The August Buyout Period
When the Rangers buyout Chris Drury, it will likely be during the initial June 15-30 buyout period. This is the period that is open to all teams. However, per the CBA, there is a second buyout period that few teams partake in. This August buyout period is limited to teams that go to arbitration with at least one restricted free agent. This is a clause in the CBA that allows a team to create additional cap space if an arbiter’s ruling is higher than a team’s expectations.
This period is triggered whether the player or the team elect to go to arbitration. The deadline for a player to file for arbitration is July 5, and for a team to elect for arbitration is July 6. The only restricted free agent that is not eligible for arbitration is Artem Anisimov. If the Rangers want to have that August buyout period, they will need to file for one of Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Matt Gilroy, or Mike Sauer. Arbitration meetings begin on July 20, and end on August 4. After that, the Rangers have until August 6 to decide if they agree or to walk away from the decision, like they did with Nik Zherdev.
Should the arbitration route be followed, there is a second buyout period after August 6. With so many RFAs this season, it wouldn’t surprise me to see arbitration be filed by at least one player, or have the Rangers file on one player. There’s nothing to read into there, it’s just the business of hockey. While I believe Drury will be bought out in June, Arthur Staple of Newsday is reporting that nothing is set in stone. I would imagine that if the Rangers decide to forgo the June buyout period, that they will go to arbitration with at least one RFA. This guarantees them time to buyout Drury in August.
Declining to buyout Drury in June, and electing for an August buyout period, would be a sign that they aren’t positive Brad Richards will sign. That, of course, is me just reading between the lines, and is pure speculation.