Those signing bonuses do make it buyout-proof, though, which eliminates some of the safety net.
This seems like shallow philosophy at best.
No GM signs a deal thinking they'll need
to buy it out down the road or adds that in as a factor to how the deal is structured. In fact I'd argue that a GM planning that sort of contingency is likely a piss-poor GM to begin with. Requiring the contingency of a buyout in a deal probably means the deal itself is a bad contract. It seems counter-intuitive to what it would take to be a good GM. Now, setting up the actual dollars owed to be less than the AAV in the final years of the deal? There inlies a proper safety net: the contract, akin to player performance, takes the decline of age into consideration. Cash-poor teams that need to hit the cap floor have a desire to take those kinds of contracts on, especially if Edmonton is offering retained salary in such a trade.
LTIR exists as the ultimate safety net should the player get injured: unless we're expecting RNH to completely forget how to play hockey, there's virtually no risk with this deal.
I find instances of thoughts like these more frequently: it's no secret that the NHL is always getting younger but there is no temporal boundary at whatever age (say 32) that suggests that a player must be bad because he's "sports old". Look at how many 36 year-olds had half-point-per-game or higher seasons this year. Look at the longevity of players objectively worse than RNH that have maintained careers into their late 30s.
Teams need to be less afraid of that 8-year term if it means they can save substantially on AAV. Good players will go into those final years with the soft skills they've developed (hockey IQ specifically) and provide more than those players that lacked higher dimensions to their games.