NHL: Worst Trades of the Salary Cap Era

Worst Trades of the Salary Cap Era

The Salary Cap Era began with the 2005-06 season, and so much attention lately has been on some awful trades being made, particularly highlighted by the Oilers and Chiarelli in particular. There have been a lot of trades that have worked out well for both teams and some that have been very one-sided. I’ve been seeing a lot of people talking about certain trades on Twitter the last little bit, which made me want to dive into a lot of them and see exactly how they’ve worked out for both teams. I’m excluding any trades that were simply picks for picks, too many of those to sort through. These are not ranked in any specific order of which one is worse, but here we go. I found a great site listing all of the trades I’m talking about here http://www.nhltradetracker.com/user/trade_list_by_season, check it out:

June 24th, 2006 – Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins

Toronto Acquires – Andrew Raycroft – GM was John Ferguson Jr.

Boston Acquires – Rights to Tuukka Rask – GM was Peter Chiarelli

Raycroft won the Calder trophy is his first full year in the NHL in 2003-2004, with 29 wins in 57 games played. He followed that up with a lackluster 8 wins in 30 games played, which for some ridiculous reason tempted Toronto to trade for Raycroft. They had 2 goalie prospects in Justin Pogge and Tukka Rask, and clearly the Leafs valued Pogge more, keeping him and shipping out Rask. Since the trade, Raycroft played 173 games, winning only 70 of them. Pogge played in a total of 7 NHL games, winning 1 game! Rask, on the other hand, has played 395 NHL games, won a Stanley Cup in 2011, and a Vezina Trophy as the top-goaltender in 2014. This could easily be one of the more lopsided trades in Leafs history. This is one of the rare instances where Peter Chiarelli has come out on top in a trade.

Winner: Bruins fans are probably still laughing at this one, while Leafs fans are likely still crying.

Feb 25th, 2007 – Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks

Montreal Acquires – Josh Gorges & 1st round pick in 2007 (Max Pacioretty) – GM was Bob Gainey

San Jose Acquires – Craig Rivet & 5th round pick in 2008 (Julien Demers) – GM was Doug Wilson

Rivet was a much more established defender at that time, but only went on to play 91 games for the Sharks in just over 1 season. The Sharks didn’t make it past the 3rd round of the playoffs that year when they made this trade, but Rivet played well for them. The flip side however is what Montreal acquired from this trade. Gorges played a whopping 457 NHL games for the Canadiens, before they then traded him to Buffalo for a 2nd round pick. The pick San Jose gave to Montreal turned into Max Pacioretty… who’s currently the captain of the team, and has 411 points in 562 games since being drafted. He’s scored over 200 goals, and been the Canadiens go-to player for offensive since 2011. This trade is looking worse and worse as the days go on.

Winner: Montreal, by a mile

June 18th, 2007 – Philadelphia Flyers & Nashville Predators

Philadelphia Acquires – Scott Hartnell & Kimmo Timonen – GM was Paul Holmgren

Nashville Acquires – 2007 1st Round pick (Jonathan Blum) – GM was David Poile

Hartnell is your ideal power-forward – big body, hits & fights, and can score. After coming off of back-to-back 20+ goal seasons, Nashville decided it was time to ship him out of town. To make matters worse, Nashville also added in Kimmo Timonen, who at the time was a top-pairing d-man in his own right. Timonen would go on to play in 8 more NHL season, before injuries derailed his career. Either one of this players would be better than what Nashville ended up with, as the pick turned into Jonathon Blum, who played in a measly 110 NHL games.

Winner: Flyers come out on top in this one

August 11th, 2007 – Phoenix Coyotes & Chicago Blackhawks

Phoenix Acquires – Radim Vrbata – GM was Don Maloney

Chicago Acquires – Kevyn Adams – GM was Dale Tallon

Adams played his final year in the NHL with the Blackhawks after this trade, scoring 2 points in 27 games. On the other side of the trade, Vrbata has played 10 more seasons, scoring 204 goals and 439 points. Vrbata is one of the rare consistent goal scoring wingers in today’s game, who has averaged 24 goals/82 games played since this trade, while Adams had a whopping 8 points in the year prior to be traded. It’s hard to imagine that Tallon couldn’t have gotten more for Vrbata.

Winner: Phoenix wins this one, easily.

June 24th, 2008 – Boston Bruins & Colorado Avalanche

Boston Acquires – Johnny Boychuk – GM was Peter Chiarelli

Colorado Acquires – Matt Hendricks – GM was Francois Giguere

This was back when Chiarelli appeared to know what he was doing, as he traded career-4th-liner Matt Hendricks for Johnny Boychuk, who played in the top-4 for Boston for 5 seasons. Hendricks has never been more than a 4th line player in his career, and has actually been outscored by Boychuk throughout his career.

Winner: Rare Chiarelli win for Boston

June 30th, 2009 – Montreal Canadiens & New York Rangers

Montreal Acquires – Tom Pyatt, Scott Gomez, Michael Busto – GM was Bob Gainey

Rangers Acquire – Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko, Doug Janik, Chris Higgins

It’s hard to imagine what Bob Gainey was thinking when you look back on this trade, as yes Gomez was coming off a 58 point campaign, but that was for a much better New York Ranger team. To say he struggled in Montreal would be a vast understatement, as after one good season, he fell off a cliff in terms of production, never scoring more than 7 goals in a season for the remainder of his career. Meanwhile, Busto never played an NHL game and Pyatt is nothing more than a bottom-6 depth forward. For New York, they received future captain and top defender Ryan McDonagh. Janik and Valentenko did not pan out as hoped, but Higgins played in 711 NHL games after being traded, and was more productive than Gomez alone. This could be one of the worst trades in this article.

Winner: There once was a website tracking how long it had been since Gomez scored a goal, which eclipsed a year. So yeah, New York is the clear-cut winner here.

July 21st, 2009 – Arizona Coyotes & Tampa Bay Lightning

Arizona Acquires – Radim Vrbata – GM was Don Maloney

Tampa Bay Acquires – Todd Fedoruk & David Hale – GM was Brian Lawton

Another trade for Vrbata heading to Arizona/Phoenix that is a solid win for that organization. I’ve already spoken about his scoring prowess over his career, and he definitely is much better that the combined two players he was traded for. Fedoruk played one last season after being traded, scoring 6 points in 50 games. Hale played in two more NHL season, only totaling 64 games over those two years, and 9 points.

Winner: Vrbata again the best part of a trade to Arizona.

