Would the Blue Jackets benefit more from an Elvis Merzlikins buyout, or a trade?

One of the biggest pieces of business for the Columbus Blue Jackets this summer: what to do with Elvis Merzlikins. If they do decide to move on, what makes the most sense?
Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets
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The third option: an Elvis buyout.

The benefit here is that the Blue Jackets save $5.25 million dollars on Elvis' contract. That's no small amount of money.

The bad news is, they'll have to pay him for six years. But, it's at a more reasonable cap hit than a 50% retained trade, which is helpful for flexibility.

A buyout cap hit would go like this for those six years: $1.15, $1.625, $2.95, then $1.75 million for each of the last three years.

With the league-wide cap due to go up $4 million this summer, that's all very easy to fit in. But, will ownership want to be on the hook for $10.95 million dollars to get rid of Elvis?

We will probably find out soon, rather than later. I don't see the team staying quiet about this situation this summer, whether Elvis is staying or going. It will be a story to follow.

In any case, the Jackets should feel pretty comfortable heading into next season with a tandem of Daniil Tarasov and Jet Greaves. Both guys proved capable this year. These guys can play, but the team would be smart to cushion their landing with an experienced veteran in case of injury.

Final verdict: a trade makes the most sense.

Personally, I think they should try every trade avenue they can find. Whether it's an ugly contract swap, or a 50% retained trade for a draft pick in return; they should try to give him a chance to play out his time somewhere else.

The main reason here is, it allows for more flexibility. This team won't be ready for contention for the next few years, so they can absorb the higher cap hit if necessary. Then, it will be fully off the books when they are ready to push for a Stanley Cup.