Possible amnesty buyouts - The Northwest Division

Doug Pensinger

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?

Vancouver Canucks - Keith Ballard - D - Two years remaining at $4.2M

A mistake as soon as they acquired him, Ballard never found a fit in Vancouver and has spent quite a few games in the pressbox as a healthy scratch. Vancouver has essentially zero cap space, and Chris Tanev needs a contract. That may force them to make another move...

Vancouver Canucks - David Booth - LW - Two years remaining at $4.25M

Booth has had a terrible time staying healthy since he was acquired by the Canucks, and has been the subject of criticism from fans and media in Vancouver for not scoring enough, even though his 17 goals in 73 career Canucks games isn't so bad, he was expected to be a 30 goal scorer. With all the upcoming changes in Vancouver, Booth could be an odd man out.

Minnesota Wild - Dany Heatley - LW - One year remaining at $7.5M

Too expensive for too little production, and the Wild don't have the luxury of enough cheap depth to afford 3 different players making $7.5M. Heatley has been crucified the last few seasons for being trouble in the room, but for a low price the 32 year old could provide some excellent scoring depth.

Edmonton Oilers - Shawn Horcoff - C - Two years remaining at $5.5M

Craig MacTavish continues to talk too much and has let slip that both he and Horcoff feel that it's time to move on (same thing with Ales Hemsky). At that salary though, the Oilers are highly unlikely to find a trade partner for Horcoff, even though he's very underrated. This is one I'm pretty sure will happen.

Calgary Flames - Alex Tanguay - LW - Three years remaining at $3.5M

This is a tradeable contract in my opinion, and if I were general manager it would be Dennis Wideman getting bought out, but rumours our of Calgary are that it's Tanguay on his way out of town. If they can't find a buyer, they may buy him out themselves.

Colorado Avalanche - David Jones - RW - Three years remaining at $4M

Signed after a career year, Jones is injured quite often and his offense completely disappeared last year with just 3 goals. The Avalanche have shockingly little cap space for a perennial bottom dweller, and they'll need close to $4M for Seth Jones or Nathan MacKinnon come October.

Do any buyout candidates interest the Habs?

There are actually three interesting players in this group. Alex Tanguay is interesting in that he has talent and would likely be cheap, but considering how he left Montreal it seems highly suspect that he would return. Then again, Bergevin seems to love repatriating old Habs.

Dany Heatley is a guy that most people probably think Bergevin wants no part in with all his stressing of the importance of character. I think those people are probably right, if Heatley was going to be a cornerstone of the team. As a depth player like Michael Ryder though, I think Heatley is at worst a bit of a bust for probably a still fairly expensive contract ($4-5M), but still a 40 point player, or a huge homerun. Is it likely that Heatley will ever have a season like he used to have? No, not at all. Would it be worth the gamble on a one year deal when the Habs have a to of cap space? Yes. Definitely.

The big prize though may be David Booth. Booth is just 28 years old, and has a lot more legs left in him than the other two players. Even better, he builds his game around speed, which plays right into the Canadiens' game plan. Even better is that Booth is a puck carrier, which could make him extremely valuable for David Desharnais, easing the pressure on him while Max Pacioretty could move up the lineup. He would probably not come cheap, but I see no reason not to give him at least the equivalent of Bourque's salary.


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