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Nashville Predators

Here’s How A Potential Ryan Johansen Buyout Impacts The Predators



Ryan Johansen
Photo of Ryan Johansen by John Russell/Nashville Predators

The NHL trade deadline always raises plenty of questions about what teams can or cannot do contract-wise, as well as how certain moves impact different teams.

This year, the most intriguing move for the Nashville Predators seemed to be the Colorado Avalanche moving former Predator Ryan Johansen to the Philadelphia Flyers, who then waived him minutes later.

That move sparked several questions, of which will be answered below.

Could Nashville have claimed Johansen off waivers?

No. Nashville traded Johansen last June after general manager Barry Trotz said he’d need “the summer of his life” to stick around on the Predators roster. The team retained $4 million of his $8M salary for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons.

A team may only retain up to 50% of any player’s salary on a transaction and may have on their salary cap balance sheet a maximum of three salary retention spots at any given time per season. Per the CBA, a team may not reacquire a player it has retained salary on within 365 days of that player being on the team’s active roster.

Does Johansen playing the AHL impact Nashville’s salary cap or salary retention? 

No. Nashville is still responsible for the salary cap hit of $4M wherever Johansen plays, regardless of whether or not he’s in the minor league.

Can the Predators get some cap relief with Johansen’s retention?

If the Flyers were to buyout Johansen’s contract this season, the Predators would receive salary cap relief but would fill one of their three salary retention spots for an additional year over the course of Johansen’s buyout.

The $4M owed on Johansen’s current salary retention would be relinquished, and Nashville and Philadelphia would equally split his buyout. This is split equally because Nashville retained 50% of Johansen’s salary.

Johansen’s buyout number would be two-thirds of $8M because he is over the age of 26 and would have only one year remaining on his contract, resulting in a buyout number of $5.33M. With Nashville and Philadelphia splitting this equally, each team would be on the hook for a total dead cap hit of $2.66M split equally over the next two seasons.

Nashville’s dead cap hit would be $1.33M in both the 2024-25 and 2025-26 seasons with both of those seasons filling one of Nashville’s salary retention spots.

Ordinarily, buyouts don’t fill retention spots — see Matt Duchene — but because a buyout occurred on an existing retained slot, Nashville is responsible for the outcome of that contract. Should the Flyers buyout Johansen, the Predators’ would gain $2.67M ($4M original retention – $1.33M buyout) in cap space for the 2024-25 season and be responsible for $1.33M in dead cap in 2025-26. While $1.33M is not a large amount in the grand scheme of things, the $2.67M saved in the 2024-25 season would be important because this would cover Dante Fabbro’s most recent re-signing at one-year, $2.5M.

Follow Clay Brewer on Twitter/X: @ClayBrewer10

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