Buying Out Grubauer's Contract: A Non-Option for the Kraken

Vince Carbonneau
June 19, 2024  (11:12)

Philipp Grubauer in the net
Photo credit: The Seattle Times

Buying Out Grubauer's Contract: A Bad Move for the Kraken

Many Seattle Kraken fans and perhaps the team itself might be considering buying out the final three years of goalie Philipp Grubauer's contract. However, this would be a poor business decision and detrimental to reworking the roster. Let's delve into why this is the case through some number-crunching.
Grubauer's 3-Season Performance Review
The idea of a buyout stems from Grubauer not meeting expectations since signing a six-year, $35.4 million contract in 2021. Despite some standout moments, including leading the Kraken to a seven-game upset of the defending champion Colorado Avalanche in the 2022 playoffs and almost repeating the feat against the Dallas Stars, Grubauer's overall performance has been lackluster.
Kraken GM Ron Francis wasn't wrong to sign Grubauer initially. Expansion teams often build from the goaltender out, and Grubauer was coming off a Vezina-finalist season with the Avalanche, boasting a 1.95 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, and seven shutouts. These numbers justified the high price.
The Hindsight Perspective
With hindsight, the combined term and average annual value (AAV) of the contract appear to be mistakes. Grubauer's goals-against averages in Seattle have been disappointing: .889, .895, and .899 over three seasons. Even during his impressive playoff run, he posted a 2.99 GAA and .903 save percentage.
Advanced metrics are also unkind. Last season, Grubauer ranked 52nd out of 65 goalies in "Goals Saved Above Expected" with a -5.8 rating, according to, despite playing on a defense-focused Kraken team that finished in the top 10 for goals against.
Why a Buyout Hurts More Than It Helps
Some media suggest cutting their losses and buying out Grubauer's contract, but this would be a mistake. Here's why:
Grubauer still has $16.9 million remaining on his contract. A buyout, as calculated by, would cost the Kraken 67% of that total, amounting to nearly $11.3 million. Even if the team could absorb this real-world cost, the impact on the salary cap would be significant.
Buyouts are spread over twice the remaining contract years, leaving the Kraken with cap hits through the 2029-30 season. The specific cap implications are:
- 2024-25: $978,000 ($4.9 million savings)
- 2025-26: $2.17 million ($3.7 million savings)
- 2026-27: $3.28 million ($2.6 million savings)
- 2027-28: $1.88 million
- 2028-29: $1.88 million
- 2029-30: $1.88 million
While technically saving $11.3 million over the next three seasons, the Kraken would incur "dead cap" costs of about $5.7 million from 2027 to 2030, severely limiting flexibility for signing other players.
Additionally, the team would still need to pay for another goalie, who might not be any better or cheaper than Grubauer.
#### The Better Path Forward
A more strategic approach is to hope for improvement from Grubauer behind a solid defensive lineup and an enhanced forward group. If this doesn't materialize, the buyout option becomes more manageable after the 2024-25 season.
In conclusion, buying out Grubauer's contract is not a viable option for the Kraken at this time. The financial implications and the potential need to find a replacement make it a less favorable choice compared to other available alternatives.
19 JUIN   |   23 ANSWERS
Buying Out Grubauer's Contract: A Non-Option for the Kraken

Should the Seattle Kraken buy out Philipp Grubauer's contract?

Yes626.1 %
No1773.9 %
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