The NHL and the union representing its players have struck a deal to allow unwanted players like Montreal Canadiens centre Scott Gomez and New York Rangers defenceman Wade Redden to be bought out of their expensive contracts immediately.
Originally, the so-called “compliance buyouts” were only supposed to kick in next summer, but the decisions to send the high-priced Gomez and Redden home - and a subsequent review by the union of whether that’s within the scope of the most recent collective agreement - prompted a side deal.
It appears Gomez and Redden could be free to sign with new teams as early as the weekend.
Under the “accelerated buyouts” arrangement reached Tuesday, clubs will be allowed to exercise one of their two buyout options before the season opens, as long as the salary cap charge is above $3 million.
The player will have to be put on waivers no later than Thursday; in the event he isn’t claimed and sent to the minors or loaned to a European club, the player could elect to be paid a pro-rated portion of this year’s salary and up to two-thirds of the remaining value of his contract - the provisions vary.
He would thus become an unrestricted free agent.
The benefit for teams like the Habs and Rangers is this year’s cap hit would be discounted by the $900,000 exemption that comes from sending player like Gomez or Redden to the minors.
The remaining years of the bought-out contract would not count against the cap in future years.