Possible amnesty buyouts - The Central Division

USA TODAY Sports

This summer with the cap crunch, we have the added complication of amnesty buyouts. What can that mean? Well there are a lot of names that could be on the free agents list. Would any interest Montreal?

Chicago Blackhawks - Sheldon Brookbank - D - One year remaining at $1.25M

Chicago is tight against the cap but most of their roster is filled, especially the important positions. They need more cap space, but the players they may want to shed (like Dave Bolland and Johnny Oduya) have way too much trade value to consider buying out. They could likely get a 1st round pick for Bolland. Brookbank is terrible and makes too much money to sit in the press box with such a high cap team.

St. Louis Blues - Jaroslav Halak - G - One year remaining at $3.75M

The Blues don't look to be in cap trouble, but they have a tiny gross income as a franchise and some extremely important contracts coming up this offseason Pietrangelo and Berglund. With Elliott playing down the stretch and Jake Allen outplaying Halak, they may choose to move on.

Detroit Red Wings - Todd Bertuzzi - LW - One year remaining at $2.075M

The Wings aren't in desperation mode from a cap perspective, but they're an old, old team and Bertuzzi doesn't help there at 38. His recurring back problems kept him out most of the season and he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Time to open up a roster spot for a prospect.

Columbus Blue Jackets - Jack Johnson - D - Five years remaining at $4.357143M

It won't happen, but let's be honest, it should. Jack Johnson is a black hole that drags down every team he plays on. I don't think the Jackets have the resources to pay a player that much to not play for them, and there's a GM or two who would still trade something for the former 3rd overall draft pick.

Nashville Predators - Paul Gaustad - C - Three years remaining at $3.25M

Way too much money for a 4th line center, a luxury that a cash poor franchise like Nashville should never have signed. Nashville has loads of cap space, but they operate by an internal cap as well so this may happen, even though it's unlikely.

Do any buyout candidates interest the Habs?

I'm sure that some MOAR BIG proponents would love to land Gaustad as the Habs' 4th line center, and honestly if he is bought out and willing to take a bargain basement deal since he'll have been handed a bunch of cash, that's not a bad idea. He doesn't have the two way value that Halpern has, but he's younger and he's not a horrible player when you put him on the 4th line. But if he wants more than $1M a year, it's likely more cost efficient to leave Ryan White as the 4th line center and let him carve out a role for himself.

There are probably a lot of people who'd also like to grab Halak. Wouldn't that be an entertaining media firestorm? Just imagine.


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