At the 2013 trade deadline, the Carolina Hurricanes did something they had to do. They traded fan-favorite and longtime Cane Jussi Jokinen to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a seventh or sixth round pick depending on how the Penguins do in the playoffs. Jokinen’s salary had to be erased from the Canes’ salary cap, but why not wait to amnesty Jokinen now instead of making the trade and retaining some of his salary?
Included in the trade was that the Hurricanes would retain $900,000 of Jokinen’s salary for the rest of this season and next. Carolina will pay the salary and will count against the cap. It may not seem like a lot, but that is almost a million dollars in an off-season where the Canes have only $7 million to work with.
Instead of dealing Jokinen, the Hurricanes could have amnestied him this summer, pay the salary and remove it completely from the salary book. Every team has the ability to amnesty two players and the Canes already said they would not amnesty anyone this summer. The only other player that could be a buyout option would be Tuomo Ruutu, but that would still leave one remaining amnesty for the Hurricanes.
It was nice of GM Jim Rutherford to instead trade Jokinen to the Penguins, who have a high chance of winning the cup, but a week before the deadline Jokinen was placed on waivers and could have been picked up by any team, so where the Finnish forward went did not seem to be a huge issue for the Hurricanes. Also Jokinen would have the freedom of signing with any team if he was bought out this summer.
The most likely reason why the Hurricanes completed the trade was because if they bought out Jokinen, they would have to pay him his full $3,635,000 salary in the summer. The Canes are a salary team and do not have the money to pay someone over $3 million on one day.
But consider that the Hurricanes will still pay nearly a million to Jokinen, while not playing for the Canes at all next year, the amnesty clause may have been a better option.