As big of an opponent as I was against backdiving deals and other 2005 CBA "cheats" and "workarounds", I still think this is massively unfair to teams that signed these deals, all of which were within the rules of the existing CBA and were approved by the league (except for Kovalchuk's first deal).
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the effect of the recapture penalty to punish NHL front offices for taking advantage of the way cap hits are determined in the first place? Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa will both make just shy of $8 million next year, but the salary cap treats them as if they were making $5 million. To retroactively put into place a rule that punishes previously legal conduct makes no sense to me. I have no problem with recapture penalties going forward (or other rules limiting year-to-year variance on salaries), but that's because teams are now under notice of the rules going forward.
Yes, I understand that the two compliance buyouts were granted to give teams an "out" for that, but that isn't a real solution either, since it forces you to release that player off your team (you can't re-sign a compliance buyout for one year afterwards). If Zetterberg has kids in Sweden and wants to play there, or just decides that he wants to retire from the NHL for health or personal reasons, it just seems wrong to me that HE should be the one put in the position of tanking the Red Wings' salary cap situation by walking away from the team.
For the reasons stated by the OP, I kind of thought that Franzen was a borderline candidate for a buyout. He isn't a player like a Datsyuk or Z that I feel could be productive into his late, late 30's. His knee problems, physical style, and frame suggest a guy that will have a career arc more like Holmstrom, which means we'll be penalized when he hangs it up.