The 10 Most Expensive NHL Contract Buyouts

Buyouts are an integral part of professional sports programs. They allow a franchise to free-up assets and acquire new talent under their salary caps. Some buyouts make sense for everyone involved. The team is moving in a new direction and the person in question is no longer a good fit, or simply fails to produce what was expected. When a buyout occurs, the winners are often the players that are no longer needed. Follow along to see exactly what these players were paid to not play.

10 Danny Brière – Philadelphia Flyers: Bought Out for $3.33 Million

Four-time gold medalist Danny Brière had two years left on his eight-year, $52 million dollar contract with the Philadelphia Flyers when their storybook relationship came to an end. In June of 2013, the Flyers opted to buy out the remainder of the center’s contract. They bade him a warm farewell as he continued his career elsewhere. The cost of ending this relationship was a cool $3.33 million dollars in Danny’s pocket and a new two-year deal for him with the Montreal Canadiens.

9 Chris Drury – New York Rangers : Bought Out for $3.33 Million

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Chris Drury had a sweet five-year deal worth a total of $35.25 million with the New York Rangers. In 2011, the Rangers decided they needed to increase their salary cap, and thus bought out the remaining one year of Chris’s contract. The center went on to collect $3.33 million from the Rangers and two months later, officially retired as a player.

8 Bill Guerin – Dallas Stars: Bought Out for $4.4 Million

In 2002, Bill Guerin, the first player of Hispanic descent to enter the National Hockey League, signed on with the Dallas Stars for a term of five years. His total contract added up to an impressive $45 million. After a disappointing 2005 - 2006 season where he scored a total of only 40 points, Dallas decided the best move was to release him from his obligations. With one year left on his contract, the NHL club paid him $4.4 million over the course of two years. Bill continued his NHL career, signing on with the St. Louis Blues for a one-year deal.

7 Mike Commodore – Columbus Blue Jackets: Bought Out for $4.56 Million

Canadian defenceman Mike Commodore signed a five-year, $18.75 million contract in 2008 with the Columbus organization. The Blue Jackets and Mike came to an amicable break in 2011. With two years left on his contract, Mike walked away with a total $4.56 million spread over four seasons.

6 Mark Parrish – Minnesota Wild: Bought Out for $5.56 Million

American right winger Mark Parrish signed a five-year, $13.25 million deal with his home state club of Minnesota in July of 2006. He played for them for two years, achieving captaincy on three separate occasions. Ultimately, the organization decided they needed to free up some of their assets more than they needed the right winger on their team. The Wild bought out the remaining three years of Mark Parrish’s contract in 2008. The move cost the Minnesota Wild $5.56 million over the course of 6 years.

5 Darcy Tucker – Toronto Maple Leafs: Bought Out for $6 Million

In February of 2007, Canadian Darcy Tucker signed a four-year extension to his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. By 2008 the Maple Leafs were ready to bid Darcy adieu, and made the decision to buy out the remaining 3 years of his contract. Darcy Tucker skated away with $6 million and found a new home with the Colorado Avalanche.

4 Wade Redden – New York Rangers: Bought Out for $8.3 Million

Two-time NHL All-Star Wade Redden signed on for a six-year, $39 million contract with the New York Rangers in 2008. The Rangers had high expectations for the Canadian defenseman, and when he failed to deliver, it was time to bid him farewell. After two disappointing years, they decided to buy out the rest of his contract. Redden was owed the entire salary for the 2012 - 2013 season and two-thirds of his salary for 2013 - 2014, netting him a cool $8.3 million on his way out.

3 Václav ‘Vinny’ Prospal –Tampa Bay Lightning: Bought Out for $10.5 Million

On June 30, 2008, Vinny Prospal signed a four-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. The contract was worth $14 million. One short year later, in July of 2009, the Lightning opted to buy out the remainder of the Czech’s contract. With three years remaining, this move cost the organization roughly $10.5 million. Vinny took his reduced pay and moved on to signing a one-year deal with the New York Rangers worth $1.1 Million.

2 Alexei Yashin – New York Islanders: Bought Out for $17.7 Million

Russian-born Alexei Yashin went to the New York Islanders on the first day of the draft in 2001. General manager Mike Milbury wanted to keep him happy for a very long time and offered the center a mind-boggling 10 year contract worth $87.5 million dollars. Shortly after signing the golden ticket, Yashin’s numbers began to decline. It did not take long for people from both sides of the aisles to question the huge amount of money being placed in his pocket. After a few disappointing seasons, the organization decided to cut their losses. This proved to be a costly decision. With four years remaining in his contract, Alexei whistled a happy show tune as he walked away from the Islanders with a mind-numbing $17.6 million.

1 Ilya Bryzgalov – Philadelphia Flyers: Bought Out for $23 Million

On June 23, 2011 the Philadelphia Flyers made a historic decision by signing on Russian-born goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million contract. The three-time Olympian proved to be a great asset to the organization. He set the Flyers all-time record for longest shutout streak in the clubs history. Alas, after just two seasons, with decent numbers, the Flyers thought it best if they parted ways with Ilya to free up some capital for future free agents. With seven years left on his original contract, the Flyers paid Bryzgalov a total of $23 million and sent him on his way.

More in Hockey