June 25th, 2010 – St. Louis Blues & Ottawa Senators

St. Louis Acquires – 2010 1st rounder (16th overall – Vladimir Tarasenko)

Ottawa Acquires – David Rundblad – GM was Bryan Murray

Ottawa decided they wanted to go after a young, recently drafted player in Rundblad, after he had 13 points in 47 games in the SEL. Rundblad did not develop into an everyday NHL player, topping out at a career-high 49 NHL games in 2014-2015. The pick the Sens gave up turned into one of the most feared goal-scorers in today’s game – Vladimir Tarasenko. One goal shy of back-to-back 40 goal seasons, Tarasenko has scored 70+ points in 3 straight seasons, and looks like he has no plan to stop. At only 25 years old, Tarasenko will be a dominant force in the NHL for years to come.

Winner: Tarasenko is arguably the second-best scoring winger in today’s NHL. Sorry Sens fans.

February 9th, 2011 – Toronto Maple Leafs & Anaheim Ducks

Toronto Acquires – Joffrey Lupul, Jake Gardiner, conditional 4th rounder – GM was Brian Burke

Anaheim Acquires – Francois Beauchemin – GM was Bob Murray

Beauchemin was a good defender for Anaheim, as he played in the better part of 4 seasons for Colorado, scoring 20 points 3 times. Lupul had two good seasons for the Leafs after being traded, but has since succumbed to injuries. The kicker in my opinion is giving up Jake Gardiner, as he has developed into a great puck-moving defenseman. He played more than any other defender for the Leafs in their playoff appearance this year, and looked great while doing so. Anaheim was a team trying to win now, and didn’t want to wait on Lupul and Gardiner, but looking back they should have been able to get more had they waited on Gardiner just a little while longer.

Winner: Leafs, as Murray was trying to win a Cup when bringing in Beauchemin, but he gave up a little too much to do so.

February 18th, 2011 – Boston Bruins & Atlanta Thrashers

Boston Acquires – Rich Peverley, Boris Valabik – GM was Peter Chiarelli

Atlanta Acquires – Mark Stuart, Blake Wheeler – GM was Kevin Cheveldayoff

Blake Wheeler has developed into one of the best wingers in the game today, and one is usually highly under-appreciated by most. He’s hit 60+ points in 4 straight seasons, including 2 at over 70 points. He’s a big-man, and uses that size to dominate possession for the now Winnipeg Jets. Stuart has been a serviceable d-man since the trade, playing parts of 7 straight seasons for Winnipeg. On the other side of the trade, Peverley had his career cut short due to a scary incident in 2014 in which he collapsed on the bench, while Valabik never played another NHL game. Even if it weren’t for the incident with Peverley, this trade would be incredibly lopsided. Wheeler is a top-10 winger in today’s NHL, and the captain of the Jets alone.

Winner: The beginning of the end for Chiarelli in Boston, as this is a brutal trade.

February 21st, 2011 – Pittsburgh Penguins & Dallas Stars

Pittsburgh Acquires – James Neal, Matt Niskanen – GM was Ray Shero

Dallas Acquires – Alex Goligoski – GM was Joe Nieuwendyk

After scoring at least 20 goals in his first 3 NHL season with Dallas, Nieuwendyk decided it was time to trade him to the Stanley Cup hopeful Penguins. He went on to score 40 goals in his first full season there, and has hit at least 20 in every season since. The other piece sent out by the Stars was Matt Niskanen, who has developed into a top-pairing defender. He himself has surpassed Goligoski in terms of value, who is actually older than Niskanen, which makes this trade even more bizarre. Goligoski is by no means a bad defenseman, he’s just not worth either of Neal or Niskanen in terms of trade value, let alone BOTH.

Winner:  Shero gets the best of Nieuwendyk and the Stars

June 23rd, 2012 – Toronto Maple Leafs & Philadelphia Flyers

Toronto Acquires – James Van Riemsdyk – GM was Brian Burke

Philadelphia Acquires – Luke Schenn – GM was Paul Holmgren

What on earth was Holmgren thinking?! Luke Schenn was rushed into the NHL, likely hurting his development, but he was NEVER an offensive d-man. He was drafted too high back in 2008, but the fact that Brian Burke was able to trade him straight-up for James Van Riemsdyk is mind-boggling. JVR is hands-down the better player in this trade, and it’s not even close. Schenn was barely a 3rd pairing player in Arizona this year, one of the worst teams in the league, meanwhile JVR is a key piece of a strong, young Toronto team.

Winner: Brian Burke pulls of magic for the Leafs.

April 3rd, 2013 – Tampa Bay Lightning & Ottawa Senators

Tampa Bay Acquires – Ben Bishop – GM was Steve Yzerman

Ottawa Acquires – Cory Conacher – GM was Bryan Murray

Conacher scored 24 points in 35 NHL games in his rookie year, prompting Bryan Murray to jump ALLLLL over him, trading out one of the best goalies in today’s NHL in a one-for-one deal. Since the trade, Conacher has fallen all the way to the AHL, over to Switzerland, and back to the AHL before suiting up in 11 NHL games this year, for the team that traded him back in 2013. Bishop, since being traded, has won 133 NHL games, with 17 shutouts. Ottawa had Craig Anderson in the fold at the time, but should have gotten much more for a goalie like Ben Bishop.

Winner: Another loss for Bryan Murray and the Sens.

April 3rd, 2013 – Washington Capitals & Nashville Predators

Washington Acquires – Michael Latta, Martin Erat – GM was George McPhee

Nashville Acquires – Filip Forsberg – GM was David Poile

This, in my opinion, could be one of the worst trades in recent history. Erat was sitting at 21 points in 36 games when he was traded for, and managed al of 2 goals, 25 points in 62 games for Washington in his 1.5 seasons there. Latta is now playing in the AHL, after putting up even smaller numbers for the Capitals. Forsberg has since developed into an elite winger for the Predators. Trading an 11th overall pick for two players who lack offense is always a risky move, but this turned out to be far worse than expected.

Winner: Poile is likely still laughing at this one, as are Preds fans.

July 4th, 2013 – Boston Bruins & Dallas Stars

Boston Acquires – Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser – GM was Peter Chiarelli

Dallas Acquires – Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley, Ryan Button – GM was Jim Nill

Chiarelli has had some bad trades on his resume, but this one is the worst for me. In the 4 seasons since being traded, Seguin has scored 306 points. He’s one of the best young centres in today’s NHL, and doesn’t look like he’ll slow down anytime soon. Smith played well in his two years in Boston, but was shipped out for Jimmy Hayes, who was disappointing for Boston. Eriksson had 1 good year for Boston, but still never hit the numbers Seguin did, before they lost him to free agency. Morrow hasn’t established himself as an NHL d-man, playing 65 games stretched over 3 seasons, and has since signed in Montreal. Fraser was waived after playing 28 games for Boston. All of this means, Boston traded away a true number 1 centremen, at the age of 21, and have nothing left to show for it.

