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Buyouts: Expansion Draft Antidote For NMCs

The list of players with No Movement Clauses (NMCs) is 66 deep according to a league memo sent out in November. On that list there are names such as Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, and Carey Price. Those guys, along with about 50 others were going to be protected anyway, so the automatic protection rule for the Expansion Draft is no concern for their respective GM’s. But names like Kevin Bieksa, Scott Hartnell, Francois Beauchemin, Ryan Callahan, Jason Pominville, Dan Girardi, and Dion Phaneuf may be a bit of a different story.

In a perfect world for GMs in Anaheim, Columbus, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, New York, and Ottawa, each of these players would simply waive their NMC giving the team the freedom it needs to protect the best nine or 11 players possible, whether it includes those guys or not. It doesn’t work that way though.

No Movement Clauses were put into contracts for a reason. Usually, as the name suggests, so the player won’t have to worry about moving. We are always here to tell people how amazing Vegas is, but in this case, it would be best if players with NMCs think this place is some ****hole in the desert. Mandatory protection is the friend of George McPhee and the enemy of every GM with a player holding an NMC who may have otherwise wanted to expose him.

Unfortunately for Vegas, there’s a work around. It’s called a buyout. NHL franchises can essentially terminate the contract of a player by buying them out for 2/3 of the remaining salary. There are a bunch of rules about buyouts, if you are interested, you can read here, but for the sake of this story, and the Expansion Draft they’re irrelevant.

One name on the list jumps off the page as a possible buyout candidate and he currently resides in Colorado.

But the biggest and best reason to buy out (Francois) Beauchemin would be because it would eliminate his no-movement clause, which in turn would allow the Avs to NOT have to protect him as a roster player for next month’s NHL expansion draft with the Vegas Golden Knights. –Adrian Dater,

Beauchemin is clearly past his prime at the age of 36 going on 37 (June 4th), had a miserable season with the Avs last year, and is likely not in the plans for the future. But that pesky NMC means unless he must be protected. Of course, he could waive it, as Dater suggests, but remember, those things were put in contracts for nothing.

There will also be guys who under no circumstances will want to play in Las Vegas and on an expansion team. –Unnamed agent to ESPN’s Craig Custance

That’s where the buyout comes in. If Joe Sakic buys out the contract of Beauchemin, he won’t get any cap relief, but he will save his owner $1.5M and NOT have to protect the 37-year-old in the Expansion Draft. It’s Expansion Draft Pepto Bismol for your heartburn, acid, indigestion, upset stomach, NMCeeya. (I apologize for that. It’s really bad, but it’s out there now, so we are going with it.)

It doesn’t work for everybody because of the finances of a buyout, but guys like Scott Hartnell, Jason Pominville, and Kevin Bieksa could be in line for buyouts as well.

Teams will have a very short period of time to execute these buyouts before the Expansion Draft though. The CBA allows teams to buyout contracts starting either 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Finals or on June 15th, whichever comes first. Expansion Draft protection lists are due to the league on June 17th at 2PM Vegas time. That doesn’t leave much time to act.

But when you’ve got a bad case of NMCeeya, you may not need much time to head to Walgreens and pick up some of that good ole buyout Pepto.


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  1. RJ

    Great article. I have been worrying about NMC for a while. In Anaheim Kevin Bieksa’s NMC is the difference between getting Sami Vatanen or Simon Despres. That is the order of magnitude in the difference these NMCs could make. Other GM’s are going to have to play musical chairs to make sure they have as little value exposed as possible and GM will be smart to pick on whoever is left. The Expasion Draft is going to be so damn fun.

    • There some interesting stuff out there on Scott Hartnell and his NMC. Apparently last year he gave a list of teams he was willing to waive it for. CBJ is in a bit of trouble if he won’t waive it for the Expansion Draft.

  2. PhiSig 150

    In the buyout the player willing agrees to forfeit 1/3 of the salary owed to them? That seems to only make sense if you know you got another coming next year. If I’m 37 I’m not sure I’m leaving money on the table I might not be able to make up down the line.

    • RJ

      Does the player need to agree to the buyout? I thought it was a team option only.

      • Phisig150

        Wow you’re right they don’t have to agree. That’s crazy. NHL players union must be complete garbage. And I thought the NFLPA was bad.

      • Theo-Todd

        *but remember, those things were NOT put in contracts for nothing.

        Anyway Anaheim is in a good spot with Bieksa, because he won’t be a player targeted by LV.

        If he waives his NMC he’ll remain in Anaheim while if he doesn’t waive he’ll be bought and he’ll become a UFA who won’t be able to re-sign with Anaheim.

        The choice might be harder for players who could be targeted by LV like Phaneuf.

        • RJ

          Totally correct. All the projections of us getting Silfverberg or Vatanen assumes that Bieksa is protected, which he probably won’t be. We’ll get a decent player from Anaheim, but not that caliber.

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