You can bet this buyout talk is going to surround the Minnesota Wild quite a bit in the coming months.
Some would suggest that the Wild consider using their one of their buyouts that were made available to teams following the lockout, in order to help alleviate the stress of a shrinking salary cap, on the likes of Ryan Suter or Zach Parise. The thought of either of those two seeing a buyout is absurd.
Both of them, Parise in particular, were brought in to give this team, in this market, some serious star power. They’re not off to fantastic starts, but give that some time. And perhaps give it a better supporting cast. No way either one gets bought out.
One guy who could be at risk, though, is Dany Heatley. In his second season with the Wild, Heatley has probably already wore out his welcome. He’s been mentioned in trade rumors, but it may be difficult for Minnesota to find a taker for him at this point. A buyout may be the best course of action.
Heatley is obviously past his prime, at 32, but he posted just 53 points in 82 games for the Wild last year. For a guy making what he’s making, that number is unacceptable. The Wild would undoubtedly like to rid themselves of him at this point.
If they hope to do that, the buyout may be what they have to do. Heatley only has one year left on his deal, but it comes with a cap hit of $7.5 million. For a team already holding Suter and Parise under the cap, trying to maintain that type of number, and still ice a decent team, would be a nightmare.
The buyouts will benefit teams with players that have longer terms more than teams with shorter terms, but larger salaries. But in this case, buying Heatley out could benefit the Wild, even if he only has one year left. That $7.5 million cap hit is among the largest in the league. It’s pretty self explanatory how removing that, even if he only has one year left, can be beneficial.
Will the Wild use the buyout on Dany Heatley? It’s possible. Since this doesn’t count against the cap, teams are going to be willing to use them. And if the Minnesota Wild are going to use theirs, who better to use it on than Heatley?