Sunday, June 15, 2014

No Need For An Amnesty

Photo: Mike Carlson/Getty Images
When the clock strikes midnight tonight, the NHL's amnesty buyout window officially opens. While some teams appear to be destined to use one (Buffalo-Ville Leino, San Jose-Martin Havlat, New York-Brad Richards), the Minnesota Wild strike a curious case as they have one amnesty left.

Last summer, the Wild used one of their two amnesties on defenseman Tom Gilbert, who was set to carry a $4 million cap hit for the 2013-14 season. The amnesty relieved the Wild of his cap hit, but they were still on the hook to pay two-thirds of his salary.

Going into this buyout window, the Wild do not really have any legitimate candidates to be bought out. Some have said that they should just use it on Kyle Brodziak and be done with the one year remaining on his contract. On the surface, Brodziak struggled this past year but if you dig deeper into the stats you will find that Brodzy has a bit of value to him (another post for another day). It would be a mistake for the team to get rid of him.

For those under the belief that the Wild should amnesty Niklas Backstrom  Josh Harding, that will not be happening either. Backstrom signed his three year contract under the new CBA (only contracts under the old CBA are eligible for amnesty) and still has two years left with a cap hit of $3,416,667 per season. Even if Backstrom's contract was eligible to be amnestied, he would have to be fully healthy to get bought out. The team expects him to be healthy when training camp starts, but he is not 100% right now.

Harding has one year remaining on his contract with a $1.9 million cap hit, but he too would have to be fully healthy. The team expects him also to be 100% for training camp, nor should you believe they will even entertain the option of amnestying Harding.

Lastly, some have mentioned the option of amnestying out team captain Mikko Koivu because of his lack of production in the playoffs. Well, that is very flawed logic. Following his slow October start, Koivu scored at a .88 points per game pace, and missed time this year due to a foot injury.

Its also worth noting that Koivu scored six points in seven games in the first round against Colorado. He only scored one in the second round against Chicago, but lets face it folks, the Blackhawks are a very good team. They have his number right now. But should we get rid of him because of that? Absolutely not.

The buyout window will come and go, and the Wild will more than likely stand pat during that time. Just because they have another amnesty, it does not mean they need to use it. And no, if they don't use it this summer, it does not carry over to next year. This is the final time you can amnesty someone.

The Wild have plenty of cap space and no big contract holding them down. They will be standing pat this week on the buyout front. The real question is, will they be standing pat on the trade front?

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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