Winner: Seguin is a core building block for Dallas, an exciting young team. Boston has nothing to show for it. Tough call…

July 8th, 2013 – Ottawa Senators & Anaheim Ducks

Ottawa Acquires – Bobby Ryan – GM was Bryan Murray

Anaheim Acquires – Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, 2014 1st round pick (Nick Ritchie) – GM was Bob Murray

Bob Murray continues his streak of bad trades. Not only is this trade awful for Ottawa, but Murray then signed Ryan to a massive 7 year extension, with an AAV of $7.25 million. He managed “OK” in this first few seasons in Ottawa, in-and-around the 50 point mark, but Silfverberg himself has already established that kind of production, not to mention the remaining pieces they received in Noesen (now in New Jersey), and Ritchie (more points than Ryan this year).

Winner: Ottawa loses another.

July 1st, 2014 – Ottawa Senators & Dallas Stars

Ottawa Acquires – Alex Chiasson, Alexander Guptill, Nicholas Paul, 2015 2nd rounder – GM was Bryan Murray

Dallas Acquires – Jason Spezza, Ludwig Karlsson – GM was Jim Nill

It must seem like I’m picking on the Sens here, but I swear I’m not. Everyone thought the Sens would trade Spezza in this offseason, but the Sens got basically NOTHING for him. Chiasson was a dud, with 30 points totaled over 2 seasons. Guptill has yet to play an NHL game, and Paul has played all of 25 games. The pick was traded to the Devils in an exchange of picks, with no promising prospects coming from them. Spezza has continued to thrive in Dallas, scoring 30 goals in his second year there, while hitting 60+ points twice, and 50 in the other.

Winner: Surprise, surprise – Ottawa loses another trade.

January 14th, 2015 – Minnesota Wild & Arizona Coyotes

Minnesota Acquires – Devan Dubnyk – GM was Chuck Fletcher

Arizona Acquires – 2015 3rd rounder – GM was Don Maloney

I questioned putting this one in, because Dubnyk was struggling at this point in his career. He was coming off a season in which he only played 19 games, with a 9-5-2 record. After the trade however, he put up a record of 27-9-2, with a SV% of 0.936 and a GAA of 1.78. Those are remarkable numbers. He’s become one of the best goalies playing in today’s NHL, and the fact that the Wild were able to get him for a 3rd round pick is phenomenal.

Winner: The Wild win this one

June 26th, 2015 – Edmonton Oilers & New York Islanders

Edmonton Acquires – Griffin Reinhart – GM was Peter Chiarelli

New York Acquires – 2015 1st rounder (Matt Barzal), 2015 2nd rounder (Mitchell Stephens) – GM was Garth Snow

Yes, the Oilers desperately needed NHL defensemen at this point in time. The problem is, they gave up 2 great draft picks for an AHL defenseman. Griffin Reinhart was widely viewed as a bust, after failing to live up to his 4th overall selection in 2012. Whatever prompted Chiarelli to trade a 16th overall pick, plus a 2nd rounder, in what was a deep draft for Reinhart will never make sense to me. The two players who were taken with this picks are likely going to have much better NHL careers than Reinhart. To make this trade look even worse, Reinhart played a total of 37 games for Edmonton and was then claimed by Vegas in the expansion draft.

Winner: The Oilers are still looking for defenders…

June 26th, 2015 – Colorado Avalanche & Buffalo Sabres

Colorado Acquires – Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Zadorov, JT Compher, 2015 2nd rounder – GM was Joe Sakic

Buffalo Acquires – Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn – GM was Tim Murray

O’Reilly has been a leader on Buffalo since being acquired, and been consistently near the top of their leader board for points. McGinn had a good year for Buffalo in 2015-2016, before being traded for a 3rd round pick. Coloardo has wound up with much less in this trade, with Grigorenko scoring less than 30 points in his two seasons, and has departed for the KHL now. Compher made his NHL debut this year but struggled, while they traded away the 2nd round pick. The lone bright spot is Zadorov, and the jury is still out on him, if he truly is a top-4 defender or not. This is one Sakic would like to take back, and likely while he’s being cautious with trying to trade Duchene.

Winner: Buffalo wins this one

July 18th, 2016 – Ottawa Senators & New York Rangers

Ottawa Acquires – Derick Brassard, 2018 7th rounder – GM was Pierre Doiron

New York Acquires – Mika Zibanejad, 2018 2nd rounder – GM was Jeff Gorton

LOL Hi Sens fans! The picks have yet to be made, but let’s look at the two players’ 2016-2017 seasons. Brassard had 14 goals, 39 points in 81 games. Zibanejad had 14 goals, 37 points in 56 games. The fact that the Rangers got the better player, and upgraded a 7th rounder into a 2nd round pick is just hilarious. No clue what Ottawa was doing here, as the two had basically identically points in the previous season. Brassard is 6 years older as well, so not like they upgraded for youth.

Winner: Looks like Doiron really did learn everything he knows from Bryan Murray. Good trade by the Rangers.

July 27th, 2016 – Edmonton Oilers & New Jersey Devils

Edmonton Acquires – Adam Larsson – GM was Peter Chiarelli

New Jersey Acquires – Taylor Hall – GM was Ray Shero

Ohhhhh Chiarelli. How is this man in charge of an NHL team!! Yes, Larsson is an upgrade to what they had on defense, but you gave up Taylor Hall! For Larsson! 1 for 1!! Oilers fans could be the worst in the league, as they have been defending this trade since it happened. How you can possibly do that is beyond me. Hall is one of the best wingers in the NHL, while Larsson isn’t a true number 1 defender. This is bad, really bad.

Winner: Not even close, Devils win by a mile.

June 22nd, 2017 – Edmonton Oilers & New York Islanders

Edmonton Acquires – Ryan Strome – GM was Peter Chiarelli

New York Acquires – Jordan Eberle – GM was Garth Snow.

It might be a little early to have this one in here, but here’s another instance where Chiarelli did not get full value for the player he was trading away. You can’t keep trading away players and not getting full value back and expect it to all work out, even if your team has McDavid. Sure Eberle struggled in the playoffs this year, but he still scored 20 goals in the regular season, which was actually his lowest total since 2012-2013. Strome’s career best is 17, and then he followed that up with 8 the following season. The kicker here is that Edmonton was making this trade to free up cap space, or so they say. What did they do with this cap space? They signed Kris Russell to 4 years at $4 million per…

Winner: Edmonton will continue to hope McDavid saves them from all of these disastrous trades.

