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Islanders: 3 Buyouts That Save Big Money

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Goaltender Semyon Varlamov #40 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The Islanders are in a cap crunch over the next few years. Here’s how they could save some money with buyouts.

When looking at the New York Islanders, it’s evident that they are going to have to try to free up some money. While in a perfect world freeing yourself of Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ladd’s contracts would be amazing.

The one issue with that is that they are essentially buyout proof. Buying out Boychuk only frees up $833,333 over the next two years before it becomes a $416,667 cap hit for two years after that. It’s not nearly enough relief to be worthwhile.

Ladd’s is even worse, it only frees up $666,667 over the next three years and then costs you $333,333 for three years after the deal expires.

Sure, you can try to trade them but you’re not going to get a lot and in Ladd’s case, you are likely going to have to attach a high-level prospect or pick to him to get any team to consider bringing on his cap number.

What I wanted to do today was look at three contracts that the Isles could buyout that actually gives them some savings.

Cal Clutterbuck – 2020 Offseason Buyout – $1.67 Million In Savings

If the Islanders decided to buyout Cal Clutterbuck, it would save them $1.67 million against the cap for the next two years before costing them $833,333 in 2023 and 2024. What the Islanders are worried about is the next two years.

They have a ton of RFA’s to get done and by the time the $833,333 hit comes around you could likely assume a significant cap increase. The $1.67 million alone in savings isn’t a ton but when you add a trade or two in the mix, it could make sense for the Islanders.

The Isles also have cheaper options that could fill that role on the fourth line if they decide to move on from Clutterbuck, like Michael Dal Colle or Ross Johnston.

Nick Leddy – 2020 Offseason Buyout – $4.5 Million In Savings

Ideally, you trade Nick Leddy for a pick and free up the entirety of his salary. But let’s say for some reason you’re unable to get anything in return for him, a buyout (although unlikely) would save the Isles some significant cash.

In the first two years, it would save the Islanders $4.25 million and $4.75 million before costing them $2.25 million against the cap. Yes, the last two years of cap hits is a decent chunk, but would you care about that if it frees up the space to make the team a contender in this two-year window?

Again, a trade is the preferable option, but if the Islanders had to get creative, buying out Nick Leddy would save them big time in the immediate future.

Semyon Varlamov – 2021 Offseason Buyout – $3.33 Million In Savings

Obviously, you need Varlamov for next year. It’ll likely be a Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin one-two punch in net with Sorokin on a $2 million deal. It’s probably fair to assume that if Sorokin plays well he’ll be looking for a long-term extension.

It makes no sense to keep Varlamov around at a $5 million cap hit on top of whatever you would pay Sorokin next year. A buyout would save the Islanders $4.33 million in 2021-2022 and $2.33 million in 2022-2023.

It would then cost them $1.67 million in 2024 and 2025 but the cap should go up by then and the Islanders will be out of most of their bad contracts like Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, and Andrew Ladd by that time.

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Lou Lamoriello is going to have to have a creative offseason to get Mathew Barzal, Devon Toews, and Ryan Pulock locked in here. I’m very curious to see how he does it, and if he intends to use buyouts as a part of his solution.

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