There won’t be any contractual buyouts in the near future for the New Jersey Devils before the start of the 2013-14 season according to the team’s General Manager, Lou Lamoriello. In an interview with the Star Ledger, Lamoriello said that using one or both of the club’s amnesty buyouts was not on his current agenda.
Under the NHL’s post lockout collective bargaining agreement, each team is allowed two buyouts, paying two-thirds of what is let on a player’s contract without taking a hit to the salary cap. Each team has this post season as well as the next to use them or lose them.
The Philadelphia Flyers have been the first team to take advantage of the opportunity to cut some dead weight from their roster in addition to cutting some costs, buying out the final two years of 15-year-veteran forward Danny Briere’s contract. Perhaps the next player to be given his walking papers will be Brad Richards of the New York Rangers and his hefty salary. Richards’ was a $12-million man for the Blueshirts last season.
“We’re not contemplating a buyout at this point,” Lamoriello explained in the Ledger. “You have two years to do it and you can do it with two contracts. Right now there is no thought of a buyout. Could that change? Yes. I would tell the player if I was going to do it and I have not told any players.”
However, Lamoriello might want to reconsider that stance given the fact that some drastic changes need to be made since the Devils have failed to qualify for the post season two of the last three years.
Two players which immediately come to mind are defensemen, Anton Volchenkov and Henrik Tallinder. Neither player has paid the dividends they were supposed to when they were brought on board as free agents in the summer of 2010.
Lamoriello has yet to make any headway on putting together deals for Patrik Elias, David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus either. All three are set to become free agents when the dust settles on the firework festivities and barbeques at noon July 5.
“We’re hopeful with all of them,” Lamoriello said. “Patrik has always been a priority. We’ll just have to keep working until it’s final.”
Money could be a sticking point for Elias who may be looking for a considerable raise. Elias is at the end of his seven-year, $42 million contract. However, at 37, Elias is clearly nearing the end of his esteemed career in the Garden State. If there is another Devil besides Martin Brodeur who should retire wearing red and black, it is Elias, but at what price?
Former Calder Trophy finalist, Adam Henrique is due to become a restricted free agent, but headway has not been made with him either.
It will certainly be interesting to see how it all plays out in the upcoming week and a half considering the large number of restricted and unrestricted free agents the Devils have. Everything cannot stay “status quo” which is an expression Lamoriello is very fond of using when asked to describe the day-to-day operations of the team.