The compliance buyout is the giant eraser that NHL teams have at their disposal to smudge those mistakes that didn't really happen.
|Scooped by Jason Harrison|
This is a topic near and dear to my heart.
As an NHL fan (the NBA also has a similar practice), it's strange to me that with NHL teams supposedly struggling financially, that you would then give them another option to leverage even more money into growing player contracts.
To summarize, each team receives two compliance buyouts that they can use this year or next to essentially "terminate" the contract of a player on their roster. The typical use is to eradicate ridiculous contracts given out to former stars who are now on the decline - basically bad investments - and they then re-invest that money in new, younger players.
That's not the entire story, however. The compliance buyout still requires the team pay out the remainder of the contract...only now they can do so at a much reduced rate for a much extended term. Say you owe a guy 5 years, 15 million...you would probably then pay him 1 million a year over 15 years, for example.
This leads me to my point; in a league that is growing, yet that still has several struggling franchises, what sense does this make? They had a lockout and labor negotiations because player salaries had grown too large and NHL GM's were spending more money than they could earn. Now we give them another tool to spend even more money? Seems ridiculous and irresponsible to me.
On top of that, there's the ethical implications of the contract amnesty. "Yes, George, I know I signed a contract to pay you three million a year for five years, however your skills declined so now you'll only get one million a year. Hope you weren't counting on that money." It's honestly pretty shady in a number of ways, and I thought it was an interesting addition to this collection of stories.