The Senators have placed Bobby Butler on waivers. If he clears at noon tomorrow he'll be bought out for 1/3 of the 1.2 million left on his contract. The Sens will save 800,000 in real cash. The cap hit after the buyout will be 75,000 this season and 200,000 next.
Here is the exact language from the CBA with the pertinent parts in bold and my comments in italics:
11.18 Ordinary Course Buy-Outs Outside the Regular Period.Clubs shall have the right to exercise Ordinary Course Buy-Outs outside the regular period for Ordinary
Course Buy-Outs in accordance with Paragraph 13(c)(ii) of the SPC. Each Club shall be
limited to no more than three (3) such buyouts over the term of this Agreement pursuant
to Paragraph 13(c)(ii) of the SPC. However, in the event that a Club has only one salary
arbitration hearing pursuant to Section 12.3(a) in a given League Year, such Club shall
not be entitled to exercise such a buyout outside the regular period for Ordinary Course
Buy-Outs. No Club shall exercise an Ordinary Course Buy-out outside the regular period
for any Player earning less than $1 million.
The phrase pursuant to section to 12.3(a) is the key here as it deals only with club-elected arbitration. The only arbitration case the Sens had was for Kaspars Daugavins, who was the party that filed, not the club. Therefore, the Sens are allowed to buy-out a contract if they so choose later this week.
As far as the timing for a possible buy-out? First, the club must put the player on waivers for the purpose of buying him out. If he's claimed, great. If not, you buy out the contract. The buy-out period really starts ticking the day an arbitrator rules on a contract, or the day the two sides that were headed for arbitration settle on a new contract. The club must wait three days before waiving the player. In the Sens case, since Daugavins signed yesterday, the earliest would be Thursday. Starting Thursday the Sens would have 48 business hours complete the process of waiving and buying out a player. See below for the exact language:
Section 13(ii) of Standard Player's Contract:
For Clubs who have Club or Player elected Salary Arbitration filings
pursuant to Article 12, within the forty-eight (48) hour period beginning on the third day
following the later of: (i) the Club's receipt of its last salary arbitration award; or (ii) settlement
of its last case (provided such award was received or such settlement occurred after 7:00 p.m.
New York time; awards or settlements that occurred or were received after 7:00 p.m. New York
time will be deemed to have occurred or received the following business day for purposes of this
All this means is that the Sens have the option to buy-out a player. The obvious follow-up question is, should they? You can argue both sides.
(i)-According to http://capgeek.com, once Stephane Da Costa is re-signed there will be 48 contracts counting against the Sens reserve list. The limit is 50. When you factor in the fact a teenaged Mika Zibanejad will also count by being in Ottawa or Binghamton, that brings the number to a very too close for comfort 49. Being that close can really limit in season flexibility (note-signed junior aged players don't count towards 50 limit unless they're pro in North America).
(ii)-The Daugavins signing gives the Sens 13 forwards on one way contracts. That doesn't include players like Silfverberg, Zibanejad, Stone, Noesen, Hoffman etc...who are all still on entry level deals. They're could be just too many forwards in the mix right now for a team that is still "building a foundation", as head coach Paul Maclean likes to say.
(iii)-Money. For example. Does Bobby Butler really fit in? He is set to make 1.2 million dollars in the upcoming final season of his deal. Since he's under 26, he can be bought out for 1/3 of that which would equate to a savings of $800,000 in cold hard cash for owner Eugene Melnyk.
(i)-Despite already having 13 forwards, 6 defensemen and 2 goalies on one way contracts (I include Cowen in that as he is obviously on the team), as it stands today according to http://capgeek.com, the Sens are still about three million dollars under the salary floor. However, the floor could certainly go down once the new CBA is hammered out. Whenever the hell that day comes.....
***Amendment to post. The source info goes by calendar year and therefore doesn't account for early birthdays. Therefore, the teenage list even more exclusive. It's actually 10, not 17. Apologies.***
It appears Mark Stone will be suiting up for the Ottawa Senators tonight for game five of eastern conference quarterfinals against the New York Rangers. If he does, he'll become just the *11th* teenager to have their first NHL game be a playoff game. Here's the list:
18 year olds: (4)
Gaye Stewart 1942
Rod Brind'Amour 1989
Mike Modano 1989
Jarome Iginla 1996
19 year olds: (6)
Gerry Couture 1945
Marcel Pronovost 1950
Gary Leeman 1983
Bob Halkidis 1985
Dan Vincelette 1987
Daniel Marois 1988
Mark Stone? 2012
With the post season set to begin for the Senators tomorrow night in New York, there is still a lot of buzz amongst the fan base regarding the availability of two of the organization's top prospects. That "buzz" picked up again yesterday when Mika Zibanejad (who turns 19 next week) spent the entire practice skating with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek on the Senators top line. However, the plan was, and is, for the 6th overall pick in the 2011 Draft to head to Binghamton and play in the B-Sens final two games of the season this Friday and Saturday http://senators.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=627322. Yesterday he skated with Spezza and Michalek, this morning he was with Mike Hoffman and Jack Downing.
What happens with Zibanejad next is where it gets interesting. Senators assistant G.M. Tim Murray is sending Director of Player Development Randy Lee along with pro scouts Jim Clark and Rob Murphy to watch Zibanejad play. Murray says it's not about whether or not the young forward can rack of up some points, but he and the brass want to get better handle on his energy level and pace of play. Zibanejad suffered through a tough season in the Swedish Elite League where he battled through an illness and also received a concussion. Sending 3 scouts to watch him play this weekend is all about gauging whether or not it's worth it to at least make him available to Paul Maclean at some point this post season.
