The window for contract buyouts in the NHL has just opened up and will stay open through next week when free agency begins. According to reports from Arthur Staple of Newsday, the New York Islanders have yet to make a move in regards to Rick DiPietro and his contract situation. Since signing his then landmark 15-year, $67.5 million contract prior to the 2006-07 season, DiPietro hasn’t exactly lived up to the deal or the expectations that came with it. His best year was the year he first signed the contract when he won 32 games in the regular season. Since the 2007-08 season, DiPietro hasn’t played more than 28 games in a year due to various injuries.
The point that Staple made in his article was a very valid one in that the Islanders should strongly consider using a buyout on DiPietro. The Islanders still owe about $2.2 million to Alexei Yashin from his buyout a few years back. There are two ways the Islanders can go about doing this.
First there is a compliance buyout, which means they could pay DiPietro $1.5 million a year over the next 16 seasons, meaning $1.5 million would stay on the Islanders salary cap for each of the next 16 years. That’s one option. Option two would be an amnesty buyout, which means the Islanders would pay about $24 million over the next 16 years and have no cap hit. Either way the buyout will last another 16 seasons.
Here’s the way I see this whole situation. The Islanders need to go for the compliance buyout, for both the sake of the organization and DiPietro. Having DiPietro in the minors is a nice way to get his confidence back up, but in the long run it’s hurting his value on the market, which I feel is already damaged. DiPietro’s injury problems that have kept him out of a lot of playing time have been well documented in the last few years. With all the money the Islanders are paying him, it’s making the franchise look really bad right now keeping him on the roster, strictly from a public relations perspective.
I understand that the Islanders are in need of goaltending at the moment. It doesn’t look as if Evgeni Nabakov will be back, although negotiations are still ongoing at the moment in that regard. I don’t really think the other two goalies the Islanders have right now, Andres Nilsson and Kevin Poulin, are really truly ready to carry the work load in the Islanders net. And when it comes to DiPietro, his physical and mental health are of concern. I say for the sake of all parties involved in this situation, the buyout of DiPietro is the best option.
Will that actually happen? I guess we will know within the next week.