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Melnyk’s “Hangover” Ends: Three Buyouts End

With the conclusion of the NHL’s regular season, everyone in the city of Ottawa is rejoicing over yesterday’s good fortune. Thanks to a Senators loss, combined with victories by the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals, the Sens have dropped to eighth in the Eastern Conference and will avoid the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs.

Granted, the New York Rangers have had a hell of a regular season and they have one of the best goaltenders in the league in Henrik Lundqvist, however, Ottawa’s had a better track record of success against the Rags than Boston.

There is other reason for celebration nevertheless. When the clock struck 0:00 and the final buzzer sounded at the Prudential Center, it not only signified the end of the game, it also marked the finality of the organization’s respective buyouts to Jonathan Cheechoo ($1.166M), Ray Emery ($562,500) and Daniel Alfredsson ($700,000).

Unlike either of Cheechoo or Emery, Alfie’s buyout was not reflective of a drop in performance. In his pre-lockout contract that was signed before the 2005 CBA was in effect, it contained three mutual (team and player) options that started before the start of the 2009/10 season. These options stipulated that Alfie would be paid the aforementioned $700,000 buyout for each option year that was not exercised.

Rather than trigger the first of his option years, Alfie and the Senators negotiated a contract extension in October of 2008. Under the parameters of the new CBA, option years are no longer permitted but the league would grandfather in any outstanding options. The result was a situation in which the Senators would have to “buyout” Alfie and award him the $2.1 million in unexercised options that would be paid during the 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons; this is why you will see a $700,000 buyout under the Senators’ team cap page on Capgeek.com.

For an organization that has gone from being a cap ceiling team to one that features one of the least expensive rosters, shedding these buyouts from the books will be important for the Senators. Described in an exclusive Ottawa Citizen interview by Melnyk as financial “hangover”, now that these buyouts have been resolved,“things can all come together where the business of hockey actually pays and the cheques start going, hopefully, the other way.”

This has been your 6th Sens mailed in post of the day.