If the New York Islanders needed to buy out a player who would be the best target? Who would provide the biggest cap savings immediately and who would provide the best savings?
It’s a hypothetical situation, but if the New York Islanders needed to buy someone out who would that be? This all comes about from the New York Rangers announcing that Kevin Shattenkirk will be bought out.
Of course, the New York Islanders aren’t facing the same cap crunch the New York Islanders are facing. But if the Islanders had signed Artemi Panarin instead of the Rangers they just might be.
So looking at the New York Islanders roster, who would be the best buyout candidate in terms of cap relief right now, over the entire course of their buyout, and who presents the best savings?
First I just wanted to state that I didn’t look at anyone with a single year left on their deal. Teams typically just ride it out that final year.
Second, I also didn’t look at anyone that was just signed. That means no Brock Nelson, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, or Semyon Varlamov. Even in this hypothetical situation, it wouldn’t make any sense to sign them just to buy them out.
Best Year One Cap Relief
In this hypothetical situation, the Islanders need to create cap space immediately. The biggest savings in year one is on Johnny Boychuk’s deal. Boychuk carries a $6 million AAV, a buyout would clear $5.056 million from the Islanders salary cap this year.
That changes over the next two years of the buyout. Boychuk’s cap hit jumps from $944,444 in year one of the buyout to $5.694 million in the years two and three. The next three years balance out at $944,444.
So while a Boychuk buyout could save the Islanders a ton of money this year it wouldn’t save much over the next two years.
Best Total Cap Relief
I also wanted to look at who could save the New York Islanders the most money over the course of the buyout. While Boychuk saves the Islanders $5.056 million this season, he only saves $2.833 million over the entirety of the buyout.
Josh Bailey, on the other hand, could save the New York Islanders a total of $7.667 million over the course of a ten-year buyout.
Bailey carries a $5 million cap hit. If the New York Islanders were to buy him out now, his cap hit for the 2019-20 season would be $533,333, that’s a savings of $4.467 million. Over the next two seasons, his cap hit goes up to $1.533 million. In years four and five it goes up again to $3.033 million. In the final five years of the buyout, the cap hit drops back to $1.533 million.
A Nick Leddy buyout comes in at second for best total cap relief with a savings of $6.5 million over a six-year buyout. Averaging out the savings for the duration of the buyout, Nick Leddy actually represents better year-over-year savings.
Who saves the Islanders the most money based on the remaining cap hit and the total cap hit savings? Josh Bailey might save the Islanders the most dollars, but that $7.667 million only represents 30.67 percent of his deal.
The best rate of savings is with Adam Pelech. Pelech’s deal is still going to cost the Islanders $3.2 million on the cap over the next two years. A buyout would save the Islanders $2.95 million on the cap, or 92.19 percent of Pelech’s cap hit.
That’s thanks to a $43,750 cap hit in year one and a $531,250 cap savings in year two. Yes, buying out Adam Pelech now would create $531,250 in cap space.
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That’s an interesting wrinkle for Adam Pelech. If for some reason things don’t work out they could shop him around for cap relief, much like the Ottawa Senators did with Jared Cowen a few years ago.
Again, the New York Islanders aren’t in the same position the New York Rangers are, but I thought with the timing this would be an interesting exercise.