 

Team Rankings – Oct ’16

My current take on the first month of the 16-17 NHL season, power rankings style:

1) Montreal Canadiens – Does this start ring a bell to anyone? Montreal off to another great start this year, but we all know what happened last time around. Keeping in mind, with a healthy Carey Price they will most certainly help them continue this trend, they’re also sitting near the top of the league (tied 4th) in goals for with 31. Price has already missed time this year, however back-up Al Montoya has looked like he will be reliable. Shea Weber has done his job to silence any critics of the summer blockbuster that brought him to town putting up 4 goals and 6 assists in 9 games, along with a team-best +12.

Trending – Even

2) Pittsburgh Penguins –  The defending Cup champions haven’t missed much of a beat, even without their captain to start the season. Having Crosby back in the lineup (4 goals in 3 games so far) has been a big boost for Penguins, as they’ve also recently gotten young goalie Matt Murray back into the lineup. Their in a much better start at this point in the season than they were last year. Barring any big injuries, the Penguins have a strong chance to have a great season.

Trending – Even

3) Minnesota Wild – For myself, this is the biggest shock so far of the 2016-2017 season. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk can claim much of the credit for this on his own, as he posted 3 consecutive shutouts at the end of October. Minnesota’s best acquisition of the off-season was bringing in new head coach Bruce Boudreau, who could be the most underrated coach in all of the NHL. Boudreau has changed Minnesota’s style of play, and so far it appears to be paying huge returns. Can they keep it up? I personally didn’t expect them to be 3rd in NHL points by the end of October, but now I’m beginning to wonder how wrong I actually was about this team.

Trending – Up

4) Edmonton Oilers –  Similar to the Canadiens, this has a lot to do with their star player being healthy. Connor McDavid is arguably the best player on the planet already in only his second season. The things he can do at such a high rate of speed is incredible to watch. Milan Lucic appears to be a fit on his line, and the Oilers are showing both improved D and goaltending. This should be the year they finally find themselves in the playoff picture.

Trending – Even

5) Tampa Bay Lightning – This team is built to win a championship – now. They’re running out of time, as they will lose a couple key pieces to both the expansion draft, and to the salary cap in the next year – despite Steve Yzerman’s wizardry with re-signing star players. Ben Bishop hasn’t been playing like his old self, but could be on the move sooner rather than later with other teams suffering key injuries to goalies. Future goaltender Vasilevskiy has looked great in 3 starts (2.05 GAA, 0.929 SV%). They lost their last 3 games in October after winning 4 of their first 5, so they will look to bounce back before in November.

Trending – Down.

6) Chicago Blackhawks – Off to a 5-3-1 start, the Blackhawks are once again near the top of the Western Conference standings. Richard Panik has been the biggest surprise in the early going, with 9 points in 9 games. It seems Chicago has a way of just FINDING players that can help them score. Panik had been bounced around before landing in Chicago, so one has to believe it won’t last. But then again, it’s Chicago…

Trending – Up

7) NY Rangers – Jimmy Vesey has looked great so far for the Rangers, living up to expectations that he set by opting out and signing with the Rangers this summer. Chris Kreider is enjoying a good year so far, despite missing a few games due to injury. Mika Zibanejad has looked stellar early on. All has been going well so far for the Rangers. Can it keep up? It’s still very early, but they’ve looked like a complete team.

Trending – Even.

8) San Jose Sharks – The Sharks have looked pretty good so far this season, posting a 6-3-0 record. Brent Burns, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski are up to their usual thing, and Tomas Hertl has looked great early on. With not many years left for Jumbo Joe, you have to think the mind-set in San Jose is win now. They’ll have to add some scoring depth mid-season, but they boast a strong lineup night-in and night-out.

Trending – Up

9) St. Louis Blues – Jaden Schwartz started the year on the IR, Jori Lethera has missed time, but overall the St. Louis Blues have been hit or miss depending on the night. Some nights they look elite, others they haven’t. They managed a great record in October (5-2-2), and they’re hoping they can build off of that going into November. The better they start, the better off they’ll be playing in the tough Western Conference.

Trending – Even

10) Washington Capitals – The Caps have gotten off to a slower start this season, after dominating for much of the regular season last year. Part of the struggle has been scoring goals. Ovechkin has only managed 6 points (4 goals) in 8 games played. Issue is, with those 6 points he sits 2nd in team scoring behind only Marcus Johansson. They’re having some struggles that they haven’t shown in the past, however they still have an impressive record (thanks to Braden Holtby) at 5-2-1 through to the end of October.

11) Detroit Red Wings – Another big surprise – for me at least – is the play of Detroit through October. They’ve gotten excellent goaltending from both Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek. Howard has started 3 games and is currently at a GAA of 0.86 (!!) and a SV% of 0.973. Those numbers are sure to take a hit, but he’s certainly playing well in an expansion year in which he could be taken by Vegas, or traded to one of many teams who could use an upgrade. Also worth noting, Tomas Vanek put up 8 points in 7 games for Detroit in October before getting hurt, very impressive.

Trending – Up

12) New Jersey Devils – The Devils added Taylor Hall in hopes that he would increase their goal scoring, and he’s done well (5 goals in 8 games), however Adam Henrique has fallen off in production through October. He managed to score 2 goals and 2 assists, which isn’t awful, but they were hoping for an increase from him. Cory Schneider continues to be one of the best at his position, sporting a solid 0.941 SV% and 1.86 GAA. The story is the same, goal scoring wanted.

Trending – Even.

13) Florida Panthers – Losing young stud Jonathan Huberdeau before the start of the season really hurt their chances. Enter Jonathan Marchessault. He has put up an incredible 6 goals and 5 assists in 9 games for Florida in October, however they were sitting at 4-4-1 when the month ended. They’re going to need more from Aleksander Barkov (5 points) and Jaromir Jagr (4 points) if they hope to be in a good position when they finally do get Huberdeau back.

Trending – Even

14) Ottawa Senators – The Sens struggled early on defensively, but Craig Anderson has been rock solid as of late. Coming off receiving terrible news regarding his wife’s health, he posted an impressive shutout of the red-hot Edmonton Oilers. If the Sens can play with the emotion that they did in this game, and carry it out further, they can rattle off some wins early on. Mike Hoffman has struggled early this season, posting only 1 goal in October. They’ll need more from him if they hope to climb their way into the playoffs this year.

Trending – Up

15) Boston Bruins – Brad Marchand has continued his strong play from last season, and at the World Cup, putting up 10 points in 8 games. Boston has managed to stay at .500 (4-4-0) despite having time missed by all of Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, David Backes, and David Pastrnak. If they can get all of the above healthy and into the lineup, they should do just fine.

