All right, so who’ve you got in this scenario? Obviously when the Calgary Flames start looking at their roster in advance of the 2013-2014 season and have a chance to use one or both of the mulligans at their disposal in an attempt to fix their roster a bit there are certain names who will be safe. Jarome Iginla. Curtis Glencross. Alex Tanguay. Olli Jokinen. But there are some who will be prime candidates to be bought out.
The first and most obvious suggestion will be Jay Bouwmeester and his behemoth cap hit of $6.68M per year, but I’m thinking the Flames won’t use a buyout on him. Despite his -21 rating last season, he did pitch in 29 points, and when you consider how weak their defense is (any team that is willing to give Dennis Wideman a $5.25M cap figure for five years is clearly desperate to bring people over to their team), he is actually decent. Plus he eats up a ton of minutes and hasn’t missed a game in seven seasons. If the Flames hadn’t just signed Wideman to his contract I would think they would buy him out, but he’ll probably be safe too.
If you are Flames GM Jay Feaster, you seriously need to consider buying one or both of Mike Cammalleri and Matt Stajan. I know the potential Cammalleri brings to a somewhat anemic offense is nice, and he will only have one season left on his contract by the time the Flames can buy him out, but Cammalleri will turn 32 this year and hasn’t cleared 50 points in the last three seasons. When you’re cap hit is $6M a year, you need to be playing more like Iginla and less like Shawn Horcoff. And 49 points in two seasons from Stajan with a cap hit of $3.5M per year? Yeah, the Flames can definitely do better than this.
Time will tell whether or not Feaster chooses to exercise either of these buyouts this summer, but since the Flames are currently up against the cap ceiling and figure to have little room next off-season, and since they are often just good enough to maybe make the playoffs each year and not Cup contenders or bottom-feeders and so they can’t effectively rebuild or bring in great new talent via trades or free agency, they might be wise to unload these two players the first chance they get.
Then again, they might just take one look at Bouwmeester’s contract, buy him out and get some scrub from their farm system to put up similar numbers for $5M less than he makes and use the savings on somebody else.