Puck Daddy - NHL

Some might see the buyout process in the NHL as a depressing time in which dramatic miscalculations about talent and finances are rectified through a last resort provide by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

We prefer to see it as a cautionary tale for any team looking to break open the piggy bank for a free agent in the next 72 hours.

Mistakes made: Souray, Commodore, Dumont among buyouts

Along with Chris Drury(notes) of the New York Rangers and Tyler Sloan(notes) of the Washington Capitals, the following players were placed on unconditional waivers for the purposes of being bought out, as Thursday's buyout deadline approached (all via Bobby Mac).

Sheldon Souray(notes), Edmonton Oilers

This boondoggle finally comes to an end after a season in which Souray was dropped down to Hershey in the AHL and the Oilers found absolutely no takers for him. He remains an enticing option at the right price, because good power-play quarterbacks are hard to find. He's voiced a concern in the past about playing in a city that was reasonably close to where his children live. He needs to take a short contract with a low salary to rehab his image. Cap Geek Buyout Hit: $2.4 million (2011-12) and  $1.5 million (2012-13).

Cam Barker(notes), Minnesota Wild

The third-overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, he never clicked with the Wild after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, skating to a minus-12 in 71 games since the deal. From Michael Russo:

There were ways the Wild could drag this out another month. But by doing so, that would be unfair to Barker. If bought out now, Barker can become an unrestricted free agent Friday and find a new home. If the Wild drags this out another month, Barker can find himself in a tough spot to find a gig.

Because Barker is 25, he'll be bought out for one-third his $3.25 million salary -- $1.083 million. Instead of the Wild being charged a $3.083 million salary-cap hit for Barker next season, a buyout will decrease the cap charge to $375,000 next season and $541,667 for 2012-03.

Please note he's a Winnipeg native. That is all.

JP Dumont(notes), Nashville Predators

A bit of a surprise, but also a player that had been playing down on the fourth line for Barry Trotz this season. The Preds will buy out the last year of his deal. From On The Forecheck:

With one more year left at $4 million, a buyout will cost the Preds $1.66 million in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, but free up a roster spot for a younger player who might better fit the team's long term plans.

If all their young players aren't suddenly ruled as being UFAs and bolt, of course.

Mike Commodore(notes), Columbus Blue Jackets

If you've read Puck Daddy for a bit, you know we have a soft spot for Commie. But as Aaron Portzline notes on Puck-rakers, it was time for him and the Jackets to divorce:

Commodore didn't seem to play that poorly last season - at least no worse than some other Jackets defenders -- but he ran afoul of the Blue Jackets coaching staff around Christmas and never played in Columbus again after Dec. 27. He spent the rest of the season with minor-league Springfield, playing in only 11 games.

The Jackets will pay Commodore $1,141,667 in each of the next four seasons. That's two-third of his remaining money, spread over two seasons for each remaining year. He's free to sign with any club as of Friday.

Commodore signed a five-year, $18.75 million contract with the Blue Jackets on July 1, 2008. Three years later, they ate his contract.

Like we said: Caution, general managers. Caution.

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