After weeks of speculation, soft whispers, under-your-breath muttering and just a general sense of deep fear you can't shake, we're finally at the stage of the offseason where things are going to happen.
As of 5 p.m. today, the 15-day buyout window is open to all teams who might be looking at such an option. It ends 5 p.m. June 30th.
General Fanager has a good explanation of the entire process (which is below) in their buyout calculator. Click that link to see the penalties on a buyout for any player. I'll take a guess at what player you just checked on.
The first buyout window opens on the later of June 15th or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup final and closes on June 30th at 5pm EST.
For teams with two or more arbitration filings in an offseason, an additional buyout window is available 48 hours after the team's last arbitration filing is awarded or settled. For this buyout window, there is a minimum AAV requirement on the player being bought out that varies annually. The estimated minimum for the 2015 offseason is $2,985,625. In addition to meeting this minimum AAV, the player must have been on the team's reserve list for the previous year to qualify for this buyout window. Teams can execute a maximum of 3 buyouts in this additional buyout window over the course of the entire CBA term.
With the draft coming later this month, free agency just after that, the buyout window in effect now and a logical ideology that any moves the Rangers are going to make would be geared to happening before or during the draft, we're at the sweet spot of the offseason.
There's been reports the Rangers are not considering a buyout for Dan Girardi at all. There's also an overwhelming logical hypothesis the Rangers won't be able to trade him even if they wanted to.
At the very least it appears the nuclear option isn't needed to rid the team of Girardi's contract before the expansion draft (reportedly player's like Girardi will NOT have to be auto-protected) but that doesn't answer for, your know, this coming season. That’s also not official yet, so that remains to be seen.
With a coach who has shown an inability to move on from his favorite toys, you'd think Jeff Gorton and company might want to take the gun out of his hand, but we'll have to wait for a final answer on that. Like we’ve speculated, the Rangers are going to more than likely create a web of moves this summer, but this could be the first domino to fall.
There's something to be said for dealing with Girardi for another year so his buyout penalty is lessened -- the penalty is calculated based on how many years/dollars you're buying out, so it wouldn't be crazy to want to lessen that by a year. That would, of course, tank any value he has left (if he does) and hurt the team next year, too. Maybe Gorton is weighing the odds and Vigneault is willing to throw Girardi to the third line, super sheltered pairing but that remains to be seen.
As for the Las Vegas expansion: There is little to no chance Girardi will be selected if the Rangers were waiting for that outlet. Remember, every team is going to be trying to throw away their trash next summer, and Vegas will be able to easily hit the cap floor without having to touch Girardi. Hoping that will be different is the same strategy that's led to Girardi reportedly sticking around because "we think he'll be better for no real reason" so who knows.
At this stage I don't see any other real candidates for a buyout on the roster. Tanner Glass has one year left, can be buried to save more than half of his cap hit and might actually have trade value. It's not worth the penalty.
Marc Staal can work himself into this conversation, but I legitimately think he's going to be traded this summer. Name reputation goes a long way.
Outside of Larry Brook's report the Rangers were not considering buying him out, there has been some smoke that the expansion situation might sway that decision. Girardi is being included in all these conversations from outside observers from a “how is he not on the list" standpoint, but I don’t know if that’s speculation or them speaking on something they've heard.
Either way, the Rangers offseason officially starts today. Although I’m betting we need to wait a bit before we hear anything.