NHL Compliance Buyout Window Set To Open

One of the new tools general managers have at their disposal over the course of the next two seasons is a compliance buyout. The idea of a compliance buyout is to help teams get their salary cap number lower with the new CBA. The basic idea is that teams can buyout a player with a bad contract and not have it count against their salary cap number. Teams will have two compliance buyouts available to them if they should choose, but teams are not forced to use a compliance buyout at all if they are comfortable with their rosters.

There are only two windows where compliance buyouts can be used. The first window opens 48 hours after the Stanley Cup final ends, or Wednesday night around 11pm. The second window is next offseason.

So how does a compliance buyout work? Capgeek.com has a great breakdown of the nuts and bolts of how a compliance buyout works. Players that are bought out automatically become unrestricted free agents, but can’t sign with their old team for up to one year.

It will be fascinating to see how general managers across the NHL use this new tool over the next couple weeks. The Philadelphia Flyers announced last week that they would use one of their compliance buyouts on forward Danny Briere. There will likely be more teams that will use this opportunity to help their salary cap number.

Will Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman use this tool? It is an interesting question that really has no clarity. Yzerman has been vague at best when it comes to what his plans are in reports.

“All I would say is we just finished 28th (in the league),” Yzerman said. “We should be looking at every possible way to improve our team. I’m not about to say we’re doing this or we’re not doing that. As an organization, we sit and debate everything.”

Not exactly a confirmation either way on whether or not Yzerman plans to use a compliance buyout, but it makes sense to at least consider. As has been talked about previously, with the salary cap coming down, there is value in having cap space. If you can find a way to gain cap space in the short term, it is something you have to explore.

If Yzerman were to choose to use a compliance buyout on any player, it would likely not be popular in terms of public perception, but at the end of the day, his concern is winning a Stanley Cup, and if using a compliance buyout makes his team better in the long run, it is something he has to consider.