Trending – Up.

16) Philadelphia Flyers – Last year it seemed as though the Flyers finally found viable goaltending. This year, that’s definitely not the case. They were near the top of the league in goals for, but finished dead last in goals against. Both Mason and Neuvirth have been terrible for the flyers, both sporting a higher than 3.45 GAA and lower than an 0.880 SV%. The offense is there, they just can’t keep the puck out of their own net.

Trending – Even

17) Anaheim Ducks – The Ducks started the year missing 2 key players in their lineup due to them remaining unsigned – Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm. Both are now signed, however neither suited up in a game for the Ducks in October. John Gibson has been shaky at times to start the season, and the Ducks finished 3-4-2 in October. Adding these two back into the lineup will be a much needed boost for the Ducks going forward.

Trending – Up

18) Buffalo Sabres – Losing your future star in Jack Eichel, as well as Evander Kane before the season was a gut-punch for the Sabres, who had playoffs aspirations at the start of the season. A big boost to the Sabres is having goaltender Robin Lehner back healthy to start the season. He has missed a couple games due to a stomach virus, but has looked great as of late. The Sabres are hoping they can keep pace in the Eastern Conference until they can get their injured players back later in the season.

Trending – Even

19) Calgary Flames – I think it’s safe to say Brian Elliot would love to forget his three starts in a Calgary uniform in which he surrendered 14 (!!) goals. He has turned it around since then, allowing no more than 2 goals in his next 4 starts. Calgary as a whole has gotten off to a tough start, with Sean Monahan also struggling early (4 points). This team is better defensively than they’ve played, and should be able to produce more offense than they currently have been.

Trending – Up

20) Dallas Stars – The Stars have been struck by injuries early on, as Ales Hemsky, Jason Spezza, Jiri Hulder, and Patrick Sharp have all missed time. Hemsky will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing hip surgery, however the key loss is Sharp who’s currently rehabbing from a concussion. If he can come back healthy, with no relapses, this team should still make the playoffs. Goaltending hasn’t been great for the Stars either, but everyone knew that coming in. Perhaps they will look to improve this through trade? Bishop? Fleury? There are plenty of better options for a team this talented than Niemi and Lehtonen.

Trending – Even

21) Colmubus Blue Jackets – Rookie d-man Zach Werenski has outstanding, playing most nights on the top pair, while putting up 6 points in 7 games. He’s definitely put himself in the Calder conversation early on, and has helped ignite offense each night for the Jackets, which they desperately needed help with. Sergei Bobrovsky has started each game, and while he’s 3-3-1, he’s rocking a solid SV% of 0.941 to go along with 2 shutouts. He’s been everything anyone would want in their number 1 goalie. He needs help up front. If the Jackets want to push themselves into the playoffs they’re going to need outside help.

Trending – Up

22) Vancouver Canucks – The Canucks had surprised everyone and got off to a 4-0-1 start which no one expected, beating teams like St. Louis, LA and Anaheim. They lost their next 3 games in regulation to end October at a respectable 4-3-1 record.  The issue that most people predicted has been coming to the front – goal scoring. They managed a league low 17 goals for in October. Their major signing in the offseason, Loui Eriksson, managed all of zero goals in October, with 4 assists and a -4 rating. The Canucks appear to be in for a long season, the nice start will soon be forgotten.

Trending – Down

23) Toronto Maple Leafs –  The rookies in Toronto have been incredibly fun to watch. The Leafs have struggled in the early going to close out a lead, as they’ve blown multiple 3rd period leads. Frederik Andersen has looked better as of late, after struggling early on. William Nylander was just named NHL Rookie of the Month for October, and along with Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and Nikita Zaitsev, the young leafs have looked great in the early going. Add in a little better defensive play and they should be able to round-out their game going forward.

Trending – Up

24) Colorado Avalanche – Starting goalie Semyon Varlamov has not been great, posting a GAA of 3.18. Not the worst in the league by far, but the Avs themselves are only averaging 2.85 goals for per game. So there’s blame to be placed on both sides. The Avs recently called up their number 1 rated prospect Mikko Rantanen, so Avs fans are hoping he jumps starts the offense. So far, he’s come up with zero points in 2 games, not an ideal start.

Trending – Down

25) New York Islanders –The Isles big signing of the offseason has not lived up to expectations at all. Andrew Ladd has managed no goals and only 1 assist so far in 9 games.1 point in 9 games! That’s while spending 99% of the first 6 games on a line with John Tavares. Not what you were hoping for when you signed him to an AAV of $5.5 million. Yikes. The Isles defense have been helping out offensively, scoring 10 of their team’s 27 goals in October. They need more help up front. Fans must be missing Kyle Okposo right about now..

Trending – Down

26) Winnipeg Jets – The Jets are an interesting case. They’ve looked great in some games, and bad in others. They’ve gotten steady goaltending from their tandem, and they’ve gotten good offensive support from rookie Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler. But after those three, it falls off quickly. They don’t possess the depth that others do in the division, not to mention that Jacob Trouba is still holding-out on the Jets, hoping for a trade. Time will tell, but as of right now they don’t look like a playoff team.

Trending – Down

27) Los Angeles Kings – Another team hit with injury trouble, which includes start Jonathan Quick. Tough to get by in today’s NHL without your starting goaltender (see Montreal last season). The Kings are also struggling to score, as they put up only 20 in 9 games in October. Hard to win in today’s NHL with that kind of support, no matter who’s in net. They’re now on their 3rd goalie of the season in Peter Budaj, and while he has played better lately, he’s not an ideal number 1 goalie. Things are looking bleak in LA.

Trending – Down

28) Nashville Predators – This has to be the biggest disappointment so far this year. Many were picking the Predators to win the Cup, yet they’ve started the year 2-5-1. Yikes. This team possesses a lot of talent, and boasts the best defensive corps in the league, but they were near the bottom in goals allowed in October. They’ve got to be better than they’ve been, and they can be.

Trending – Down

29) Carolina Hurricanes – A noticeable trend early in the ’16-’17 season was more goal scoring, or, as in the case with Carolina, weaker goaltending. The combo of Cam Ward and Eddie Lack has been awful for Carolina. Lack is posting a GAA of 4.00 and a SV% of 0.857, while Ward isn’t much better at a GAA over 3.00, and a SV% under 0.900. One of the only bright spots for Carolina so far is the play of Jeff Skinner, who put up great numbers in October – 5 goals, 6 assists, +1 (somehow) in 7 games played in October.

