Teams across the National Hockey League have been able to officially buy out contracts since last Friday, and we saw the first deal getting bought out on Thursday when the Edmonton Oilers pulled the plug on Eric Gryba's.
On Friday, another team has proceeded to buying out a veteran player's contract as a breaking news report reveals that the San Jose Sharks have bought out the contract of 37-year-old blue liner Paul Martin.
"Paul Martin has been the upmost professional on and off the ice during his three years in San Jose. His leadership, character and on-ice contributions have been essential to our success and in reaching the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. The impact he has had on our organization, his teammates and many of our younger players will be felt for many years to come," commented Sharks GM Doug Wilson.
Following the whooping seven-year, $49 million contract offered to forward Evander Kane in May, the Sharks have been looking to save some coins to make more moves in the offseason. Last week, Kevin Kurz of The Athletic reported there was a “strong possibility” the Sharks plan on easing their salary cap by buying out Martin. With a buyout, instead of taking Martin’s entire $4.85M cap hit this year, the team would instead take a $2.02M cap hit this year and a $1.42M cap hit in 2019-20.It would save the Sharks approximately $2.8M in cap space for the 2018-19 campaign.
Martin has been with the Sharks for the past three seasons, however, the last year was a difficult one for the veteran rearguard. Heonly suited up in 14 games this past year due to poor play and injury issues, and ended up in the American Hockey League with the San Jose Barracuda for 18 games after being waived by the club in January.
He eventually returned to his former spot next to star blue liner Brent Burns, however, management could tell he was getting too slow, especially during the second round series against the Vegas Golden Knights. He was responsible for the Golden Knights Game 3 game-winning overtime goal and lost his job for the rest of the series. Joakim Ryan, who had taken his place on the roster during the regular calendar, ended up replacing him once again. It now seems like that Game 3 was the last one for Martin in a Sharks uniform.
The Sharks now have to focus on signing several restricted (Tomas Hertl, Chris Tierney) and unrestricted free agents (Joe Thornton, Eric Fehr, Joel Ward) during the offseason. San Jose also has to keep an eye on the eventual contract extension to forwards Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski, so, more money was definitely needed.