Detroit Red Wings Offseason Trades: What's a Buyout Worth?

You can't trade money for players or picks in today's NHL. This summer, teams may be able to do just that. Stick with me as I suggest that the Red Wings trade to acquire one of their least popular players of the last decade.

The Red Wings should look into trading for Ville Leino.

No, I'm serious. They should really call up the Sabres and see if they can get a deal done. I think it works out for everybody involved. Who should they trade to get the guy who had a $4.5M cap hit to put up zero goals last season? Well that's where it gets a bit trickier.

I think Jordin Tootoo should be the crux of the deal.

Ok, I'm sorry. I'll drop the bullshit. I am serious that the Red Wings should think about working out a trade that involves sending Jordin Tootoo to Buffalo in return for Ville Leino. The truth of the matter is that I think the real target should be Christian Ehrhoff. It's just that I think there's some untapped value in the trade market this offseason and the Sabres might appreciate having $6M more real dollars in their pockets after such a trade is complete.

We know that both Tootoo and Leino are buyout targets this year. The Wings aren't going to spend $1.9M on a guy who couldn't stick in the lineup for them and the Sabres don't want a shiftless crybaby stinking up their roster with demands that he be given the very best linemates or else. The thing is that Leino's buyout is going to cost about $7.3M over six years while Tootoo's will total $1.3M spread over two. Switch the two players off and the Wings are committing themselves to saving the Sabres $6M in real money for the sole purpose of eliminating that albatross contract for them.

The question becomes how much trade value does that $6M actually buy? I'm not suggesting it would be enough by itself to land Ehrhoff. However, would it potentially save the Wings from having to give up one of the coveted kids in a deal that lands them a top-4 defenseman?

Honestly, the answer is probably not. Twitter user @Hope_Smoke, who is a great source of info from the Toronto air and radio waves shared this info yesterday.

Clearly you, with the discerning eye and sharp mind, see that this is pretty much the opposite of what I'm suggesting. Buffalo is so weighed down with Terry Pegula cash that they're willing to take on albatross contracts for the low-low price of also having to give up a first-rounder to get them off your hands. Detroit isn't in the position where that specific move would make sense.

However, even in indicating that Buffalo is perhaps looking to do the opposite thing, it does show that they have a mindset where a compliance buyout has actual trade value.

I don't rightly know if this is something the Wings would consider. I know that it's a tough pill to swallow to throw $6M into a trade in order to make it happen, but since the ability to use these buyouts expires this summer, I think any level of creative thinking to get the absolute maximum value out of Detroit's one remaining compliance buyout should be considered. Ehrhoff has a supremely friendly cap hit and his contract structure means he's already been paid the lion's share of the money owed to him. Perhaps being able to save a little on the back end helps make up for the Sabres having already given Ehrhoff $22M of the $40M in the first three seasons of his 10-year deal.

Besides, trading for Ville Leino for the sole purpose of eliminating that horrible contract would be really funny, especially in the brief time between the trade and the buyout when some people would be positively losing their shit over such a deal.