The St. Louis Blues will not use the new buyout rule to address its difficult salary cap position, according to a report in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Team have until Friday to buy out big cantracts at two-thirds of their value. It is a temporary rule designed to help teams get under the new salary cap.
The top targets for the Blues appeared to be Doug Weight and Keith Tkachuk. Weight will make $5.7 million this season, while Tkachuk will pull in $7.8 million.
On Monday, however, Blues president Mark Sauer said the buyout plan was just a money-burner. "That's just cash thrown into the river as far as I'm concerned," Sauer told the Post Dispatch. "Let's not sugarcoat this, this isn't a fantasy sports league here. That's real money being paid. Some teams are being forced to do that. Thank goodness we don't have to do that."
Despite keeping at least two high-proced players, the Blues say they won't be big spenders.
"We're not trying to figure out, nor should we, how to spend to the max," Sauer said. "We're trying to figure out, 'How do we stay flexible? How do we get this team more stable financially? How do we prepare for a very complex set of circumstances?"
That could be bad news for restricted free agent defenceman Chris Pronger.
The Blues have until Sunday to sign Pronger or give him a qualifying offer, which would allow the Blues to match another club's offer or receive compensation if Pronger signs elsewhere. Sauer said the Blues remain uncertain how to proceed with the star defenceman.
"I think it's maybe a better spending of major dollars if you're spending them on 27-year-old unrestricted free agents rather than 31-year-old unrestricted free agents," Sauer told the Post Dispatch. "I'm not knocking Chris ... but remember, once you burn some of that salary cap room, you're done.
"The bottom line now is flexibility as far as the St. Louis Blues are concerned, and we're going to be very careful about that."
"It's frustrating that they have had 15 months to put a game plan together," Pronger told the Post Dispatch. "They had an idea of what (the CBA) was going to look like. It's very frustrating not knowing where you're going to be. That's the thing ... it's not that they're giving you good news or bad news. They're not giving you anything."