Yesterday, we wrote about the growing possibility that the NHL may consider bringing back at least one compliance buyout for teams. The speculation is due to the lost revenue with a truncated season causing the salary cap not rise to $84M and stay stagnant at $81.5M. That would put a tremendous strain on teams like the Rangers and their ability to re-sign all their RFA’s.
The Rangers and Compliance Buyouts
A compliance buyout is basically debt forgiveness by the league. It will allow a team to buyout a contract with zero cap penalties. In a recent article on Sportsnet by Luke Fox he noted that the last time the NHL allowed two compliance buyouts after 2012-13 lockout, 28 players were bought out. The Rangers used theirs on Wade Redden in 2013 and Brad Richards in the summer of 2014. Fox also speculated on who he believes would be a candidate for one and Henrik Lundqvist was mentioned.
Fans Support a Lundqvist Buyout
What should be noted is that the speculation of an outright Lundqvist buyout has already been written by the likes of Larry Brooks and others. The savings would only be $3M off his current $8.5M leaving the Rangers with $5.5M in dead cap space next season and a penalty of $1.5M off the their cap in 2021-22.
Rangers fans voted yesterday and the poll is still ongoing to utilize the compliance buyout on Henrik Lundqvist. With over 1000 votes, approximately 75% would use that special buyout on Lundqvist rather than get him to waive his no move clause for a trade. A trade would only save a max of $4.25M with 50% salary retention anyway. The only way to regain all $8.5 of his cap hit is for him to retire, which is unlikely, or a compliance buyout. Should the NHL and NHLPA agree to bring that back this offseason, the Rangers now know that fans would support it. A sad end for the King no doubt, but we need to remember this is still a business.