Tampa Bay Lightning to buy out left wing Vinny Prospal
The Lightning is making plans to buy out the last three years of the contract of left wing Vinny Prospal. The transaction will cost the Lightning $7 million spread out over six years.
How does that work? Tampa Bay owes Prospal $10.5 million in the three remaining years of a four-year, $14 million deal. Buyouts pay two-thirds of the remaining worth of the contract over double the remaining years.
That means the Lightning will pay Prospal $1.17 million per year, a savings this season of $2.33 million in salary and cap space. Just as an aside, the team is paying former goalie Marc Denis $1 million this season in the last year of his buyout.
"After fully evaluating our roster and our position in the salary cap world, we arrived at the decision to buy out Vaclav Prospal from his contract," GM Brian Lawton said in a statement. "We appreciate Vinny's service to the Lightning, but in the best interest of the team, we believe a difficult decision needed to be made in this case, and we are going to move ahead without him. We wish Vinny all the best."
Prospal is in his native Czech Republic and could not be reached, but his agent, Ritch Winter, was philosophical.
"I just accepted it. I don't know what else you can do," he said. "You can have an opinion different from the hockey gods of a particular team, but the Tampa Bay Lightning made the decision, and we'll just move on from there."
Prospal, 34, was one of many Lightning disappointments last season with 19 goals, 45 points in 82 games. He also was minus-20; only three players in the league were worse.
There still are some mechanics that need to take place, notably waivers. After a player is notified he is to be bought out, he has 24 hours in which to respond that he does not want to be put on waivers. If he does not want to be put on waivers, the buyout immediately takes effect and the player is an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team. Otherwise the player goes on waivers and another team can claim him at the full value of his salary. If he is not claimed, the buyout takes place and the player is free to sign with any team.
Prospal, a good friend of captain Vinny Lecavalier, had just bought a new home in the Tampa Bay area. He was in his third stint with the Lightning, with which he had his best statistical seasons.