in Toronto might be a candidate for a buyout there after Cliff Fletcher signed him to a ludicrously inflated contract two years ago, Andrei Kostitsyn might be cut in Montreal, The Flames swapped Olli Jokinen's brutal contract for Ales Kotalik's even worse contract and is a buyout candidate. Chicago's Cristobal Huet is perhaps the most discussed buyout candidate, as he never seemed to leave the bench in Chicago post-Olympic break, and is making 5.75 million. That is way too much money and cap space for a backup goaltender. There are likely others that will be bought out over the next two weeks.