DanielBriere


The five most impactful compliance buyouts in 2013.

 

The NHL's new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its new rules allowed teams two free buyouts that could be use either last summer or the one coming up. A total of 15 players were bought out last year and more are expected after the postseason is over.

 

The implication of each buyout can be very significant in many ways. The player's former team has freed a roster spot and has taken a contract off of its salary cap payroll. The player's new team signed the player to fill a need. The player himself has a new cap hit which impacts his cap-league fantasy value as well as a new opportunity.

 

Today we will look at the five most significant compliance buyouts from last summer as well as their impact on all parties involved.


Daniel Briere


Old Cap Hit (PHI): $6,500,000
New Cap Hit (MTL): $4,000,000 (two years)


Impact on the Flyers

 

Briere's buyout enabled the team to sign fellow compliance buyout Vincent Lecavalier (more on him later).


Impact on the Canadiens

 

Briere was basically the replacement of Michael Ryder and Erik Cole who had similar cap hits last year.


Outlook

 

Briere's tenure as a Flyer ended last summer after the undersized forward saw his production decline over the prior two seasons. He elected to sign in Montreal at a cap hit of $4 million, a mark that had to be appealing to poolies given his history of production at the offensive end of the ice. Even at his age of 36 there was a possibility that he puts up enough points to justify his new deal without the risk of being a fantasy disaster at his old cost.

 

Unfortunately, the decline in points continued as he once again posted a worse points-per-game tota than the year before. Those that rolled the dice were surely left disappointed. In leagues that do not use finances Briere could be seen as a decent buy-low option for next year in case he rebounds. Unfortunately, the cost against the cap is simply too great to justify the risk as there is a good chance that he will once again be a fantasy liability next year.

 

To put things in perspective, here are Briere's point totals over the last four years:

 

Year

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

Pts/G

2011

PHI

77

34

34

68

0.88

2012

PHI

70

16

33

49

0.70

2013

PHI

34

6

10

16

0.47

2014

MON

69

13

12

25

0.36

 

Ilya Bryzgalov

 

Old Cap Hit (PHI): $5,666,667
New Cap Hit (EDM/MIN): $2,266,234 (one year)


Impact on the Flyers

 

Bryzgalov was a disaster in Philadelphia and had to be shown the door one way or another. His successor, Steve Mason, had a fine campaign in the starter role making Bryzgalov a distant memory.


Impact on the Oilers/Wild

 

Bryzgalov was signed as the Oilers began shaking things up in their crease. He was then traded to the Wild at the trade deadline to cover for Josh Harding's absence.


Outlook

 

Even though Bryzgalov's playoff numbers are not very good right now, he probably bought himself another year in the NHL due to his overall body of work. You could argue that his outlook is more positive now than it was last summer when the Flyers ditched the goaltender. Bryzgalov's fantasy value for next year depends on where he signs. If he is paired with a shaky or inexperienced starter then he is certainly a dark horse to post strong numbers. Opportunity will be the key.


Tom Gilbert

Old Cap Hit (MIN): $4,000,000
New Cap Hit (FLA): $900,000 (one year)


Impact on the Wild

 

The Wild are big spenders and needed the cap space obtained by this buyout. The team opted to fill out its depth with the likes of Keith Ballard, Nate Prosser and Jonathon Blum, all much cheaper options.


Impact on the Panthers

 

The team signed a few veteran blueliners late in the offseason to round out their roster and to add experience to their farm squad. Gilbert was by far the most effective of the bunch and spent the entire season in Florida.


Outlook

 

Gilbert finished second among Florida defenders with 28 points, bested only by Brian Campbell. This was his best total since 2010 when he was in Edmonton. In most deeper leagues Gilbert became a solid option as a cheap productive defenseman to fill the final roster spot. Watch for similar veterans that get bought out this summer. Depending on the signing price and team, the player that was once too expensive for his NHL team can become a bargain revelation. Gilbert certainly did not set the world on fire but a different player could have a bigger fantasy impact.

 

Looking ahead, Gilbert should be due for a raise this summer. He certainly did enough to earn more than the $900,000 he earned this year. Unfortunately, this could very easily take him out of fantasy relevance. He was certainly underpaid this year considering what he brought to the table.


Mikhail Grabovski

Old Cap Hit (TOR): $5,500,000
New Cap Hit (WSH): $3,000,000 (one year)


Impact on the Leafs

 

Grabovski's cap hit was replaced by David Clarkson's arrival in Toronto. The total impact of this change will not be known for years. So far Clarkson has not had a big impact with his new club.


Impact on the Capitals

 

Grabovski subbed in for the departed Mike Ribeiro and played well overall considering his less-than-optimal ice time.


Outlook

 

Grabovski's case is a good example of how a buyout and a change of scenery can make a player appealing in cap leagues. His 35 points in 58 games (on pace for 49 over 82 games) are respectable in this era. His $3-million cap hit is barely above-average which makes him a low-risk investment.

 

While his campaign can be seen as a success, he did not overachieve which makes it unlikely that he will receive a big raise if he gets one. This will help him retain value in cap leagues as a quality secondary scorer.


Vincent Lecavalier


Old Cap Hit (TB): $7,727,273
New Cap Hit (PHI): $4,500,000 (five years)


Impact on the Lightning

 

Lecavalier's contract was simply too expensive for what he was bringing to the table. His departure allowed for some NHL-ready prospects to get looks. With Lecavalier in town Tyler Johnson would have had more difficulty finding prime ice time even when injuries became a factor and likely would not have had as successful of a rookie campaign.


Impact on the Flyers

 

Lecavalier was brought in after Briere was bought out by the Flyers. It was a case of swapping out a smaller underachieving forward for a slightly younger and bigger centerman.


Outlook

 

A look at Lecavalier's points-per-game stats in the years following his decline from the very top of the league will show the extent of his struggles in Philadelphia this year:

 

Year

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

Pts/G

2009

TB

77

29

38

67

0.87

2010

TB

82

24

46

70

0.85

2011

TB

65

25

29

54

0.83

2012

TB

64

22

27

49

0.77

2013

TB

39

10

22

32

0.82

2014

PHI

69

20

17

37

0.54

 

Even though Lecavalier's durability had become a problem, his rate of production per game remained remarkably consistent over his last five years in Tampa Bay. This year he did well as a goal-scorer but his assists were way down leading to a poor point total. To make matters worse, his ice time hit rock bottom this postseason as he played 18 combined minutes over the last two games of the Flyers' playoff run.

 

Given his contract it is probably a good idea to stay away from him in keeper cap leagues especially if there are penalties for dropping players while under contract. He has the ability to increase his output but the cost and term make him incredibly risky to own, not to mention the emergence of other centermen in the organization potentially eating away even more at his ice time.

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