Lou Lamoriello has zero chill, and says Toronto will buy out Jared Cowen’s contract this offseason.
Sometimes post-deadline press conferences can be pretty dry, especially after making exactly zero deals on deadline day, but Lamoriello casually made the announcement just an hour after the cut-off. First, Lamoriello explained that acquiring Cowen was a necessity in order to facilitate the Dion Phaneuf trade to Ottawa, and then he dropped the hammer…
“We have talked to Jared. With his situation and with one year left, and with his cap hit, he will not be playing another game this year. Our intention is to buy him out on July 1st.”
Damn. That’s just ice cold. Forget the Leafs, Cowen won’t even be suiting up for the Marlies. Toronto wants to avoid him getting injured at all costs.
As you’re probably already aware, Cowen’s contract is unique in that, being backloaded, he’s due to be paid much more next season ($4.5M in salary) than his actual cap hit ($3.1M). As such, when Toronto buys him out they will actually receive a cap reward of $650,000 in 2016-17 before being penalized $750,000 in 2017-18. That’s an extremely light penalty, if you can call it that. (Thanks to General Fanager for those numbers.)
Another possibility, of course, is that Toronto may decide to trade Cowen so that another team could benefit from the buyout reward. There were rumours earlier that a deal with Chicago that saw Bryan Bickell coming back to Toronto could be a possibility. The Blackhawks would be able to buy out Cowen and receive that cap reward and shed Bickell’s bloated contract, but they would of course have to send along an asset with it to make it worth Toronto’s time and money.