- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
The Nashville Predators are buying out star center Matt Duchene after placing him on unconditional waivers Friday.
Duchene, 32, had three years left on the seven-year, $56 million contract he signed with the Predators in July 2019. It carried an average annual value of $8 million against the salary cap. Duchene was due $20 million in actual salary over the next three seasons.
His contract didn’t carry any no-movement protection. He is now an unrestricted free agent.
Duchene was Nashville’s second-leading scorer last season with 56 points in 71 games, including 22 goals. Duchene had 197 points in 249 career games with the Predators over four seasons, including a 43-goal season in 2021-22. In his 14-year NHL career, Duchene has 744 points in 976 career games with Nashville, Ottawa, Columbus and Colorado, which selected him third overall in the 2009 NHL draft.
The buyout will impact the Predators’ salary cap for the next six seasons. According to Cap Friendly, Nashville will carry this amount of dead cap space for Duchene each season: 2023-24: $2.56 million; 2024-25: $5.56 million; 2025-26: $6.56 million; 2026-27: $1.56 million; 2027-28: $1.56 million; 2028-29: $1.56 million.
The Predators have a total of $8,805,556 million in dead cap space for next season thanks to buyouts to Duchene and Kyle Turris, and salary retention on trades for defenseman Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Johansen.
Johansen, who was traded to the Avalanche on June 24, and Duchene were a one-two punch at center for the Predators over the past four seasons. Now, neither of them will be on the roster for the first season under coach Andrew Brunette and general manager Barry Trotz.
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