Potential 2014 Sharks Compliance Buyouts

When the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed in January 2013, teams were given the option of buying out up to two pre-CBA signed contracts without any cap hit. (That is contracts signed before the September 2012 lockout started.) These are called Compliance Buyouts.

(This is in addition to the Regular Buyouts which have an impact on a team’s cap hit.)

The buyout period (Compliance or Regular) begins 48 hours after the Stanley Cup is raised (6/16 9pm PT this year), and ends 6/30 8:59pm PT. Excepting those players with No Movement Clauses who waive their right, teams must put players on unconditional waivers (over 24 hours from 9am PT to the following day at the same time) before the buyout can occur.

There are seven players under contract to the Sharks that are potential Compliance Buyout Candidates.  (But three are not going to happen; no way, no how.)

Under General Manager Doug Wilson, the Sharks have never bought out a player. (And I don’t recall any player ever being bought out by the organization. UPDATE: Friend reminded me that Ray Whitney was bought out in 1997. So have to categorize it as rare of very infrequently.)

Martin Havlat (contract signed 2009)

Martin Havlat was acquired by the Sharks in July 2011 in trade for Dany Heatley.

His time with the Sharks has been filled with numerous injuries and limited offensive impact.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson has already announced that Martin Havlat will not be returning to the Sharks.  So that means either a buyout or trade. But Havlat has a No Movement Clause so could block a trade to any team he does not want to go to.

Marti’s 2014-15 contract pays him $6M with a cap hit of $5M. A buyout would be $4M paid out over two years ($2M per year).

DW may be seeking to trade him, but might have to retain salary.  As long as he retains less than $4M, he’s saving $$ in the long run. (Teams can only retain up to 50% in salary, or $3M, which would also result in a cap hit to the Sharks of $2.5M.)

My gut: 60% chance that the Sharks buy him out (vs being traded).

Antti Niemi (contract signed in 2011)

Antti Niemi was signed to a four year deal in 2011.  Niemi’s 2014-15 contract pays him $4M with a cap hit of $3.8M.  A buyout would be $2,666,666 paid out over two years ($1,333,333 per year).

Niemi has not had the same success playing for the Sharks that he enjoyed with the Blackhawks (where he won the Stanley Cup).  His play has been very sieve-like at times.

Many fans have called for Niemi to be gone. Or at least platooning with Alex Stalock.

The Sharks also have the ability to trade him, which I think they’d rather do (to an Eastern Conference team) than buy him out, for a decent veteran goalie.

My gut: 20% chance that the Sharks buy him out.

Brent Burns (contract signed in 2011)

Brent Burns signed a five year extension in 2011.  Burns’s 2014-15 contract pays him $5.76M with the same cap hit .  A buyout would be $11.52M paid out over six years ($1.92 per year).

Burns has been a “team player” switching from defense to forward (and now going back to defense for 2014-15).  He has been decent defensively and an asset offensively.

And he’d never clear buyout waivers.

My gut: 0% chance that the Sharks buy him out.

Justin Braun (contract signed in 2012)

Justin Braun was signed to a three year deal in 2012.  Braun’s 2014-15 contract pays him $1.5M with a cap hit of $1.25M.  A buyout would be $1M paid out over two years ($500k per year).

But as he is part of the “young core” that DW has been touting, and a good serviceable player at a decent salary, I do not believe the Sharks would consider buying him out (especially as he would not even clear waivers).

My gut: 0% chance that the Sharks buy him out.

Adam Burish (contract signed in 2012)

Adam Burish was signed to a four year deal in 2012.  Burish’s 2014-15 contract pays him $1.85M, which is also the cap hit.  A buyout would be $2,466,668 paid out over four years ($616,667 per year).

Burish had a good 2012-13 season, but after a preseason injury, spent most of 2013-14 on the IR (playing only 17 regular season games).

Sharks did find other players to fill his role while he was sidelined, but I think they’d prefer to trade him than buy him out.

My gut: 40% chance that the Sharks buy him out.

Brad Stuart (contract signed in 2012)

Brad Stuart was signed to a three year deal in 2012.  Stuart’s 2014-15 contract pays him $3.6M, which is also the cap hit.  A buyout would be $2.4M paid out over two years ($1.2M per year).

There has been some speculation that Stuart may be a player that DW was referring to when he said he wants players who want to play in San Jose, not just live in San Jose. It was widely telegraphed before summer of 2012, that Brad Stuart wanted to return to San Jose (or at least California) to be near his family. He was not as defensively effective as Scott Hannan on the ice in 2013-14.

Stuart has a No Trade Clause, and would probably not waive it, so the only option of removing him from the roster may be a buyout.

My gut: 50% chance that the Sharks buy him out.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic (contract signed in 2012)

March-Edouard Vlasic was signed to a five year extension in 2012.  Vlasic’s 2014-15 contract pays him $4.25M, which is also the cap hit.  A buyout would be $11,333,336 paid out over eight years ($1,416,667 per year).

Vlasic is the defensive rock of the Sharks blue line, and often mentioned in DW’s future discussions.  And there’s no chance he’d clear buyout waivers.

My gut: 0% chance that the Sharks buy him out.

Update 6/27:

Sharks announce Havlat to be compliance bought out.  (And no other players will be bought out.)