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Devils (Schneider), Blue Jackets (Wennberg) add to list of NHL buyouts

New Jersey Devils v Columbus Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 31: Goaltender Cory Schneider #35 of the New Jersey Devils makes a glove save on a shot by Alexander Wennberg #41 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period on March 31, 2015 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

The Devils (Cory Schneider) and Blue Jackets (Alexander Wennberg) set the stage for more buyouts heading into 2020 NHL Free Agency. In doing so, we received handy examples of teams using buyouts mainly to save money, and others who do so to open up cap space.

Blue Jackets set to buy out Wennberg, enter free agency with work to do

Wennberg is 26, but the Blue Jackets enjoy a friendlier 1/3 buyout, rather than the 2/3 savings they’d get with an older player. (Cap Friendly explains this with a year-by-year breakdown).

Buying out Wennberg opens up crucial savings to retain RFAs, most notably Pierre-Luc Dubois:

Actually, the Blue Jackets are likely to have quite a bit more cap space. Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85M AAV) is expected to hit LTIR, at least if Columbus doesn’t trade his cap hit (which expires after 2020-21).

As noted in Wednesday’s NHL Rumor Roundup, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun believes (sub required) that the Blue Jackets may make a push for Taylor Hall. In particular, the Blue Jackets might be able to entice Hall with a long-term contract.

Buying out Wennberg would go a long way in opening up that room.

Considering Wennberg’s age, it wouldn’t be surprising if he received some interest in the depths of the 2020 NHL “Free Agent Frenzy.” That said, interest may not be molten-hot after his game really dipped the last couple of seasons.

Devils may be free agent goalie bidders after Schneider buyout

There might be good news for goalies sweating a buyer’s market in NHL free agency. LeBrun believes that the Devils will be among the bidders after buying out Cory Schneider.

On face value, it seems like the Devils are (understandably) trying to keep costs down. However, if New Jersey wanted to make free agent splashes, they certainly have some room to do so.

If they view their place as more of a rebuilder, they also opened up options. Along with free agent goalie options, the Devils may offer to absorb some (or all) of Marc-Andre Fleury’s $7M cap hit. In doing so, they could add more futures.

From Schneider’s perspective, it’s reasonable to wonder if this is the end of the line. The 34-year-old went from an elite goalie to an albatross with dizzying speed. Some of that decline boils down to health. If he wants to keep playing, it wouldn’t be surprising if Schneider needed to prove himself outside of the NHL.

It’s a sad way to possibly end a career with some high peaks, but NHL buyouts ultimately are a sad part of the business.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.