When Kyle Wellwood is affectionately referred to as "the-fluff-you-blow-off-a-dandelion Kyle Wellwood" on Pension Plan Puppets, we imagine fans won't be taking to the streets in passionate protests over his impending departure from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Raycroft has a $2.2 million salary due this season, the last on his current contract. As Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun reports, the Leafs can send Raycroft to the AHL Marlies if he's unclaimed by noon on Wednesday; the thought being that prospect Justin Pogge or current unrestricted free agent Scott Clemmensen would back up Vesa Toskala. Blogger Cory Wilkins runs down other Raycroft options:
If demoted, Raycroft would still be paid his full salary, however, it would not count against the salary cap. And if re-called through re-entry waivers, Raycroft's salary would then be half the price ($1 million cap hit) for teams interested in claiming him. Lastly is the buyout option. For the Maple Leafs to buyout Raycroft, two-thirds of his remaining salary (approx. $1.5 million) would be paid over twice the remaining years of his contract. This works out to $750,000 against the salary cap, per season, over the next two seasons. And assuming youngster Justin Pogge is not ready to play second fiddle to starter Vesa Toskala, the Maple Leafs would still need to employ a backup, cost $450,000 at the minimum. Financially, how much sense does it make to buyout Raycroft?
Unless his name is Alexei Yashin, buying out a player doesn't often make financial sense simply because it's the admission of a bad investment in the first place. It's usually just a personnel decision, to dump spare parts and bad fits. To that end, it must be assumed that Raycroft couldn't get a warm Labatt's back to Toronto in trade negotiations; rather than have him in the AHL collecting dust, I imagine they'll buy him out if unclaimed.
Destinations? Obviously the Ottawa Senators are the common thought, since they could just repaint those Rayzor bobblehead dolls. But Jonathan over on The Copper and Blue sees Ty Conklin (a UFA for the Pittsburgh Penguins) as a more viable option for the Sens if they're scared off by the $3 million due another potential backup for Martin Gerber: Dwayne Roloson of the Edmonton Oilers.