Your 2014 All Bad Contracts Team

Nash, Rick »$7.8MM

New York

Staal, Eric »$8.250MM


Ovechkin, Alex »$9.5MM


Cammalleri, Mike »$5MM

New Jersey

Lecavalier, V. »$4.5MM


Semin, Alexander »$7MM


Umberger, R.J. »$4.6MM


Horcoff, Shawn »$5.5MM


Callahan, Ryan »$5.8MM


Filppula, V. »$5MM


Bolland, Dave »$5.5MM


Neil, Chris »$1.9MM



Streit, Mark »$5.25MM


Myers, Tyler »$5.5MM


Johnson, Jack »$4.35MM


Wideman, Dennis »$5.25MM


Engelland, Deryk »$2.9MM


Gonchar, Sergei »$5MM



Ward, Cam »$6.3MM


Pavelec, Ondrej »$3.9MM


Just for fun on a Friday afternoon, I thought I’d put together an All Bad Contracts team. Here’s what I’ve got. Omissions? Protestations? Hit the comments!

Teams with the most representation: Philadelphia, and Carolina have three turds apiece. You might also include Columbus, with one contract of their own (Johnson, though it was given to him by Los Angeles) and two they gave to players on other teams (Umberger and Nash). Calgary has some stinkers in there, and I almost included Jonas Hiller, which would have qualified them.

The cap hit for this team is $108.8MM, or about $39.8MM over the cap.

Up front you have a trio of declining superstars. It might be controversial to include Ovechkin, given the goal-scoring hardware he’s racked up, but I think with all of the money they’ve sunk into his contract and the fact that he’s basically a powerplay specialist with zero accountability at this point, his might actually be the most disastrous contract of the bunch. He’s signed until 2021, and makes $10MM a year in cash for the next seven seasons.

For the most part, I hesitated to include superstar deals. You won’t see Kane, Toews, Perry, Getzlaf, Crosby or Malkin here. When a franchise player is due a new contract, I feel the team often doesn’t have much in the way of leverage. Columbus couldn’t really give Rick Nash, who they’d built their entire identity around, less than they did. Same for Carolina and Staal. So I don’t blame them too much, but in the cold light of 2014, these deals still look awful, and will only get worse with time. These three guys in particular exemplify the sort of line that can produce points, but nowhere near tantamount to their salaries.

Our second line guys don’t seem too, too egregious until you bunch them together. The fun thing is how these $4MM-$5MM guys, if couched on a line with low-cost ELCs, or other high-value contracts, don’t seem too awful. They’re NHL veterans, after all. But taken together…that’s $16.5MM, or about a quarter of the total cap allowance, for 124 points last year. Semin’s an elite possession driver, but had only 42 points last year, and missed about 20 games to injury.

The third line is made up of character guys you wouldn’t kick off of your team, though they’re overpaid in the extreme. The Callahan deal is especially bad. Yzerman was backed into a corner of wanting to show something for the Martin St. Louis deal, and so gave Callahan too much term and cash. Like Umberger, he’s a leader-y guy making elite production money. Horcoff isn’t particularly good at hockey anymore. (Though I guess it’s worth noting his pay is a couple mill below his cap hit.)

That fourth line is legitimately awful. Bolland and our own Chris Neil bring literally nothing to the ice for that money. Bolland’s deal was the laughing stock of the UFA period this year. Filppula isn’t a bad player, but it’s hard to understand why Yzerman had to give a complementary scorer in Detroit so much to coax him to Tampa to play with one of the best players in the world in Stamkos.

The process of putting together this team helped me to understand how much leeway Yzerman has received over the past couple of years. Yzerman gets a lot of praise for transforming Tampa into a quasi-contender (if third last in the league followed by a first round sweep counts as contending, which it doesn’t), but he’s spent enormous amounts of owner Jeff Vinnik’s money doing it. Every UFA period, he’s right up front handing out long-ish deals to players like Matt Carle, Anton Stralman, Callahan, Filppula, and Boyle. Right now they’re over the cap by almost two million. If Tampa doesn’t do something soon, the shine is going to wear off. Especially when he has to give Stamkos a billion dollars.

On the back end, you have a whole lot of cash spent on a whole lot of mediocrity. No one is really out-and-out awful, except for Deryk Engelland – the rare Defenseman Enforcer! Because you really want to be down a defensemen when killing off a major penalty. Jack Johnson is a noted possession black hole who makes everyone around him worse and is signed until the end of time. Tyler Myers illustrates the problem of signing someone for their potential. Gonchar is 200 years old.

And in net, Cam Ward was 47th in the league in SV% last year, a stunning .898 average, and makes over $6MM a year. That might be the worst contract in the league right there. Pavalec’s trials and tribulations have been well documented. He’s signed for two more seasons after this one, which is amazing.

So…how do you think this team would do? Depending on whether they’re in the West or the East, I think they have a shot at the playoffs. But they’re likely going to miss, and spend a fortune doing it. See, Ottawa? It could be worse!


10 thoughts on “Your 2014 All Bad Contracts Team

  1. Although a good argument can be made that Chris is using up a roster spot in Ottawa, he is relatively cheap.

    Now Clarkson on the other hand, would really fit in nicely, both in price and productivity.

  2. I’m not a fan of Filppula’s contract, but I’d say that Ryane Clowe’s contract is worse.

    As I’m not a fan of Zajac’s contract either, you could say that I think New Jersey has handed out a series of bad contracts over the past few years.

    • It’s true. I’ve always associated New Jersey with being a careful system team, but it seems like, lately, they’ve been on a signing tear. I considered Clowe, but also thought about that Michael Ryder contract.

    • I’d take Heatley at one year, $1MM. That’s rookie money. He might still be good for 20 goals, and not be too much of a liability if you shelter him, play him on the 2nd unit PP. But yeah, on his old deal? That turned into a stinker soon enough.

  3. Pingback: And now, your 2014 All Good Contracts Team |

  4. You “hesitated to include superstar deals” inclding franchise players and proceed to shit on Ovechkin’s contract with garbage about being one dimensional (his career stats have almost as many assists as goals and plus minus in the positive) or a liability. I’m calling bullshit.

  5. Pingback: What is the most money a team should spend on a single player? |

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