Day two of the NHL’s compliance buyout window, and it sounds like the New Jersey Devils are right in the thick of discussions about whether to use their final one or not. From the Star-Ledger:
Lou Lamoriello said Tuesday that the team is still considering whether to use a compliance buyout by the June 30 deadline to shed one contract from its books.
Although there has been speculation that the Devils could buy out the remaining $8.5 million (two years) on defenseman Anton Volchenkov’s contract, or even the final $3.25 million season on captain Bryce Salvador’s contract, Lamoriello said it’s not definite the team will buy anyone out.
“Absolutely not. You don’t use something juhttps://nhl.nbcsports.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpst for the sake of using it. If it is used it will be for the right reasons, but that’s not saying it will be used,” Lamoriello said.
Last year, the Devils used a compliance buyout on goalie Johan Hedberg just a short while after acquiring Cory Schneider from Vancouver. The move wasn’t so much for cap relief as it was to alleviate a positional logjam; Lamoriello also indicated he made the move out of respect for Hedberg, in the hope the goalie could catch on somewhere else.
“It’s not [Johan’s] fault this transaction took place,” Lamoriello said. “It was [a trade] that we had the opportunity to make, and for the franchise it had to be done. We tried for the last two days to get whatever scenario there was in [Johan’s] best interest and we were unsuccessful.
“He had a no-trade [clause], so we’ve been working together, but we had to do this (buy him out) today.”
With Volchenkov or Salvador, a buyout would be more fiscally driven. Volchenkov’s cap hit is $4.25 million while Salvador’s is $3.167 million, and the former seems like the most probable candidate given his plummeting ice time (Volchenkov averaged the least of any Devils defenseman last year) and the fact he missed extensive time over the last two years with a myriad of injuries.
Salvador, currently serving as the team’s captain, has also struggled mightily with injuries over the last two years but does log solid minute when healthy, averaging over 20 last season.
That said, both are longtime Devils and based on how Lamoriello reacted to buying out Hedberg, getting rid of either Volchenkov or Salvador doesn’t sound like it’ll be an easy decision.