A common misconception is that buyouts are more harmful than they are helpful. This has led to many fans believing that the Rangers would be hurting themselves if they were to buy out the contract of Marc Staal this offseason.
In hockey, a buyout is when a team agrees to buyout the contract of a player. They pay the player one-third (if they are under 26) or two-thirds (26 and older) of the contract’s value over two times the length of the contract.
Buyouts allow teams to gain cap flexibility in the present. The biggest concern is that the player’s cap hit doesn’t stop after the original contract would end. Instead, the cap hit stays on the books until the two times the original contract’s length is finished.
The New York Rangers already used a buyout this offseason on Dan Girardi. To demonstrate what a buyout looks like, here is Girardi’s buyout broken down:
The Rangers bought out Girardi during the first buyout window, which has already closed. However, since both Mika Zibanejad and Jesper Fast filed for arbitration, the New York Rangers will get a second buyout window once they sign Zibanejad.
The second window would give the New York Rangers the opportunity to rid themselves of Marc Staal’s dreadful contract and open up space for one of their promising rookie defensemen.
However, there is a misconception that fans have about buyouts. Some fans believe that buying out Staal on top of Girardi would create a “Cap nightmare”. People tend to believe that doing so would create too much dead cap space. But that is simply not true and here’s why.
A buyout would not result in an awful cap hit
To demonstrate that buying Staal out (on top of Girardi) will not create a big cap issue, I did some math, which you can see here:
The cap hit for both buyouts together would be relatively similar to what Marc Staal earns alone for the next four seasons (which is when his current contract is set to end).
Five Million or six million dollars being paid to players not on the roster seems like a bad idea but think about it like this: The Rangers are able to get rid of two of the worst defensemen in the league for roughly the same price they would have been spending on one of them (Staal).
The real dead cap for a buyout comes after the players’ original contract ends. In the case of Marc Staal, that would be in years five to eight of the buyout.
The cap hit for Staal in the seasons after his original contract would have expired is just over $1.4 million. That isn’t harmful at all. It’s less than what Tanner Glass has been making for the last three seasons ($1.45 million)!
Buying out Marc Staal will not create a cap nightmare for the New York Rangers. It will, however, allow them to open up tons of cap space, which can be important if management
Ultimately, it is in the best interest of the Rangers for them to buyout Marc Staal with their second buyout window.