Attracting free agents by luring them to town with lucrative contracts is always an educated gamble for any general manager. It is therefore no surprise that sometimes these gambles work, and sometimes they do not.
Sometimes a player can be moved to the minors (Davis Drewiske, Dale Weise), traded to another team (Rene Bourque, Sergei Samsonov), and sometimes a mutual termination can be agreed to by both parties (Alexander Semin, Mark Streit). But when all those options do not work out, a buyout becomes necessary, especially in a world where the salary cap exists for teams to try to navigate.
The Montreal Canadiens have been rather lucky. Since 2004, there have only been nine players bought out. Four under general manager Bob Gainey, one under Pierre Gauthier, and four under Marc Bergevin. Questions have arisen whether or not Karl Alzner will be next on that list, but the economic impact of such a decision is already well known to not be to the Canadiens’ advantage.
In the quiz below, you’re asked to name every player who was bought out in that timeframe. Things were a bit fuzzier prior to the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement which eliminated the “option year” on new contracts when it introduced the salary cap, in order to make contracts more concrete. Previously if a team decided to opt out of an option year, they would have to buy out that remaining year. There is one major such instance to identify in this quiz.