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Red Wings’ Abdelkader, Canadiens’ Alzner latest NHL buyouts

Rutledge Wood gives a rundown of everything you need to know about the 2020 NHL Draft, including the top prospects to watch.

The NHL’s buyout phase continued on Tuesday with a couple of fairly significant moves involving the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens.

In Detroit, the Red Wings announced that they are buying out the remaining portion (three years) of Justin Abdelkader’s contract.

Montreal, meanwhile, is buying out the last two years of defenseman Karl Alzner’s contract.

Let’s take a quick look at both moves.

Alzner’s signing never worked out in Montreal

The Canadiens signed Alzner to a five-year, $23.125 million contract prior to the 2017-18 season and it is one that has just never produced results.

Alzner’s game was already starting to slow down at the time of the signing, and things only got worse once he arrived in Montreal.

During his first three years with the team he appeared in just 95 NHL games, recording just a single goal and 12 assists.

He spent most of the past two seasons playing for the Laval Rocket in the American Hockey League.

According to CapFriendly, he will still count $3.9 million against the salary cap this season as part of the buyout, so there are minimal short-term cap savings. They do get more savings in the coming seasons, as he counts $1.9 million in 2021-22, and only $833,333 over the two seasons after that.

The lesson to learn from Abdelkader

Do not sign depth players to long-term contracts. Simple as that. Especially depth players in their late 20s that do not have a track record of being big producers.

At the time of his contract extension in Detroit, Abdelkader was a 28-year-old forward that had only once topped 20 goals in a season and never recorded more than 44 points (only twice more than 40 points). He was a good player, but not really a cornerstone piece to the Red Wings’ roster.

They still signed him to a seven-year, $29.75 million contract extension.

He followed that up over the next four years by scoring only 26 goals over the next 259 games he played, including just six over the past two seasons (120 games).

The buyout will be spread over six seasons with a salary cap hit that ranges between $1 million and $2 million each season.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.