The National Hockey League's first buyout window for the current offseason opened up on Saturday and as was expected teams were quick to make use of the opportunity to solve some of their potential salary cap headaches.
We did not have to wait long to find out who the first player to be the target of such a buyout would be, as the Philadelphia Flyers have officially announced that they intend to part ways with one of their veterans today. According to an official announcement from the Flyers organization, the team has placed veteran defenseman Andrew MacDonald on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract once he clears that process. The move comes as very little surprise as MacDonald has been the subject of buyout rumors for quite some time now, and perhaps even more importantly has become a whipping boy or scapegoat for a Flyers' fan base that has long since run out of patience with him.
That solves the mystery of the first player to be bought out, however there is a long list of players that could also face a buyout today or at some point before the current buyout window closes on June 30th. Of course many of the teams that are weighing potential buyouts will look for a trade option before doing so, however we already have a pretty good idea regarding 4 players who may be bought out of their contracts this summer.
In his most recent 31 Thoughts article Sportsnet's National Hockey League insider Elliotte Friedman named 5 players that could be bought out of their contracts today. One of those 5 was the aforementioned Andrew MacDonald and considering that his prediction has proven accurate, I am willing to bet that he is pretty spot on about the other 4 names on that list of 5. Here are the other 4 names that were put forward by Friedman in his most recent article:
Perry's time in Anaheim has run its course and both Perry and the Ducks are fully aware of this fact. The Ducks are looking for a potential trade partner but it sounds like a buyout is far more likely given the current trajectory of Perry's career as well as his contract.
Pahneuf has reportedly worn out his welcome in Los Angeles, and with the Kings looking to get younger in short order a buyout of Phaneuf contract seems like the most realistic option moving forward. On top of that the Kings won't be on the hook for the full buyout with Ottawa retaining some of his salary.
Once a feel good story Darling's tale has quickly transitioned into a nightmare. Darling has collapsed since joining the Carolina Hurricanes and even appeared to flunk out at the American Hockey League level when he was sent down to get his game back. The Hurricanes have likely had their hand forced here, and hopefully Darling's off ice issues aren't once again becoming a factor.
Because of his age the Dallas Stars' forward can be bought out of his contract at just 1/3rd of the money he would be owed. It would be somewhat surprising to see such a young player the subject of a buyout but Friedman not only believes Nichushkin might be, but went so far as to call him "very vulnerable."
Stay tuned for more details.