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Scouts on How Potential Buyout UFAs Would Fit Sharks

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Credit: NHL

There’s going to be a fresh batch of free agents starting tomorrow.

The NHL’s buyout window opens tomorrow and runs through October 8th. Bought-out players will become unrestricted free agents.

And there might be more buyouts than ever, because of the flat salary cap and teams looking to cut costs because of pandemic-reduced revenue.

Of course, “fresh” is generous. There’s a reason why these veterans are in danger of being axed.

But for the San Jose Sharks and other cap-strapped teams, these potential UFAs can be gold.

A buy-out means these players are still making the money from their old contracts, just over a longer period of time. Thus, when choosing a new team, money isn’t necessarily their primary motivation.

This is where you can find value, like when the 2014-15 Chicago Blackhawks were able to pick up bought-out Brad Richards for a reduced rate over the summer. The ex-New York Ranger would contribute 14 points in the playoffs to the 2015 Stanley Cup champs.

In a salary cap world, unearthing the gems who outperform their cap hits is the difference between a Stanley Cup or a second-round loss, a playoff appearance or lottery balls.

Three scouts offered their thoughts to San Jose Hockey Now about how some of the higher-profile potential buyouts — James Neal, Kyle Turris, Olli Maatta, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Henrik Lundqvist, to name a handful — could help or hurt the San Jose Sharks.

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