Teams across the National Hockey League can officially begin buying out contracts on Friday, and it seems that one club is almost certain of pulling the plug on one specific player.
According to a source who got in touch with Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, the San Jose Sharks are nearing a buyout of the final year of defenseman Paul Martin's contract.
Following the whooping seven-year, $49 million contract offered to forward Evander Kane in May, the Sharks are looking to save some coins to make more moves in the offseason. Kurz therefore reports there is a “strong possibility” the Sharks plan on easing their salary cap by buying out Martin next week when the window opens on June 15th. 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 is definitely needed.
That's why Martin is likely to be the first buyout player of the summer.