The buyout of Danny Briere makes a ton of sense for a ton of reasons, namely:
* He's not very good anymore. We already know he's a weak defensive player, and the last two seasons have been by far his least productive offensively since he came to Philadelphia in 2007. He can score in the playoffs, but you need to get to the playoffs for that to work.
* He's expensive, not in real dollars but in a $6.5 million cap hit over the next two seasons.
* The Flyers could use the savings. The salary cap is dropping to $64.3 million next year and they already have $70.3 million committed to the roster. Gotta cut down somewhere.
But just because it makes sense doesn't mean the Flyers will do it, and Briere's buyout remains perhaps the biggest question facing the team this offseason. Will they buy him out? Well, he thinks they will.
Ran into Daniel Briere last night. He's pretty sure the Flyers are going to buy him out. He wants to stay.— steve simmons (@simmonssteve) May 23, 2013
It's a bit complicated for Briere. When he signed here in 2007, it was no doubt with the intention of finishing his career in Philadelphia, and a buyout would change all of that. He has two young sons and has roots down in the Delaware Valley. Picking up and moving to a new city at this stage in his life is not something that he wants to do for reasons we can all understand.
But hockey doesn't care about the lives of its players, nor does the business of hockey, and Briere seems to be coming to terms with the fact that he could have to make that move. The Flyers would probably prefer to trade him instead of buying him out, considering that even with a buyout, they will still owe him a bit of money until his current contract expires.
There are probably a few teams that would be interested in acquiring him via trade even despite his cap hit, but there was a reason Briere didn't waive his no-trade clause back at the trade deadline, and he's not likely to do so now. For starters, if he's bought out he'll become a free agent and will have the choice to pick from any team in the league that's interested. He'll get a new contract as well, obviously, and he'll still be making money from the Flyers. He has more control over the situation AND more money. Hard to imagine him putting that control in Paul Holmgren's hands.