If you are concerned about Zibanejad burning up year one of his entry level contract (by playing one more NHL game), don't be. To quote Tim Murray:
"The burning the year here for me doesn't mean anything, he's a top end player that's gonna get his money, he's gonna get his term down the road...but in saying that it is a big decision and you want to be sure that he does bring you that jump, that life and that energy. They're going to keep a close eye on him down there (with Binghamton) and just see where he's at from a physical standpoint."
It should be pointed out that under the terms of the C.B.A, there's a big difference between the 10 game threshold and the one that comes at 40 games. When a junior aged player hits the 10 game mark, year one of his entry level contract burned, but that doesn't put him any closer to unrestricted free agency. That year is burned at the 40 game mark which is the threshold for an accrued NHL season. When players enter the league the clock starts ticking on their wait to becoming a unrestricted by either spending 7 years in the league or hitting their 27th birthday, whichever comes first. In some cases, burning year one of entry level could actually be beneficial. More from Tim Murray:
"Actually by burning the year we get rid of potentially the one year of bonuses that he could make. As I talked to his agent yesterday, neither side is sure who gains by burning the year...He's got 3 years of potentially decent bonus money, you have to assume that he would achieve that in his third year..but there is the potential that he doesn't max out his full earning power by burning a year. That's not a reason we'd do it (play him to burn year 1), I'm just giving you both sides of the story."
Meanwhile, the organization's top prospect is continuing his dominant season in Sweden. Jakob Silfverberg has Brynas up 1-0 in the finals. A series that could end as early as this Sunday, or at the latest April 21st. Tim Murray has been contact with his Silfverberg's agents since the start of the Elite League playoffs:
"We've made it clear we want him here. They're going to do their due diligence and get his release from the national team is what I'm told. When he's done there...he wants to be here. Legitimately, I could see him getting in the line-up. He's a helluva player. It's not like you're putting a kid in the lineup, he's 3 years in the elite league...he's the second youngest MVP (Peter Forsberg) ever...Apart from being in the American League, his development has been outstanding and we believe that he's ready for the next step."
Note: Due to his age, Silfverberg burns year one of his entry level deal this year regardless.
Here is the link for our interview with Tim Murray:
What a difference a year makes. At this time last year the Sens top prospect at centre was probably Jim O'Brien. Since then the club has picked up Stephane Da Costa, Mika Zibanejad, and now Kyle Turris. This doesn't guarantee anything, but it at least gives the organization three new "possibles" for that much talked about 2nd line centre position over the next couple of years. Remember, even though the Sens are hanging around the 8th spot right now, this is a rebuild, what's happening now is gravy.
Having said that, don't tell that to the players or head coach Paul Maclean. As Herm Edwards told us "you play....to win.....the games". Not too long ago Peter Regin was injured, Nick Foligno was strictly a winger and Kyle Turris was holding out in Phoenix. Those are three options to fill that second line centre spot right now that weren't there couple of weeks ago.
Despite the return of Regin and the great play from Foligno of late, Turris is going to get that spot right away. The aforementioned two could very well be his wingers (until the return of Michalek). You don't trade David Rundblad and just wait and see. With Regin and Foligno back on the wing, the odd man out is obviously Bobby Butler. With Spezza and Turris as the centres, it's hard to see a scenario(barring injury or another move)where the underachieving winger plays ahead of Michalek*, Alfredsson, Regin, Foligno or Greening in the top 6.
As far as the actual trade is concerned. It's always risky when a G.M. gives up a young unproven asset with plenty of upside. Both the Sens and Coyotes are in the same boat on this one, but good on Don Maloney for creating a market/bidding war for Turris and getting a 2nd round pick. If you're Bryan Murray you can live with giving up Rundblad as it has become apparent that the big money on the blue-line will be going to Karlsson and eventually Cowen for the foreseeable future.
Like any trade of this nature, there's no way to pass judgement on it until a few years have passed. After all that's been written and said it will simply come down to which player doesn't reach his full potential.
Now that the Nikita Filatov experiment is over for this season (maybe for good) the question I have is, how long will the Bobby Butler experiment last? G.M. Bryan Murray and head coach Paul Maclean made it abundantly clear today, if you're a player that is expected to put up points, then you'd better do just that. Both Murray and Maclean acknowledge that's not really fair, but that's NHL hockey. They're right. Which brings us to Bobby Butler. He's worked hard all season, but what exactly is the young winger bringing if he's not scoring? He's in exactly the same position Filatov was. A young player that has been given opportunity (Butler even more-so) that has failed to take advantage.
The difference between Butler and Filatov is their contracts. Having scored just twice in 21 games (both coming in the same game), I would assume if Butler was still on entry level he would have already spent some time in Binghamton this season. He is in year one of a two year, one way contract, that pays him 900,000 this season. However, despite being on a one way, inexperience in the NHL means Butler still has to play 11 NHL games before he is no longer waiver exempt ( http://bit.ly/sLOV1M).
After once again getting his share of minutes with top 6 players (which included power play time) in recent games, Butler found himself back on the 4th line again for practice today. Now that Peter Regin is healthy, his window to show something in the top 6 has probably closed for the time being. Why not take advantage of his waiver exempt status while it still exists? See if some time in Bingo can rekindle a scoring touch saw him pot 45 goals in 106 pro games last season. Like Filatov, Butler is a young player that's expected to score. The Sens have other players to do the 'little things". It's not fair, but that's the NHL.
- ▼ 2012 (5)
- ► 2011 (16)
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