There was a lot of talk last week surrounding the possibility of a number of players being bought out of their contracts with the first buyout window opened following the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens. Buyouts are a tool that was introduced into the collective bargaining agreement in 2013 in order to help general managers in the National Hockey League either correct mistakes they have made in the past or correct the mistakes of their predecessors.
Buyouts are a great tool and you could easily make the argument that in the salary cap era of the NHL they are a necessary one, but they do come at a cost and for some organizations that is a heavy cost indeed. Today we will take a look at 5 NHL players that we frankly can't believe are still drawing a paycheck in the NHL, this in spite of the fact that they have long since stopped playing.
#5 Dion Phaneuf.
I include Mr. Phaneuf on this list largely due to the fact that he has the distinction of drawing two salaries each year from the NHL, one from the Ottawa Senators and the other from the Los Angeles Kings. Phaneuf was bought out of his contract in 2019 but in spite of that he continues to pull in over $350,000 a year from the Senators and over $1 million a year from the Kings and will continue to do so until the conclusion of the 2022 - 2023 NHL season.
#4 Brad Richards.
Now we're getting into big boy territory. Richards has been out of the NHL for so long that there may be people reading this that genuinely have never seen the man play. Bought out in the summer of 2014 Richards continues to draw a salary of over $1 million per year from the New York Rangers and will continue to do so for quite some time. The Rangers will still be signing Richards' paychecks until the end of the 2025 - 2026 season.
#3 Ilya Bryzgalov.
The hilarious Russian netminder was a fan favorite but for fans of the Philadelphia Flyers the buyout of his massive contract was a sore point for many years. Bought out all the way back in the summer of 2013, Bryzgalov will draw a salary for even longer than Richards with his paychecks coming in until the end of the 2026 - 2027 NHL campaign, and he also earns more with a salary of over $1.6 million per year.
#2 Vincent Lecavalier.
Like Bryzgalov, Vincent Lecavalier was bought out in the summer of 2013 and like Bryzgalov he will continue to draw a salary until the 2026 - 2027 season, although for Lecavalier it will be the Lightning signing the paychecks. Lecavalier will earn over $13 million in just the next 3 seasons and following that he will pull in a salary of over $1.75 million per season from the Lightning until his buyout has been paid out in full.
#1 Rick DiPietro.
It's insane to think that we're still talking about Rick DiPietro's terrible contract in 2021 and it's even more insane to think that we might be doing it for many more years to come. Although not the highest earner on the list DiPietro's buyout will last the longest with the pain only coming to an end for the New York Islanders at the end of the 2028 - 2029 season in spite of him being bought out all the way back in the summer of 2013. The once promising goaltender will earn $1.5 million a year until that time, not a bad way to retire from any profession.