Detroit General Manager Steve Yzerman made a surprise move in the hours leading up to the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, waiving alternate captain Justin Abdelkader for the purposes of a buyout.
Update: Forward Justin Abdelkader has been placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) October 6, 2020
Per CapFriendly, the buyout will cost the Red Wings $1,805,556 in salary cap space this season, $2,305,556 for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, and then $1,055,556 through the 2025-26 campaign.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think the team would do this, given the length that the buyout would remain on the books. Especially with Stephen Weiss still having one year left on his buyout. I thought that, given that the team was not expected to be a cap team for the next couple seasons, they’d rather ride out a couple more years of Abdelkader being overpaid.
This could mean that Yzerman has another salary dump deal like the Marc Staal trade lined up and needed to limit Abdelkader’s salary now, rather than waiting to do it. With an immediate buyout, the Red Wings save $2.4 million towards the coming season’s cap.
I’ve always joked that I’m contractually obligated to speak up on Abdelkader’s behalf. He gave DH.N an interview back in 2005, during his freshman year at MSU, when players speaking with bloggers was relatively unheard of. I kind of snuck into the party with the Stanley Cup in 2008 at his parents’ house.
That said, this is the right deal for the Wings, especially if they made it in order to clear space for another salary dump deal. I’d have rather seen them cut someone like Frans Nielsen loose but Abdelkader maxes out the buyout value, so it makes sense.