Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark will not be meeting with the contract arbitrator on Monday afternoon.
Ullmark and the Sabres have avoided the dreaded meeting with the arbitrator by agreeing on a one-year, $2.6M AAV.
On Friday, we learned the Sabres and Ullmark were $2.3 million off in terms of the negotiation. The Sabres offered Ullmark $1.8M AAV while the big Swede asked for $4.1M AAV.
The settlement places Ullmark in the same salary zip code as NY Rangers goalie Alex Geogiev who recently re-signed for two years and $4.85 million.
In 34 games played in 2019-20, Ullmark was 17-14-3 with a respectable 2.69 GAA and .915 SV%. Ullmark eaned one shutout last season.
In 97 career games, Ullmark has started 92 and has complied a 41-41-10 combined record. His 2.81 career GAA, .911 SV% and 3 shutouts are decent but not great.
Ullmark’s .930 save percentage at 5v5 ranked the big Swede fifth in the NHL last season.
Sabres GM Kevyn Adams now has $6.5M in cap space after signing Ullmark.
Adams has 11 forwards, 7 defensemen and 2 goalies under contract for next season.
Adams still has to sign restricted free agents Victor Olofsson, Casey Mittelstadt and Lawrence Pilut.
Olofsson is Buffalo's third and final player-elected arbitration RFA. Olofsson is scheduled to have his case heard on November 4. I predict that Olofsson and the Sabres will arrive at a mutually beneficial settlement by the middle of this week. Olofsson should settle at between $3.6 million and $3.7 million annual average value like Blackhawks sniper Dominik Kubalik who settled for two years and $7.4 million ($3.7M AAV).
Congratulations are in order for Buffalo Sabres forward Samson Reinhart. The four-time 20-goal scorer avoided the nastiness and anxiety caused by a potentially contentious meeting with his GM and the independent contract arbitrator.
Reinhart, who opted for player-elected arbitration, avoided his Octber 27 arb hearing and now is the proud owner of a new one-year, $5.2 million contract. Reinhart will turn 25 in two weeks, which means he will set himslef up nicely to score a big fat contract for himself when he matriculates into unrestricted free agency.
The Reinhart contract signing is mutually benefical because it gives Reinhart a substantial raise on his $3.65M AAV while leaving needed dollars in the budget for Sabres GM Kevyn Adams to sign two remaining arbitration eligible RFA in Victor Olofsson and Linus Ullmark. Olofsson, the sniping winger, will have his arbitration case heard on November 4 while the goaltender Ullmark has his arb meeting scheduled for Monday October 27.
The Reinhart signing elevated Buffalo's budget to $72,354,167
, which leaves Adams $9.1 million with which to re-sign Olofsson, Casey Mittelstadt, and Lawrence Pilut. Mittelstadt has not yet accrued enough National League games to qualify for NHL Group 2 RFA status. Pilut is currenty playing for Traktor of the Kontiental Hockey League.
Adams can sign all three players and still have dollars remaining.
I expect Olofsson to settle for the same dollars as NHL All Rookie team member Dominik Kubalik (Blackhawks), who recently signed a two year, $7.4 million contract extension. Per my prediction, Ullmark re-signed for a similar contract as Alex Georgiev's (Rangers) two-year, $4.85 million contract ($2.425M AAV). Mittelstadt and Pilut will get a 10% bump on his entry level contract.
Throughout the arbitration period, I have been wondering whether or not Kevyn Adams and Ralph Krueger will be activating their second contract buyout window option.
Per the CBA, NHL teams can open a second buyout window after their final arbitration cases are heard. In other words, the Sabres have the option to buyout a bad contract like Kyle Okposo's once Victor Olofsson and Linus Ullmark have their cases heard by the arbitrator OR after they have their settlements that were achieved without the assistance of the arbitrator.
Buying out Okposo will save $3 million in cash and will spread the remaining $6 million over 6 years (versus spreading $9 million over 3 years).
My friends at Puck Pedia have helped me to illuminate Kyle Okposo buyout salary cap implications if Okposo was bought out prior to the 2020-2021 season, the annual cap hit of a buyout is calculated year by year as follows:
* Add together the Original Cap Hit and the Contract Signing Bonus for that year
* Subtract the Contract Total Salary for that year (base salary + signing bonus).
* Finally, add the Annual Buyout Cost as calculated below.
* Okposo will be 32 years old at the time of the buyout giving him a 67% buyout multiplier.
* Per the CBA, Under 26 = 1/3 multiplier, 26+ = 2/3 multiplier
* The total buyout cost would be $6,000,000
* Remaining base salary
($9,000,000 x 67% buyout multiplier), 3 years remaining on contract.
* Buyout applied over 6 years, with 2 years remaining on the contract.
* Annual buyout cost of $1,000,000 (Total buyout cost/6 years)
Okposo has played 800 NHL games and has scored 196 goals and 310 assist for 506 points.
In four seasons with the Sabres, Okposo has scored 57 goals and 80 assists for 137 points in 271 games. Okposo is -53 with the Sabres.
Paying a bottom six forward $6 million annual average value for the next three seasons does not make financial sense for the Sabres in the current frozen cap economy.
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