Tag Archives: signings

Worst NHL contracts on the books

In our  continued effort to point out how we could easily be better GMs than a number of people currently holding that position in the NHL, we would like to take a moment to highlight some of the worst contracts currently on the books for NHL teams. It may be the ridiculous overvaluation of a player, the length of the contract or the fact that it is hamstringing their salary cap but one thing is for sure – these GMs must have been choking on their crystal meth pipes when they signed these.

Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres)– $6.4 million for 3 more years, cap hit $7 /year
To be fair to Buffalo their hand was forced by a ridiculous offer sheet from Edmonton oilers GM Kevin Lowe. They matched and they have a 25-35 goal scorer who is not even remotely consistent.

Jay Bouwmeester (Calgary Flames) – $6.6 million for 3 more years, same cap hit
No shocker that one of the worst signings can be attributed to Darryl Sutter, hell you could make an entire list of terrible signings from him. This one was just a complete overvaluation for a good defenceman. $6.6 mil a year will buy you Dustin Byfuglien AND Brent Seabrook.

Shawn Horcoff (Edmonton Oilers) – $6.5, 6.0, 4.0 with $5.5 cap hit for next 3 years
Ahh it’s good to be an NHL player in Alberta, overpayments are in adundance. The sheer fact that Horcoff and his agent were able to get this out of the Oilers just proves how clueless Kevin Lowe is.

Scott Gomez (Montreal Canadiens via NY Rangers) – $7.5, 5.5, 4.5 with $7/year cap hit for next three years
Glen Sather must have taught Darryl Sutter and Kevin Lowe everything he knows because he is the original monopoly man, throwing money around like it is nothing. Over the years he has had so many bad signings it’s tough to list them all. Unfortunately for Montreal, they were dumb enough to trade for the perennial underperformer who has averaged under 14.2 goals a season over the past 4 years.

Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey Devils) – $6.667 cap hit for the next…..15 years. No big deal
What else can you say that hasn’t been said. To be fair, Ilya is an impressive -29 this year.

Rick Dipietro (NY Islanders) – $4.5 mil/year until 2021 same cap hit
Well thank god Charles Wang locked up his injury prone goaltender situation for one and a half decades when he did. Without that signing they may have actually been able to build a decent team around a decent goaltender.

 Wade Redden (NY Rangers) – $6.5, 5.0, 5.0 with a cap hit of $6.5…if he played in the NHL
Ah Mr. Sather makes another appearance on the list. Good work Slats. Glen has been the GM for the Rangers for 10 years now and has signed superstars such as Chis Drury, Scott Gomez, Bobby Holik, Eric Lindros, and Pavel Bure to long term contracts. None of them really worked out, but that doesn’t phase Slats from returning to that vault and minting more money for players that don’t deserve it.

Sergei Gonchar (Ottawa Senators) – $5.5/year for 2 more years with same cap hit
In a move that didn’t really make a whole lot of sense Bryan Murray signed Sergei Gonchar to a 3 year deal during the last offseason. He already had offensive players that are questionable at defence in Chris Campoli and Erik Karlsson.

Mike Komisarek (Toronto Maple Leafs) – $6.0, 5.5, 3.5, 3.5 cap hit of $4.5 per year
At what point does a defenceman that averages 15 points, + 4, and 110 PIMs turn into a contract that pays him $6 million dollars and averages $4.5 million over five years. Can’t even put into words what a misappropriation of funds that is.

Sure we’ve left plenty off this list so feel free to list your favourite contract on the market right now.

Is Brian Burke a reincarnation of JFJ?

It can be argued that Brian Burke was the architect behind the current Vancouver Canucks squad, he was the one that dealt for the top two picks in the draft that netted the Canucks Daniel and Henrik Sedin, two of the top snipers in the NHL these days. It can also be argued that he was the man behind the Anaheim Ducks cup run of 2007, even though he really came on board after they had Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry drafted. However, he was smart enough to draft players like Bobby Ryan and re-sign Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne again and again.

So, he had a lot of cache after a couple of years in Anaheim and of course the Toronto Maple Leafs GM at the time John Ferguson Junior was known as….well lets just say it politely, a fucking idiot. So the Leafs were in desperate need of a strong visionary that had the hockey knowledge and smarts about him to bring them back to a power position in the NHL. They have rabid fans and are the top hockey market in the world so suffice it to say they had their eyes on one and only one man to handle the job once they finally smartened up and fired the man that had made outrageous contract offers with Jason Blake, Pavel Kubina and Bryan McCabe (along with no-trade clauses for all of them). Brian Burke was seen as the star GM in the hockey world and Toronto did everything they could to land him. He would be their way out of the darkness that had enveloped the team.

Or so they thought….

Two years into the journey and Brian Burke is not even remotely handling the job in the proper way. I know when he took the job Burke said he would rebuild the Leafs in a non-traditional way in an effort to expedite the process, but why bother? Do you know how the Anaheim Ducks won the cup Brian? What about the Pittsburgh Penguins? or the Tampa Bay Lighning?

They used their draft picks wisely and built a team around top end draft choices. They tanked the team for three or four years and ended up with 3 or 4 top ten draft picks to build a franchise around. Once you have give your draft picks a chance to get themselves into NHL form through play in the AHL or a couple of seasons worth of learning lessons at the NHL level, start signing some free agents to fill out your roster and patch holes in the defence and forward areas.

Instead he has traded two first round draft picks for a sniper who has no one to play with and has tried to create a formidable blue line which has failed miserably. The first first rounder he traded was promptly turned into Tyler Seguin (the top ranked centre in the 2010 draft) who would have probably been a great fit with their Nazim Kadri selection from 2009. Brian Burke’s calculations in thinking the aquisition of Phil Kessel would be the key to the Leafs making a string of playoff appearances shows about as much mathematical accumen as I did in the pre-calculus college course that landed me on academic probation. His probation will be the Leafs mired in another decade of uselessness as the Boston Bruins reap the riches of the Leafs terribleness instead of Brian Burke.

Unfortunately Toronto hockey fans continue to buy tickets (kudos for not being bandwagon jumpers) which means the Leafs never have the time to tank a season and focus on building from the ground up. Until they change their mantra of “Every year we need to make the playoffs” for a couple of years, they will flounder at the bottom to mid range of the eastern conference. They will soon learn from Edmonton how to take a team from the scrap heap and build it into an entertaining product that sells tickets and has success on the ice.