As many of you know, the most recent collective bargaining agreement had a stipulation which allowed teams to reduce the damage that some poor contracts caused. The most notable one was Rick DiPietro - signed to what was then considered to be an outrageous contract it ultimately proved to be a terrible decision by the Islanders.
Only four teams have exercised their two allowable buy-outs; many teams like the Preds have already exercised one (ours being Hall Gill.) Since this year is the last year a team can exercise this right what should the Preds do? I think they need to pull the trigger. Notable candidates are as follows:
- Viktor Stalberg - Many of us were excited to see Poile sign this guy - he was a top-rated prospect for the Hawks and he has lightning in his skates. Many perceived that his biggest problem in Chicago was lack of ice time; in Nashville he struggled at first because of injury and then showed us he could skate but not score. The Preds owe Stalberg $9M over the next three years - he leads my list of buy-out candidates. I really don't think he will change much under Laviollette, he simply has the hands of a sturgeon.
- Paul Gaustad - Great face-off man, one of the best in the league. We paid a handsome price to get him and then signed him after the season he was obtained. But, unlike Stalberg he has great hands but the skates of a snail and he is considerably older. Should we buy him out? He is owed $6.5M over the next two years.
- Eric Nystrom - One of Poile's bad signings last year. We wanted scoring forwards, Poile got us character guys. I really like Eric and I loved what his father did for the Isles. Eric got us some scoring but too many goals happened when he was on the ice. But at $7.5M over 3 years Nystrom carries a significant price tag.
- Rich Clune - At $850,000 a year for two years what are you really saving?
I make mistakes at work and sometimes I have to fess up. Rarely do I get a chance to do so and get off easy. Poile has this chance, now's the time to part ways with Viktor Stalberg and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. We can use his salary cap space to sign a couple of real forwards, my ideal guys are Spezza, Stastny and Moulson. Can you just dream about getting two of those guys?