New Jersey Devils to buy out Janne Kuokkanen
Though the buyout period is listed as ending today, it is a little misleading. Today is the deadline to place players on waivers for the purpose of a buyout, meaning there could be another flood of names hitting the open market in a few hours. One of those is expected to be Janne Kuokkanen, according to PuckPedia, who will be bought out by the New Jersey Devils.
Because he is still just 24, the Devils would be on the hook for just one-third of Kuokkanen’s remaining contract, and would incur the following cap penalties:
- 2022-23: $200K
- 2023-24: $325K
Since he is currently carrying a cap hit of $1.825M and is owed $2.05M in salary the buyout represents considerable savings in both dollars and salary cap space this season. With the team hoping to contend for the playoffs, that money can be better used after the disappointing 2021-22 campaign that Kuokkanen endured.
With just six goals and 17 points in 57 games, the young forward did not take the expected step forward and now finds himself without a home for next season. Originally selected in the second round by the Carolina Hurricanes, there is enough talent to play at the NHL level, just not enough (so far) to make much of an impact.
Bottom-of-the-lineup forwards are getting squeezed all over the league this year as the hard cap continues to make it difficult to pay more than the minimum for fringe roster players, and Kuokkanen will join the rest of those unqualified yesterday as late entrants to the free agent market.