In his exit interview with the media in late April, R.J. Umberger admitted that due to his poor performance in 2015-16, he fully expected that the Flyers would choose to buy out the final year of his contract during the impeding offseason.
Today, Philadelphia general manager Ron Hextall confirmed Umberger's suspicions. The Flyers will indeed buy out the 34-year old forward during this week's buyout period.
#Flyers will buy out R.J. Umberger— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) June 16, 2016
Umberger had one season remaining on his five-year, $23 million contract. Rather than accept a cap charge of $4.6 million for the 2016-17 season, Hextall decided the best move was to buy out the final year of Umberger's deal. With the buyout, Philadelphia will save three million dollars in salary cap space for next season, as they will still be charged with a $1.6 million cap hit.
A key negative of the move is that now the Flyers will be stuck with an additional $1.5 million charge for the 2017-18 season. Had they kept Umberger this season, they would have no such charge for 2017-18.
But the buyout still makes sense. Umberger spent the final months of the season in the press box, and even as the team was ravaged by injuries in the playoffs, they turned to AHL regular Colin McDonald as a fill-in rather than Umberger.
If head coach Dave Hakstol had no interest in using the 34-year old on the ice, then a buyout made the most sense for both parties. Philadelphia would add extra salary cap flexibility for the coming offseason, and Umberger would be given a chance to catch on with another team to continue his playing career.
The buyout should be completed by the end of the day, and with it, R.J. Umberger's second tour of duty in Philadelphia will officially come to a close.