The Columbus Blue Jackets must have been humming and hawing about this decision, but on Thursday, they finally pulled the trigger and played the buyout card on forward Scott Hartnell. Since Hartnell had a no-move clause on his deal, he did not require waivers for the buyout, so the deed is done.
In the 2017 season, the 35-year old finished the year with 13 goals and 37 points in 78 games, good enough to be pool worthy at 155th among all forwards in scoring. Sadly for him, that wasn't worth $4.75 million against the cap and the quickest way out was the buyout.
According to CapFriendly, the buyout cap hit will then be $1.5 million this year, $3 million next year and then $1.25 million for the remaining two seasons. With the addition of Hartnell's buyout, the Jackets now have over $4 million in buyout cap hits this season, but still have $11.9 million in cap space with a 22-man projected roster.
The Edmonton Oilers had to go the waiver route on Thursday, placing forward Benoit Pouliot on the wire for the purposes of the buyout process.
Unlike Hartnell, Pouliot was not pool worthy in the 2017 season, having only 8 goals and 14 points in 67 games, only good enough for 307th among all forwards. He was scheduled to be a $4 million cap hit in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, if it wasn't for this buyout process.
Again, we head back to CapFriendly to see that his buyout will be an even one across the board, as the cap hit for the four years will be $1.333 million. The 30-year old will join the ranks of the unrestricted free agent market on Saturday, where he will probably get some calls, but for a much more discounted annual rate.
The Oilers are starting free agency with all kinds of room underneath the cap ceiling, as their current 22-man projected roster is still over $1 million below the cap floor. Of course, they still have to deal with Leon Draisaitl and that will take up a huge chunk of change.