The Montreal Canadiens have decided not to buy out the contracts of Karl Alzner or Dale Weise ahead of the opening of free agency.
They’ll be no contract bought out by the @CanadiensMTL this year. Teams have until 5pm today to do so.— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 30, 2019
Alzner was Marc Bergevin’s top free-agent signing on July 1, 2017, inking a five-year contract with an annual cap hit of $4.625 million. It was the longest term for a player not receiving an extension from his original team on the opening day of free agency that year.
The defenceman played all 82 games in Montfreal in his first year, but last year dressed for just nine NHL contests. The remainder of his year was spent with the minor-league affiliate, taking on a mentorship role with the Laval Rocket and their crop of first-year professionals.
Placing (or “burying”) Alzner in the AHL will allow the Canadiens to slightly reduce his cap hit amount, though that still means he will be on the books for about $3.5 million, and is slated to be for three more years counting the 2019-20 season should that continue.
A buyout would have brought significant savings for the upcoming season, allowing a good portion of the salary cap to be freed for other ontracts. The 2020-21 season is where the decision would hurt the most, with a cap hit close to what the contract is worth to begin with. It dropped to a more manageable level in 2021-22, then the Canadiens would have had an additional three years of a little more than $1 million to cope with.
Dale Weise was acquired in a multi-player trade with the Philadelphia Flyers in February. He played nine games after joining the team, with the match on March 8 being the final one he played in 2018-19. He was unable to register a single point in that time, and had just 11 total on the year.
He has one year remaining on his contract that will pay him $1.75 million in salary, though with a cap hit of $2.35 million.
The Canadiens save about the same amount on his cap hit by burying his contract in the AHL this upcoming season ($1.075 million) as they would have with a buyout ($1.167 million), and won’t have the $583,333 hit for next season by seeing his final year out.