Does it count against the cap at all if a player's contract is bought out because he simply won't be available to play through the rest of his contract due to serious injury? Buying his contract out would be something the Blues need to start thinking about (and probably already have been).
Most teams have insurance on their bigger contracts. So like last year with Kariya and Johnson the insurance on the contract kicked in after maybe 20 games. So it would be more fiscally responsible to keep a contract like Brewers, pay the insurance along with the first 20 games of the season and then have the insurance kick in. So you're still taking a hit on the cap, but you aren't paying out the full amount of the deal.
Plus I don't know what the stipulations are between the NHL and the NHLPA in terms of buyouts. I know there's a specific window of time when buy outs must take place. But I don't know what the rules are about injured players. Regardless, this isn't a situation where a buyout makes sense IMO