Trending – Down

30) Arizona Coyotes – Once again, the Arizona Coyotes are dealing with goaltending issues. Mike Smith is dealing with another injury after only starting 2 games. The Coyotes are a young team, with a cupboard full of high-talent prospects. Last year was the emergence of Max Domi and Anthony Duclair, this year we’re seeing Dylan Strome, Jakob Chychrun, Lawson Crouse, Christian Dvorak, and more as they try and make an impact for the Coyotes. Time will tell if this team can imrpove, but the future is definitely bright for the Yotes.

Trending – Up

 

*Stats from NHL.com. Cap info from CapFriendly.com*

Outlook on 2016-2017: Columbus Blue Jackets

Continuing to attempt to predict outcomes of the 2016-2017 season. Next up: The Columbus Blue Jackets

2015-2016 Important Notes:

Finish – 15th place in the Eastern Conference, 27th overall

Goals for vs. goals against – minus 33 (26th overall)

Picked 3rd overall in 2016 NHL Entry Draft – Pierre-Luc Dubois

Where will the Jackets finish?

I find Columbus one of the harder teams to predict each season. Their roster on paper looks like it should be a borderline playoff team, but they’ve struggled over the past two seasons to put it all together. One would assume that with a healthy Sergei Bobrovsky that they are immediately a better team than last year. Bobrovsky had his season cut short due to injury, but is currently participating at the World Cup and looks to be in fine form going into this season. It’s imperative that the Jackets have a bounce-back year from their captain Nick Foligno. Coming off the 2014-2015 season in which he scored 31 goals and 73 points, he struggled in 2015-2016 and only managed 12 goals and 37 points. Is he a regular 65-75 point producer? No, but he should be able to provide the Jackets with a 20 goal season.

Seth Jones looks to be rounding into form for the Jackets, and along with other youngsters in Ryan Murray and even David Savard, they look to be built on the back-end for years to come. The Jackets possess enough grit in their lineup to keep teams on their toes night in and night out, and they’ll count on strong seasons from Brandon Saad, Cam Atkinson, and a solid sophomore season from Alex Wennberg if they hope to push for a playoff spot.

Built For The Future

Columbus possesses a strong prospect pool heading into the 2016-2017 season. Their AHL affiliate Cleveland Monsters (formerly Lake Erie) won the Calder Cup last season, which is always a good thing for NHL teams. Their AHL team contains future bright-spots including Sonny Milano (31 pts in 54 games as a 19 year old), Daniel Zaar (43 pts in 71 games as a 20 year old), along with Oliver Bjorkstrand, TJ Tynan, and others. Add to this, junior defensemen and 2016 1st round draftee Zach Werenski (31 pts in 31 games in the NCAA), and newly drafted Pierre-Luc Dubois (99 points in 62 games in the QMJHL), and this team is full of future NHLers. The next couple of years in Columbus should be exciting for fans, with the future looking as bright as almost any other.

Making Room For The Young Guns

With so many young stars waiting in the wings, and looking to join the big club this season or next, the Jackets will have trouble finding the room to accommodate the influx of young talent that is waiting. I’m sure all Jackets fans would love to see the likes of David Clarkson and Scott Hartnell replaced by the next generation. That being said, is there a market for these players?

Simple answer for David Clarkson is no. When he signed his current deal (4 years remaining at a hit of $5.25) with Toronto I thought they would never be able to get out of it, so I suppose there always is the potential of a team taking on the Clarkson deal, I just can’t imagine who. If anyone offers ANYTHING, the Jackets would be wise to take it. While he’s not unplayable, he’s just simply not worth half of his current cap hit.

Is there a market for Scott Hartnell (3 years at $4.75)? Another tough contract. Hartnell enters the season at 34 years old, and has begun showing signs of slowing down. I can see a team like Arizona searching for a player like Hartnell. They too have a young team on the rise, but they don’t possess many players like Hartnell in their lineup, whereas Columbus has similar players in Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno. I can see Arizona making a push to trade for Scott Hartnell before the end of the season, especially if they’re in the playoff picture come March.

All in All

I envision the Jackets improving enough this season to push for the 8th and final playoff spot in the East. Backed by a healthy season of Sergei Bobrovsky, and an added offensive punch from youngsters, this team looks built for the future. If only it could get rid of a few contracts (*cough* David Clarkson *cough*).

(Credit: NHL.com ; www.capfriendly.com; hockeydb.com)

Outlook on 2016-2017: Vancouver Canucks

Continuing to attempt to predict outcomes of the 2016-2017 season. Next up: The Vancouver Canucks

2015-2016 Important Notes:

Finish – 13th place in the Western Conference, 28th overall

Goals for vs. goals against – minus 52 (30th overall)

Picked 5th overall in 2016 NHL Entry Draft – Olli Juolevi

Where will the Canucks finish?

I could simply write “Dead last” and move on. This team will be painful to watch this season. With aging veterans in the Sedin twins, along with Ryan Miller (all 35 and older), this team is in need of a rebuild. They’re far removed from the powerhouse they once were in 2010-2011.They struggled at both ends of the ice last year, and while they’ve started the youth movement, they still have one more season left after this upcoming season on deals to both Sedin brothers. I can’t envision any team willing to take on both contracts – assuming they want to remain together – this season or next. Sure they added an upgrade to their offense this offseason in Loui Eriksson, but he’s always just entered his 30’s and is signed for 6 years at a substantial cap hit of $6 million per year. It will be tough for this team to improve over last year’s performance, especially with the teams below them improving compared to last year. I see this team falling down to the bottom of the basement.

Is there help coming?

Surely finishing last place and having the best odds to win the 2017 Draft Lottery wouldn’t hurt improving their prospect pool. That being said, they do have the likes of Olli Juolevi, Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko waiting in the wings. Along with current roster players in Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen and even Jacob Markstrom (if he ever figures it out), they have a half-decent prospect pool that shows a slight glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Beyond those mentioned above, the majority of their system is a few years away from making an impact – if they ever do. This can all change rather quickly, they have pieces on their team that come Trade Deadline could attract offers from teams in the playoff hunt.

I’m sure most Canuck fans would rather have Jared McCann on their roster than Erik Gudbranson, but let’s hope the trades they make this upcoming season are a little more lopsided in the Canucks favor. Alex Burrows enters this season on the final year of his deal, and could surely attract at least a 2nd round pick, if not a late 1st depending on how desperate teams are come March. Jannik Hansen enters play with 2 more years on his deal, but with a small cap-hit of only $2.5 million, he’s sure to attract offers. The remaining players on the roster will likely be around for the 2017-2018 season, again barring a team calling for either (or both) of the Sedin brothers. The Canucks possess some good young talent that the rebuild wouldn’t take as long as other teams (I’m looking at you Edmonton), they just need to embrace it sooner rather than later.

