It appears that, barring a buyout scenario, the Florida Panthers will protect defenseman Keith Yandle in the upcoming Seattle Expansion Draft as the team reportedly did not ask him to waive the no-movement clause in his contract by Tuesday’s deadline.
Elliotte Friedman, NHL Insider for Hockey Night in Canada, reported the news on Wednesday morning.
All players who have a no-movement clause in their contract have to be protected from Seattle.
If general manager Bill Zito does not buyout the final two years of Yandle’s contract before the draft, it appears that Florida would leave defensemen Radko Gudas and Gus Forsling exposed to the the Kraken.
The protected lists will be released on Saturday with the expansion draft being held next Wednesday.
Zito is believed to be protecting seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie; under that scenario, Yandle, Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar would be the three players protected.
Of course, the Panthers could decide to buyout Yandle’s contract and there have been whispers teams around the league expect Florida to do just that.
FLA did not ask Keith Yandle to consider waiving his no-move clause for the expansion draft
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 14, 2021
Per CapFriendly.com, if Florida was to buyout Yandle’s contract, it would come with a cap hit of $2.34 million this coming season (which would give the Panthers an additional $4 million in cap space) but it balloons to $5.39 million in 2022-23 due to $3 million Yandle is owed that year in a signing bonus.
Only a player’s base salary can be bought out at two-thirds the money spread out over twice the remaining deal. If bought out, Yandle would remain on Florida’s salary cap for the next four seasons — but the team would save around $2.5 million.
So, over the course of four years — if Florida were to buyout Yandle’s deal — his cap hit would be: $2.34 million (2021-22); $5.39m (2022-23); $1.24m (2023-24); $1.24m (2024-25).
The Panthers have made no indication this is the route they will go.
Florida still has one more season of Roberto Luongo’s cap recapture due to early retirement of $1.1 million plus two more seasons of Scott Darling’s buyout at $1.18 million.
Florida traded James Reimer to Carolina on the eve of signing Sergei Bobrovsky and acquired Darling for the purpose of buying out his contract to clear some salary cap space.