Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NHL Contracts: The Really Bad Ones

10. Tim Thomas - Four years $20 Million remaining
This was a classic mistake by Peter Chiarelli, paying for past performance. Or maybe he felt guilty for getting $6 million value out of Thomas the last few years while actually paying him less than a million a year. Either way, a four year deal for a 35 year-old semi-journeyman goalie is not smart. If he doesn't sign on your terms, you have to be prepared to walk away. Theo Epstein would never have made this move.

9. Brad Richards - Two years $15.6 remaining
He was tremendous in winning the Conn Smyth when Tampa won the Cup back in 2004 (when he was also a key part of Canada's World Cup team) and followed that up with a great season the first year after the lockout (91 points), but his play has regressed to the point that Dallas probably wishes they would've held on to Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern rather than trading for Richards. We know Tom Hicks and his (empty) wallet certainly do.

8. Tim Connolly - Two Years $9 Million remaining
This is like a MLB team giving Rich Harden a two year $20 million contract. The potential is there for it to be worth it, but the logic suggests you would be an idiot to offer. Connolly is a terrifically talented playmaker who cannot stay healthy. Can't. Will not.

7. Brian Rolston - Three years, $15 million
The 36 year old has watched as his goals, assists and points have each decreased over the last four years. He's gone from 79 points, to 64, to 59 and all the way down to 32 points last year. It's as if Lou Lamoriello botches a couple of contracts on purpose (Alex Mogilny, Vladimir Malakhov) just so he can challenge himself to get out from under them. If I'm Florida, Phoenix or any other sorry franchise, I'd be very careful when Lou is calling you. It might be best to let that one go to voicemail.

6. Ryan Malone - Six years $25.5 million remaining
His stats are eerily similar to Darcy Tucker and Tucker was bought out of his Toronto contract while making $3 million a year. With a cap hit of $4.25 million a year, Malone won't be overpaid this year or even next. But the last four years of that deal, when Malone is 32, 33, 34 and 35, well, they aren't going to be pretty for the Kansas City Lightning fans.

5. Rick Dipietro - 12 years $54 million remaining
The contract that put the NHL directly on route to the NBA circa 1999 has predictably set the precedent for a future CBA showdown. A maximum number of years in contract length will absolutely be a part of the next NHL/NHLPA agreement and for everyone not an NHL player or agent, this can't happen soon enough.

4. Chris Pronger - Seven years $35 million remaining
This refers to the extension Pronger signed upon being traded to Philadelphia (he still has one year left on his original deal) and how it will probably destroy the Flyers in five years. You know, unless the league decides to look the other way. As it currently stands, Pronger will have a cap hit of $5 million as a 41 and 42 year-old player even though his deal is heavily weighted to the front (he'll earn only half a million dollars in each of his final two years). The Flyers thought they had circumvented the cap like everyone else, but somehow forgot or misunderstood that any player who signs after age 35 cannot come off the cap even in retirement. In short: A horrible, horrible deal for the Flyers.

3. Wade Redden - Five years $31 million remaining
I know Glen Sather was the architect of five Stanley Cup teams with the Oiler in the 80's and that his drafting resume during that period was nothing short of amazing...but that was a long time ago. A long, long time ago. Every Senator fan in the world knew Redden was in decline as far back as three years ago. Now Ranger fans are finding out.

2. Scott Gomez - Five years, $33.5 million remaining
I would like to call this a 'roll of the dice' move by Bob Gainey, selling it (like the delusional Montreal media) as taking a chance on revitalizing a fallen star with a simple change of scenery. But that would be a lie because when you're rolling the dice there is always potential for a good outcome. Gomez has scored between 10 and 19 goals in eight of his nine NHL seasons. He isn't even a top 30 center in this league.

1. Brian Campbell - Seven years $50 million remaining
It was cringe worthy in 2008 when he signed, and the contract appears even worse now. It's not that Campbell is a terrible player by any means. He's a good powerplay presence on the point who happens to be mildly to exceedingly overpaid. He's not the only one. The real problem is that he eats up a minimum of 8% of the Chicago cap space going forward and is the fourth best rearguard on the team AND they have two of the best young forwards in the league approaching restricted free agency. Welcome to the job Stan Bowman.

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