Most likely buyout candidates for each Western Conference team
Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The NHL's silly season is right around the corner.

With teams on the brink of the annual tradition of overpaying in free agency, so too approaches the buyout window, in which some clubs will look to rid themselves of past contract blunders.

Here's a look at each team's most likely candidate to be bought out over the next month.

Click here for Eastern Conference candidates

Central Division

Chicago Blackhawks: Brandon Saad

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
25 35 $6M (2020-21) $361 111

Blackhawks fans might call for the head of Brent Seabrook, but the fact is he'd still be owed between $3.3 million and $6.8 million to not play for the team. As for Saad, buying him out would allow them to nearly wipe out his entire contract.

For a team strapped for cash it makes the most sense, the question is will Stan Bowman be willing to buy out a player he gave Artemi Panarin up for just one year ago?

Colorado Avalanche: Colin Wilson

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
28 18 $3 937 500 (2018-19) $1 270 833

Wilson has not been able to replicate his 2015 success where he potted 20 goals and 42 points with the Nashville Predators. The Avalanche are on the up swing and in order to further progress they might be better off spending their money on someone more reliable.

Dallas Stars: Jason Spezza

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
34 26 $7.5M (2018-19) $2.5M

After putting up a respectable 50 points in 2017, Spezza saw his production nearly slashed in half with 26 points in 10 more games. Spezza was made a healthy scratch on several occasions, so things could be done for him in Dallas.

Minnesota Wild: Tyler Ennis

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
28 22 $4.6M (2018-19) $2 166 667

Making $4.6 million, Ennis was still made a healthy scratch down the stretch and for four of the Wild's five playoff games. Over the last three seasons he's scored just 16 goals in 147 games. Enough said.

Nashville Predators: Nick Bonino

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
30 25 $4.1M (2020-21) $1 177 778

The likelihood of the Predators buying out anyone is low, but if they are to buy out someone, Bonino makes the most sense. Bonino is a third- or fourth-line center making over $4 million and just put up his lowest point total in six years.

St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Sobotka

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
30 31 $3.5M (2019-20) $1 083 333

The Blues may have just brought Sobotka back from the KHL, but Doug Armstrong has gone on record saying that he's going to be active in free agency and the trade market in the hopes of bolstering the team's forward core. If that's the case, cap space and roster space up front will be needed and Sobotka makes the most sense to go.

Winnipeg Jets: Dmitry Kulikov

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
27 11 $4 333 333 (2019-20) $1 444 444

Paying over $4 million for a bottom-pairing defenseman just doesn't make sense. With Jacob Trouba, Connor Hellebuyck, and Josh Morrissey among the team's nine pending RFAs, the club could use some extra cash.

Pacific Division

Anaheim Ducks: Corey Perry

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
33 49 $8.625M (2020-21) $4 180 556

Perry's days as a dependable 30-goal scorer appear to be in the rear-view mirror. What's more, he's struggled come playoff time the last couple seasons and at $8.625 million it might be worth turning the page on Perry. His buyout would see him get paid for six years but for four of those he'll be owed just over $2 million.

Arizona Coyotes: Marcus Kruger

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
28 6 $3 083 333 (2018-19) $1.55M

Kruger doesn't necessarily break the bank for the Coyotes, but with just one goal in 48 games last season with the Carolina Hurricanes (a more skilled team), Arizona might be better off ridding itself of his contract and spending the money elsewhere.

Calgary Flames: Troy Brouwer

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
32 22 $4.5M (2019-20) $1.5M

Brouwer gets paid the fourth-most among Flames forwards, but this past season finished ninth among them with just six goals. A buyout would save the team $3 million this season, which would certainly go a long way.

Edmonton Oilers: Zack Kassian

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
27 19 $1.95M (2019-20) $616 667

As is the growing trend among buyout cases, Milan Lucic might seem like the best candidate, but the Oilers would still have to pay him between $3.2 million and $5.7 million for the next five years.

Kassian on the other hand averages the least amount of ice time among all regular forwards and his production reflects that.

Los Angeles Kings: Dion Phaneuf

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
33 26 $5.25M (2020-21) $2 291 667

Phaneuf had a decent stint in L.A. after being acquired from the Ottawa Senators, but for a team that needs to free-up money in an attempt to bolster its offense, Phaneuf might have to serve as a scapegoat.

San Jose Sharks: Paul Martin

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
37 2 $4.85M (2018-19) $2 016 667

The Athletic's Kevin Kurz reported on Saturday that there is a "strong possibility" that Martin gets bought out. After spending time between the main club and in the AHL last season and the potential to save just shy of $3 million in 2018-19, it certainly makes sense.

Vancouver Canucks: Ben Hutton

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
25 6 $2.8M (2018-19) $800K

Loui Eriksson is the contract the team should try to get off the books, but with it so heavily weighted in signing bonuses, it doesn't make sense for the club. Meanwhile, Hutton's production has declined over the last two seasons, and didn't even manage to score a goal this past campaign.

Vegas Golden Knights: Tomas Tatar

Age 2017-18 Points Cap Hit (through) 18-19 Buyout Cap Hit
27 34 $5.3M (2020-21) $1 377 778

The Golden Knights paid a ton to acquire Tatar at the deadline, but after under-performing and serving as a healthy scratch mostly during the playoffs, it might be in the team's interest to free-up more cap space to do some big-game hunting in free agency or via trade. Cough ... cough ... Erik Karlsson.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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Most likely buyout candidates for each Western Conference team
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