The buyout period is just about over already (ending on June 30th), although as of now we’ve seen very few buyouts. The Red Wings certainly have their fair share of candidates, as seen with Ken Holland’s terrible ability with the veteran players contracts. So, let’s take a look at a few Red Wings we could see bought out, as well as a couple that they maybe should consider.
First, a bit of information on buyouts. There are two different types of buyouts, based on age: under 26, where the player gets 1/3 of their remaining salary, and 26 and older, where the player gets 2/3 of their remaining salary. Whatever the cost, that salary is averaged over twice the remaining years. Since all three candidates are 26 or older, the 1/3 salary doesn’t apply to them.
To calculate the cap hit, it’s a bit more complicated, but I’ll try to explain it simply. You calculate it on a year by year basis, where you take the cap hit of the player, subtract his salary from that year, and add it to his buyout salary of that year. Once you reach the point where his contract would have ended, and there is no cap hit or salary, his buyout hit is simply his buyout salary. If this is too complicated for words, give the buyout charts a look, and it might help.
Ericsson had an okay season offensively, garnering 15 points in 71 games, but it’s his defensive game is what’s lacking. His 49.73% 5v5 CF, 47.58% xGF, and 52.22 CA60 are all displays of that. Even the eye test knows that he always seems to be the one caught on the ice when the other team scores. He’s also 32, and has four more years on a $4.25 million contract. He’s a liability on the ice, and on the cap. Of all the Red Wings players, Ericsson makes the most sense to buyout.
What are the chances: Not likely. Remember, Ericsson is part of the Swedish mafia, and one of the long time veterans. While he is the worst Red Wing in terms of play and cap hit, there is no way Ken Holland betrays his loyalty to the veterans by buying them out, even if it makes perfect sense.
Franzen played in only two games this season, registering one lone assist. After suffering from concussion issues in 2014-15, it took those two games for them to return, and he sat on the LTIR for the rest of the season. Like Ericsson, there’s four more years left on Franzen’s contract, with a lesser $3,954,545 cap hit. That’s a lot of cap hit to be sitting there doing nothing.
What are the chances: Probably not at all. He’s probably going to sit the rest of his contract out on LTIR, which will eliminate the cap hit if the Wings are in a tight squeeze. Also, do you see Franzen’s buyout hit in 2018-19 and 2019-20. That’s barely saving at all. Also, they can’t buy him out even if they wanted to, as he is injured, and can’t be bought out.
Over the last couple years, Howard has fallen out of favour in the Wings crease. With Petr Mrazek emerging as the starter over the last couple years, it’s tough to say that there is still a spot for him still. While 37 games, and a .906 saver percentage isn’t bad for a back up goalie, a three year, $5,291,666 contract is. So, it makes sense for them to get rid of him, and look elsewhere for a backup.
What are the chances: Of all the candidates that I will name, Howard is the most likely to get bought out. After all, the team is actively shopping his contract, and with the goalie market as weak as it is, there’s no way that the Wings can trade it without having to give up something costly (see: Bickell, Bryan & Teravainen, Teuvo). So, you might as well buy him out, since at worst, his buyout hit reaches $2.68 million for one year, and every other year is under $2 million. That way, you get rid of most of the cap hit, and don’t have to give up something costly.
In conclusion, it’s highly unlikely we see a buyout from the Wings at this point, since they have plenty of cap space from unloading the Datsyuk contract. But, these could be potential buyouts in future years, as the salary and term begin to diminish on these contracts.