“NOOO!” – Every Team’s Worst Contract Heading into ’16-’17 NHL Season

We’ve all been there, eagerly awaiting the start of the free agency season every July 1st, only to be overly disappointed when we see a signing that just doesn’t make sense. I’m going to pick a contract on each team that I’m sure each fanbase would rather not have on their team. Every team has them, whether it be the length of the term given, or the amount of money some of these players have somehow convinced a GM to give them.

  • Anaheim Ducks – Ryan Kesler – I was inclined to pick Jared Boll here, just for the fact that I cannot believe he convinced a team in today’s NHL to give him a 2-year deal worth almost $1 million per, BUT, the fact that Ryan Kesler is signed to an AAV of $8.2 5 million until the end of 2021 season is just too bad to pass up. Nothing against Ryan Kesler, he’s not a terrible player by any means, but when your contract compares to the likes of Claude Giroux, Phil Kessel, and Steven Stamkos, you need to be putting up better numbers.
  • Arizona Coyotes – Mike Smith – One of the harder teams to pick a contract from. Arizona is built for the future, and with veterans like Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata signed to short, low money deals, it was hard to choose a contract that really didn’t fit with the team. I went with Smith because he’s 34, only played slightly more than 30 games last year, and is still signed for 3 more seasons at an AAV north of $5.6 million. That’s a lot of money for an aging goaltender on a rebuilding team.
  • Boston Bruins – David Backes – It’s hard to pick on Backes here, before he’s even suited up for a game for Boston, but an AAV of $6 million until he turns 37 seems like a very risky contract. Backes is most certainly a well-respected player and leader, but with the way he plays, I have a hard time seeing him being worth $6 million towards the end of this deal.
  • Buffalo Sabres – Matt Moulson – An easy pick. Moulson owes this contract entirely to playing on the wing of a young John Tavares. That being said, it’s difficult to predict the kind of fall-off in production that Moulson has shown recently. Three 30 goal season with the Islanders, and has combined for 21 over 158 games in the last 2 seasons. That’s a tough pill to swallow for fans, especially with 3 more years left at a $5 million cap hit.
  • Calgary Flames – Derek Engelland – While this is the last year on Engelland’s deal, a cap-hit of just under $3 million is too much for a guy who should not be in the lineup for the Flames on a regular night. Calgary is a team on the rise, and are much better off filling Engelland’s spot with the a younger player, such as Jyrki Jokipakka. Thankfully for fans, the future looks bright with a few older defensemen coming off the books after this season, including Engelland, Dennis Wideman and Ladislav Smid.
  • Carolina Hurricanes – Jordan Staal – An AAV of $6 million until the end of the 2022-2023 season for a player who has only once hit 50 points in his career, Staal has not lived up the 10 year contract he signed prior to the 2013-2014 season. He will continue to be a leader on a young Carolina team that looks poised to be a formidable force in a couple of years, however I’m sure Canes fans are left looking for more from their highest paid player.
  • Chicago Blackhawks – Marian Hossa – This one is simply because of the term. Hossa will be costing Chicago an AAV of $5.275 until he turns the ripe age of 42. While his performance hasn’t dipped much in previous years, and you can argue that with Hossa Chicago may not have been the force they’ve been since he joined the team, it’s hard to see him being the same player for the remaining 5 years on his deal.
  • Colorado Avalanche – Carl Soderberg – Here’s another team that doesn’t have an abundance of bad contracts like so many other teams do. Soderberg is by no means a bad NHL player, he’s a middle 6 center for the Avalanche, but would be at most a 3rd and most likely 4th line center on a cup contending team. His contract isn’t awful at $4.75 per for the next 4 seasons, however I find it hard to believe that there aren’t cheaper options for a guy who will likely be playing fewer and fewer minutes as the years pass on. This one will be hard to take in 2 years, when the Avalanche have their recent draftees having a larger impact in a game for far less money.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets – David Clarkson – It’s still mind-boggling today that the Leafs managed to get out of this contract. Clarkson became the beneficiary of a weak free agency class, and cashed in on a contract that should never have been handed to him. Limited to only 23 games last year, Clarkson only managed 4 points, which is about $1.3 million in salary per point. Columbus is still on the hook until the end of the 2019-2020 season at an AAV of $5.25 million before they can get away from this horrendous deal.
  • Dallas Stars – Kari Lehtonen/Anit Niemi – The Stars are a team built for a cup run, until you take a look in net. Having 2 goalies to share the workload isn’t a bad thing when you’re hoping to make a long run into the playoffs. However, having $10.4 million in salary cap tied up in both of the next two seasons for two goalies who are on the decline is a scary scenario. Dallas would love to move one of these contracts, however with so many better options available around the league before next summer’s expansion draft, it doesn’t look likely that they’ll rid themselves of this mistake any time soon.
  • Detroit Red Wings – Darren Helm – This one is both too much money and too long of a term. Helm signed this deal this past offseason, 5-year deal worth an AAV of $3.85 million. Helm is 29, and has never hit 35 points in an NHL season. Detroit hav a lot of young players that could use the ice time that will be given to Helm over the duration of this contract. This is one of those contracts that doesn’t seem to make much sense from any angle you look at it. Can’t be too mad at Holland though, he managed to move the Datsyuk contract and still win the trade.
  • Edmonton Oilers – Andrew Ference – Too easy. On a team that is so desperate for quality NHL defensemen, every Oiler fan would be more than happy if they were to never see Ference in an Oiler’s jersey again. I’m sure the hope is that Ference doesn’t recover from his surgery last season, and remains on LTIR for the last year on his contract. A young team like Edmonton could use the roster spot, and not to mention the $3.25 million cap hit, for a player that will help improve their team for the future.
  • Florida Panthers – Dave Bolland – a $5.5 million cap hit for a guy who hasn’t played more than 55 games or scored more than 25 points in the last 4 years? Yikes. It’s hard to understand this signing, since it came after a season in Toronto where he was playing a larger role than he ever had, but he only played 23 games. Unfortunately for Florida, they’re locked in for 3 more seasons of this high cap hit, just as they’re becoming what looks to be a very competitive team.
  • Los Angeles Kings – Dustin Brown – Yeeeesh. AAV of $5.875 for 6 more years for a player who belongs on the 4th line. Brown had his captaincy revoked this year, leaving not much reason to keep him around. This is one that doesn’t need much explanation. I see a buyout coming (hopefully for Kings fans’ sake).
