Oilers' James Neal, Canucks' Braden Holtby expected to be bought out

Braden Holtby is among three players who were placed on waivers for the purpose of a buyout. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Braden Holtby is among three players who were placed on waivers for the purpose of a buyout. (Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With the buyout window in view, three high-priced players have been placed on unconditional waivers.

According to reports, Edmonton Oilers winger James Neal, Vancouver Canucks netminder Braden Holtby and San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones have been placed on waivers for the purpose of a buyout. It's expected that all three will become free agents.

For the Oilers, Canucks and Sharks, there will be immediate cap savings, however they will have to continue paying these players in the short-term and even beyond the length of their respective contracts.

It's a particularly large pill to swallow for the Sharks, who will save between $2.8 and $3.8 million over the next three seasons, but will lose almost $2 million for the subsequent three seasons after that.

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The situation isn't ideal either for the Oilers, who failed to find a remedy for the poor decision to sign Milan Lucic in the one-for-one acquisition of Neal. They will save just under $4 million for the next two seasons, but are on the hook for almost $2 million for two additional seasons beyond the length of Neal's contract. 

It does seem like the right move given Edmonton's need to introduce talent to the roster immediately.

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Lastly, Holtby had just one season remaining, but the Canucks have been busy making additions to the roster, and appear to need the $3.8 million in savings right away to make room for Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the newly-signed Conor Garland, who inked a five-year deal with an annual average value of $4.95 million. 

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While all three buyouts should serve as cautionary tales, no doubt similar mistakes will be made when free agency opens Wednesday.

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