NHL Buyout period underway Friday; Panthers unlikely to make waves
* Update Below *
The National Hockey League's contract buyout period will be in effect on Friday, running through June 30th; very simply, this two-week stretch allows teams to discard under-performing or unnecessary assets, though a salary cap penalty remains for a set number of years (in theory this was included - post lockout - to dissuade GMs from tossing piles of cash at free agents, only to dump them a short time later, without repercussion, thereby inflating leaguewide salaries that much quicker). Again, in theory.
The Panthers haven't been exceptionally active on the buyout front in recent years; though the few players who have been exposed to the process really were perfect candidates (see Brett McLean), only Randy Sexton's - or was it in actuality Peter DeBoer's? - high profile blunder from the summer of 2009 remains on the books: blueliner Ville Koistinen will carry a $466,667 cap hit (and equal salary) through the 2011-12 season. No argument there.
Who on the current Florida roster is eligible? As would be expected considering the Cats' bounty of players on entry-level and recently-signed deals, there is very little to work with (a good problem to have, however). No one needs to be bought out, obviously, but thought we'd take a peek at who is - technically - available:
Among forwards, incredibly, only David Booth, Rostislav Olesz, Stephen Weiss are options. Realistically only two of those will never see a buyout before their late-30s. Rusty has three years remaining with a cap hit of $3.125M in each; love him or not, the club likely needs his entire salary in an effort to hit the cap floor in '11-'12. And who knows...he may yet flourish under Kevin Dineen.
Difficult to say the same for rapidly declining (and non-roster) Steve Reinprecht, 35, though his effort - and $2.05 hit - may prove pivotal to the organization for the same reasons as Olesz.
On defense, forget it. Mike Weaver, Keaton Ellerby, and Jason Garrison all have a single year remaining on standard player contracts. No one was giving up on them, anyway.
Goaltender Scott Clemmensen has one year remaining as well, though we're almost certain he's not leaving, and most definitely not on a buyout.
UPDATE (6:25pm): The Olesz talk is evidently moot, since he cannot be bought out while injured...my enormous mistake for overlooking that nugget. Thanks to Harvey/Sun-Sentinel for clarification.
All numbers per CapGeek.