It’s Time for the Flyers to Buyout Umberger and Lecavalier

The Flyers have $10+ million in cap space tied up in two guys that collectively have 42 points over the last 120 games.

At the conclusion of this season, the first thing the Flyers need to do is buyout one of these two, if not both.

Now, of course, this isn’t as simple as when the team bought out Danny Briere and Ilya Bryzgalov. The Flyers were handed a bone with those, because under the rules of the new CBA, the league allowed two compliance buyouts to help teams stay under the cap.

This time the Flyers will pay.

The terms for a buyout are complicated (you can read more about it here), but it essentially has three parts. The players age, cap hit, and actual salary.

So how much would the Flyers have to eat in cap space for these two guys?

I’ll start with Umberger because he is the more plausible of the two.

He has one year left on his contract following this season. That would mean that under the terms of a buyout, the Flyers would have to pay him for an extra season, or through the 2017-18 season. His cap hit sits and $4.6 million and his salary for next season would be $4.5 million. Since Umberger is over 26 years old, he is owed 2/3 of his remaining salary (players under 26 are only owed 1/3).

If they did this, the Flyers would take a cap hit of $1.585 million in 2016-17 and $1.485 million in 2017-18.

There is, of course another option, and that is to let him ride out the last year of his deal, but that would cost the team a much heftier $4.6 million over just one year against the cap. That’s a difference of $3 million and something they could really use to bolster some secondary scoring. That’s huge considering Umberger hasn’t found the back of the net in 41 games.

Now, lets not forget about the other dead weight contract, Vincent Lecavalier. His situation is a little bit more complicated.

He is under contract through the 2017-18 season, so if the Flyers bought him out after this season, they would be paying him through the 2019-20 season. Here’s how that would break down.

It’s important to understand that while Lecavalier’s cap hit is $4.5 million, he is only being paid $3 million in his last two seasons under contract. This really hurts the Flyers when calculating the buyout hit.

2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Cap Hit 4,500,000 4,500,000
Salary 3,000,000 3,000,000
Buyout Salary 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Buyout Cap 2,500,000 2,500,000 1,000,000 1,000,000

The above table shows how everything works out. Buyout Cap is what the Flyers will have count against their cap. For the 2016-17 and 2017-18 that would be $2.5 million and both 2018-19 and 2019-20 would be $1 million.

To put all of this into perspective, let’s theoretically say the Flyers bought out both players. Here’s how that would look for their cap situation (all numbers are cap hits not salaries).

2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Lecavalier Cap Hit 4,500,000 4,500,000
Umberger Cap Hit 4,600,000
Combined Buyout Cap Hit 4,085,000 3,985,000 1,000,000 1,000,000

So if the Flyers bought both players out after this season, they could save themselves over $6 million in cap space next year (more than enough to sign an impact player), still have a lower cap hit than they would with Lecavalier in 2017-18, and have a measly $1 million against their cap in 2018-19 and 2019-20. That would leave them with over $15 million in total cap space next season (assuming the cap is the same).

When you take into account that Lecavalier is likely not going to see much of the ice, and Umberger has been nothing but a liability, this is a very appealing scenario for a team that is severely constrained by the cap.