When the new CBA finally gets ratified this weekend, it will reportedly include two compliance buyouts in the 2013 or 2014 off-seasons. These buyouts are designed to help teams get under the new, lower salary caps for the following seasons. The cap in 2013-14 will apparently be $64.3 million, a drop of $5.9 million from the current cap, which would potentially present a problem for those teams that spend to the cap.
Such as, for instance, the Vancouver Canucks. As is, the Canucks still have a bit of room under the revised salary cap, but have several UFAs to re-sign, the biggest being Alex Edler. The buyouts in the new CBA would give the Canucks some options for creating the necessary cap space for Edler’s raise, as well as giving them an out on any contracts that they might regret.
This brings me to something I can’t believe I actually need to say: Roberto Luongo will not be one of those buyouts.
There have been a few different people that have suggested Luongo will get bought out under the new CBA, but these suggestions have mostly been based on misinformation or misunderstandings of how buyouts work. For instance, Ian Esplen over at Hockey Buzz suggested that there might be a loophole that would allow the Canucks to buy out Luongo and re-sign him at a lower cap hit. I can say with almost 100% certainty that such a loophole does not exist. After the last lockout, teams were not allowed to re-sign players they bought until after the following season.
But now it’s coming from people who should know better. Brian Lawton is the former Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since being fired from that position, he’s been working with Sportsnet and has been recently tweeting out a number of details from the new CBA, which is great.
He’s also been tweeting out some of his personal opinions, at least one of which is terrible.
Against popular sentiment I don’t expect R. Luongo to be moved this season. I see frustration then compliance buy-out as likely. #Sportsnet
— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) January 7, 2013
Lawton isn’t the only one. Mark Zwolinski with the Toronto Star listed Luongo as a potential buyout along with, of all people, Alex Edler. First of all, Edler can’t be bought out. He’s a UFA at the end of this season, which is when the compliance buyouts start. Suggesting that Edler might be bought out is the most bizarre thing he could have suggested, apart from maybe suggesting the Canucks might try to buy out Marc Chouinard again.
But back to Luongo. He won’t be bought out. It’s baffling to even suggest it. Buying out Luongo at the end of this season would cost the Canucks over $27 million, spread out over 18 years. Yes, the Aquilinis are wealthy, but it would be absolutely moronic for them to spend that kind of money for no return.
The only benefit of buying out Luongo would be getting the $5.3 million in cap space. Know what else would free up that cap space? Trading him.
Trading Luongo also wouldn’t cost the Canucks $27 million in actual money. It would also bring back valuable assets, such as a second-line winger, third-line centre, top-four defenceman, a backup goaltender, or any combination of the above.
The only way that buying out Luongo makes sense is if he has no trade value whatsoever. As in, none. As in, the Canucks offered him up to the entire NHL for a 9th round draft pick and no one took them up on it, even though the draft doesn’t even have a 9th round anymore.
Look, I understand that the lockout was long and that we’re all a little out of practice when it comes to talking hockey, but let’s stretch out the groins of our punditry and try to get it together, you guys.Tags: Roberto Luongo, There are some stupid people in the media