hockey players call it, a Carcillo-neck.
But there is one exception: With arbitration hearings now wrapped up, some teams now have a second opportunity to buy out unwanted players. This year's buyout periods have already claimed players such as Chris Drury and Colin White. But while fans have become used to the annual news of offseason buyouts, few know the behind-the-scenes process for making them happen.
As it turns out, it's not all that complicated. All a general manager has to do is fill out a simple one-page form, and luckily my spies at the league office were able to provide me with a copy.
Dear NHL general manager,
Congratulations on your decision to buy out a player. This process provides an excellent opportunity to correct your past mistakes, or at the very least spread the cap hit out into future seasons when, let's be honest, it will be some other guy's problem.
Please complete the form below and submit it to the league office. Note that the buyout will not be official until the league has approved it, so please refrain from setting the content of the player's locker on fire until then.
Player's first name: _________________
Player's last name: _________________
Player's nickname that you call him publicly: _________________
Player's nicknames that you call him under your breath every time he touches the puck:
_________________ (use the back of the application form if you need more room)
The player's current annual cap hit: $ ____________
( ) Sigh
( ) Next question please.
How did a scrub like this end up making that much?
( ) He was actually pretty good, years ago.
( ) He was actually supposed to be pretty good, years ago.
( ) He was actually one of the top-rated players in NHL08 according to my kids, although to be honest we probably should have sent some scouts to watch him or something.
( ) Let's just say he was an unrestricted free agent, a defenceman, and had an agent who knew Brian Burke's cell phone number
As per the CBA, the cap hit from any buyout is spread over twice the length of the remaining contract. How many years will this be in your case?
( ) Two years, since the player had one year left on his contract.
( ) Four years, since the player had two years left on his contract.
( ) Eight years, since we are the New York Islanders and we stopped caring in 1993.
There are complicated rules around a team's eligibility for the secondary buyout period. If you are attempting to buy out a player you have just traded for (cough, Lebda) have you familiarized yourself with those rules to confirm that it's allowed?
( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) Sorry, could you read them to me? I gouged at my own eyes once I saw what I'd have to pay Shea Weber this season.
Before buying out this player, did you explore the option of trading him to one of the other 29 teams?
( ) No, do not anticipate he would draw any interest and didn't want to waste anyone's time.
( ) Yes, and I really enjoyed hearing 29 other general managers laugh at me and hang up.
( ) Am the general manager of the San Jose Sharks or Minnesota Wild; did not realize we were allowed to trade with teams other than each other
Has the player been informed of your decision to buy him out?
( ) Yes, informed him by phone.
( ) Yes, informed him by fax.
( ) Yes, informed him by drawing a big middle finger on the front page of his contract, wrapping it around a brick and throwing it through his front window.
( ) No, but assuming that once he sees the impromptu fan parade in front of his house he'll figure it out.
( ) Asked a cop to deliver it to his Hollywood home a few nights ago; come to think of it, should find out how that turned out.
Finally, what will you tell the media when they he ask what you plan to do with all the cap space you'll be saving on this move?
( ) Invest it in securing our young star players to reasonable long-term deals.
( ) Spend it carefully on various moves to improve our organizational depth.
( ) Hold onto it to make sure we have room for additional transactions during the season.
And what are you really going to do?
( ) Immediately use it to give an even worse contract to some other player.
Thanks for completing the form. And we look forward to seeing you again next year.