As the Habs look to add more cap and contract space to work with this summer, one of the options they’ll be considering in the days to come is whether or not to buy out Dale Weise. But is that the right move to make?
Three years ago, the Habs decided that Weise’s demands on a new contract were too steep and shipped him to Chicago as part of the deal that saw Montreal pick up Phillip Danault and the draft pick that yielded Alexander Romanov. However, taking on his contract was the price Montreal had to pay to offload David Schlemko on the Flyers while adding depth defenceman Christian Folin back in February.
Not surprisingly, the change of scenery did little for Weise who demonstrated pretty quickly that his days as an NHL-calibre player are over. He still has one year left on his deal with a cap hit of $2.35 million and a salary of $1.75 million. The front-loaded nature of the contract means that the cap hit from buying him out is actually more than the standard two-thirds price tag. The buyout cost would be as follows:
Total Cap Charge: $1,766,667
With the increase in the league minimum salary to $700,000, the Habs can save $1,075 million by simply sending Weise to Laval next season. That means he’d count on the books for $1.275 million which is $91,667 higher in 2019-20 than it’d cost on a buyout. However, burying him in the minors would mean he’s off the books for 2020-21.
Basically, the question that Marc Bergevin needs to determine the answer to is how much does he feel a contract slot is worth? In this case, the buyout would basically work out to an extra cost of $491,667 in cap space over the next two years.
Personally, while I’m a little concerned about Montreal’s contract situation (they’re already at 39, a number that will go up by a few more depending on which RFA’s are qualified). By the time they add a player or two for the Habs and a couple of capable AHL players for Laval (and if they want any hope of being a playoff team next season, they need some), they’ll be pretty tight to the limit. Weise, who has no real future with the organization, would be a good player to remove. But taking on extra cap space for 2020-21 just to save a bit of cap room this year and free up an extra contract slot doesn’t seem like a smart move, especially if they have eyes on adding an impact (expensive) player this summer.
Dale Weise’s future with the Habs is all but non-existent. He’s not going to realistically be in the mix for a spot on the fourth line and wouldn’t even be a great fit with the Rocket. But unless Bergevin can find a taker for him with some salary retention, he should be sticking around and playing out the final year of his contract.