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FTB: NHL teams exposing regretful contracts in the Expansion Draft

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Plus, the story on the Suter and Parise buyouts.

Dallas Stars v Colorado Avalanche
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 10: Erik Johnson #6 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrates his goal against the Dallas Stars with Gabriel Landeskog #92 and Matt Duchene #9 of the Colorado Avalanche as the Stars held a 2-1 lead in the second period at Pepsi Center on January 10, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Stars 4-3.
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft nears (one week away!), news continues to pour in daily regarding trades, contracts, buyouts and more. On Tuesday, teams were allowed to formally ask players to waive their No-Movement Clauses for the expansion draft, meaning they aren’t forced to protect them. We’ve seen lots of teams do that, with some potentially going overboard with the idea of getting rid of those contracts.

Here’s the list of teams that have asked players to waive their NMCs so far. In every case, the contract is its own albatross, so it’s not like Seattle is going to swoop in and fix anyone’s problems for free.

Waived NMCs

Colorado Avalanche — Erik Johnson

The Avs are exposing their alternate captain and his contract with two years left at $6 million for a chance to keep Devon Toews protected. The team is still far apart on an extension for captain Gabriel Landeskog, so they’ll be able to protect most of the players they want. It’s likely defenseman Ryan Graves or forward JT Compher will be going to Seattle.

Calgary Flames — Milan Lucic

It’s been long-known that Lucic was going to waive his NMC for the draft. After getting Edmonton to retain a nominal amount, Calgary has $5.25 million against the cap under his name for the next two years. After scoring at a whopping 28-point pace in his two seasons with Calgary, it’s pretty obvious Seattle isn’t going to be interested. That infamous contract is nearly done, but there’s still two more long years to go.

As for who Seattle takes from Calgary, Chris Tanev, Oliver Kylington, and some league-min forwards like Dominik Simon will be available. Tanev would be the obvious choice, but it depends on how much Seattle is comfortable absorbing a player that could fall off the playable cliff within the next three years of the deal.

Nashville Predators — Matt Duchene (no NMC)

Six years left at $8 million, Duchene doesn’t have a NMC that kicks in yet so the Preds don’t have to make any difficult phone calls. In the two years since Duchene’s contract started, he’s only scored 19 goals in 100 games for the team, points in general have been at a 45-point pace. That immediately puts to bed any chance that he could be claimed by Seattle. It’s a long, painful contract, and Nashville isn’t getting out of it any time soon.

The team still haven’t figured out their defense situation yet as Dante Fabbro still sits as the fourth defenseman leaving lots of forwards exposed. I’m sure we’ll get their solution in the coming days.

More creative solutions

Nashville Predators — Pekka Rinne (retired)

It was time for the 28-year-old to hang up the skates and give the net over to Juuse Saros. As a UFA, Rinne won’t carry any residual cap hits or anything like that on Nashville’s books.

Minnesota Wild — Ryan Suter and Zach Parise (bought out)

This was the big story of the day. Bill Guerin has bought out the final four years of the matching contracts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. This immediately helps them protect the team’s now three main defensemen (Spurgeon, Dumba, Brodin) and the forwards they want to keep.

The buyouts give the Wild lots of cap space this upcoming season, almost relief compared to the two players original cap hits, even less the next two years, and then less than a million for the four years Parise and Suter weren’t going to be on the roster. You have one year, Wild, have fun?

Michael Russo has done some great reporting on the story (as he often does on his beat), noting the relationship between Guerin and the two players in particular. In short, it sounds like Guerin didn’t want them around any longer.

BTW, I don’t think this is that bad or awkward, but I’m sure there was some tension because the news was so impactful.

Also, should I just call Parise to the Lightning on a league-min contract now?


Various Leafs and Branches

Maple Leafs Expansion Draft Exposure and Protection Scenarios | by: Katya

2021 NHL Draft Profile: Olen Zellweger | by: Brigstew

Saroya Tinker debuts ‘Shut Up and Play’ Podcast | by: The Ice Garden

Canadiens extend Dominique Ducharme, after losing top AHL coach Joël Bouchard to Anaheim Ducks.

Pierre, meet your new friend Stanley.

With the expansion draft and teams being a season removed from the worst of the pandemic, it sounds like it’s going to be easier for the Lightning to shed the contracts they need to shed to get under the salary cap. I’m ready for the three-peat.