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Four potential buyout candidates for the Calgary Flames

NHL teams can now buy players out. The question, is, should the Flames? There are definitely some guys they could do without.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, players simply don't work out on a team. Maybe they're having a down year, or maybe they just aren't as good as originally thought. Maybe they have nothing to contribute, and a team would be better off without them.

Well, now's the time you can simply handwave them away. Until June 30, NHL teams will be allowed to buy out the contracts of less-than-wanted players. After June 30, the only way to get rid of anybody will be to waive them, trade them, or... no, yeah, those are the only two real options.

Buyouts can be tricky, though. Instead of keeping the player on the team for the rest of his contract - and having his cap hit count against you all the while - you can remove the player from your roster. However, buying him out will keep him on the team's cap for twice the length of his remaining contract length, albeit at one-third of his original salary.

The Calgary Flames are currently swimming in cap space, so it doesn't make much sense to buy anyone out. After all, they don't need to pay anyone less at the moment, and in the near future, when Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Sam Bennett are re-signed to much more expensive contracts, that cap space is going to be at a premium.

Still, there are a couple of Flames who may very well be worthy buyout candidates. Let's take a look.

Brandon Bollig (two more years at $1.25 million)

Pros to buying out:

  • He's terrible at hockey.
  • He brings nothing to the roster.
  • He actually takes a roster spot from a more worthy player or prospect.

Cons to buying out:

  • His contract is short and cheap.
  • As long as he's a healthy scratch, he really doesn't detract that much from the Flames.

Final verdict: No. The Flames can wait out having him on the roster. In fact, he may be a prime candidate to be sent to the AHL, similar to Brian McGrattan last season.

Mason Raymond (two more years at $3.15 million)

Pros to buying out:

  • Many Flames, including some prospects, have passed him by.
  • He isn't scoring enough to justify his cap hit. (Raymond had just 12 goals and 23 points in 57 games last year, which translates to 33 points over a full season.)

Cons to buying out:

  • There's a chance he could rebound: just two seasons ago, he had 45 points.
  • His contract may be moveable.

Final verdict: No. Even if Raymond doesn't rebound, he can still at least be a functional depth winger, and he shouldn't be around for that much longer, anyway.

Deryk Engelland (two more years at $2.9 million)

Pros to buying out:

  • He is really, really, really bad at hockey.
  • His contract is worth WAY too much.
  • That contract is completely immovable. Absolutely nobody is going to take it off of Calgary's hands.

Cons to buying out:

  • Engelland will stay on the Flames' books for another four years rather than two.
  • The Flames can afford to have his $2.9 million salary on the books over the next two seasons, although that final year may get a little dicey.

Final verdict: Maybe. Engelland is the perfect combination of costing way, way too much while being way, way too bad at hockey to justify his presence. He's not going to get any better, and defence is the area the Flames absolutely need to improve. Even the possibility of him playing in the top four again should not be an option.

On the other hand, Engelland being on the books for another four years is daunting.

Ladislav Smid (two more years at $3.5 million)

Pros to buying out:

  • He's been completely passed by and has no spot on the Flames anymore.
  • He costs way, way too much.

Cons to buying out:

  • His career may be over, and the Flames can easily get out of his cap hit by just keeping him on the long term injury reserve.
  • If he does recover, there's a chance he rebounds; he has had some decent seasons before coming to Calgary.

Final verdict: No. At this point in time, he's looking like an LTIR guy, and we won't know if he'll recover by the time the buyout period ends. Right now, though, he doesn't negatively affect Calgary in any way.

A note of concern

Three of the four potential buyout candidates all came just one season ago. Brad Treliving (or Brian Burke, because it was among Treliving's first days on the job) traded a third round pick for Bollig, and signed Raymond and Engelland on the first day of free agency.

There is some major buyer's remorse going on in Calgary, and as we approach this year's free agency period, we best hope it doesn't happen again.