  • Minnesota Wild – Ryan Suter – Yes, he is on of the best all-around defensemen in the NHL, and plays more ice time than almost anyone, but the term of this deal is tough. At 31, Suter is signed for 9 more seasons at a hit of $7.5 million. It’s hard to imagine any defensemen being worth that kind of money in his late 30’s in the speed of today’s NHL. Suter has rarely missed time over the last 3 seasons, so we will see if he’s an exception to the age factor.
  • Montreal Canadiens – Jeff Petry – Shea Weber is also a good choice here, but I still think the Petry contract is worse. An AAV of $5.5 million for the next 5 years, for a guy who only put up 16 points in 51 games last season, who really doesn’t play that well in his own end (-6 last year). You could try and chalk this up to what was a horrendous year for Montreal, but Petry has never had a season with a positive plus/minus, or more than 25 points. I don’t see the value in either the term or money in this contract. All signs point to bad.
  • Nashville Predators – Mike Ribeiro – This is one guy I wouldn’t want in my dressing room, let alone for $3.5 million per season. There are so many better options than choosing Ribeiro here, plenty of caliber NHL players still available, not to mention young players in the organization that could slot into Ribeiro’s spot. I don’t understand the thinking behind this decision, it’s time for Ribeiro to ride off into the sunset.
  • New Jersey Devils – Travis Zajac – Signing a 28 year old player to an 8 year contract is always risky, especially with a cap hit of $5.75 million per year. The part that I question the most is that Zajac was signed after putting up 22 points in 48 games. Those are exactly mind-blowing numbers. New Jersey is a team that has the space to accommodate this deal for now, but with bringing Taylor Hall on board now, the Zajac money could be better spent somewhere else.
  • New York Islanders – Mikhail Grabovski – Spending the majority time on the Islanders 3rd line the last couple of seasons, Grabovski has yet to live up to the $5 million cap hit he carries. With Frans Nielsen moved on, and 2 years left on his deal, perhaps Grabovski will now see an increase in ice time, which could help boost his production. He has struggled to stay healthy the last few seasons, having played less than 60 games in all 3 of the previous seasons. He’s tying up a lot of cap space on a team that could use a secondary scoring punch worth that contract.
  • New York Rangers – Rick Nash – Long-gone are the days where you know what you’re going to get from Rick Nash. His play has flip-flopped the last few seasons, going from bad to good, and then bad again. This isn’t what you want out of a guy making $7.8 million per year for each of the next two seasons. Other players in his cap-range have given their teams a lot more stability – see Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos.
  • Ottawa Senators – Dion Phaneuf – Another bad contract given out by a Leafs management member, yet somehow he’s also no longer their problem. There are only a few defensemen in the NHL making more money per season than Phanuef’s $7 million cap hit, yet he’s not even the best defensemen on his team! While still an effective player, he will never live up to this monstrous contract as he still has 5 more seasons left.
  • Philadelphia Flyers – Andrew MacDonald – It’s a little early to call the Voracek contract a bust, but the first year of his new deal didn’t look great for him. But then there’s Andrew MacDonald. He signed a 6 year, $30 million deal prior to the 2014-2015 season and has played 86 NHL games and 43 AHL games since. That’s pretty much all we need to say here. Not to mention the mountain of defensive prospects the Flyers have coming this season and beyond, this deal will be a stinker until it expires in 2020.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins – Chris Kunitz – Kunitz owes a lot of thanks to Mr. Crosby, which includes his current contract. Locked in for one more season at $3.85 million is tough for the Penguins when they’ve already invested so much in their offense. Kunitz should be at most a 3rd line winger this coming season, which will likely be his last with any sort of high money value.
  • San Jose Sharks – Paul Martin –  Signed for another 3 seasons at $4.85 per, and at 35 years old, Martin is beginning to shows signs of slowing down. He looked exposed multiple times in the Cup finals against a fast Penguins team. While there’s still value in having Martin on your team, it would be much better for the Sharks if that cap hit were about half of what it currently is.
  • St. Louis Blues – Paul Stastny – A $7 million cap hit is tough to live up to, for anyone, and Stastny is another example of someone who hasn’t. He goes into the ’16-’17 season with 2 years remaining, and with Backes now in Boston, it opens the door for more critical minutes. Now it’s up to Stastny to play to the level that earned him this contract. You’d think it would be easier for someone who has the likes of Vlad Tarasenko and Alex Steen on their team to put up better numbers.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning – Ryan Callahan – Tampa is a team that should be in the run for a cup for the next few years, and Ryan Callahan is part of that mix that makes them so tough to play against. However, a cap hit at $5.8 is a bit too high for what he brings to the table, especially on a team that has so many key pieces to sign in the next couple of years. Callahan doesn’t come off the books before 2020, however if I was a betting man, Steve Yzerman and team would like to move on from this contract sooner rather than later.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs – Joffrey Lupul – AHH Toronto, so many options. Bozak? Yes, bad. Robidas? Yikes. Matt Martin for 4 years? Too long. Lupul is my choice simply because of how injury prone he is, on top of the decline in quality of play he’s been displaying the last couple of years. 14 points in 46 games last season is not the only reason this is the Leafs worst contract, it’s also the fact that he’ll be taking up a roster spot on a young team on the rise, when he’s headed in the opposite direction.
  • Vancouver Canucks – The Sedins – It’s time for a rebuild in Vancouver. They’ve already got some young/key pieces in place, so it shouldn’t be as drastic as it has been in Edmonton, or currently is in Toronto. However, having $14 million of the cap tied up in the Sedins over the next two seasons is something that will only delay the process. Not only are they eating up a majority of your cap space, but they’ll be taking away major minutes from young prospects that could benefit from more action at the NHL level. The problem Vancouver has, is finding someone to take on (presumably) both of these contracts.
  • Washington Capitals – Brooks Orpik – At $5.5 million per season, Orpik is far too one-dimensional. He’s heralded as a defensive specialist (even though there’s some compelling stats that prove this to be wrong), yet he managed to only be +11 last year, despite playing on the best regular season team in the NHL. If I were paying someone $5.5 million per season, I’d want a little more bang for my buck.
  • Winnipeg Jets – Toby Enstrom – Not a lot of bad contracts in Winnipeg, however Enstrom’s play has declined at a high rate over the past few seasons. After a couple of 50 point campaigns in his Atlanta days, Enstrom has not adjusted well to life in Winnipeg. With 2 more years of his contract remaining, it appears to be a waiting game for the Jets, as they have been taken significant steps as a young organization over the past few seasons.

 

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Credit: http://www.hockeydb.com/ and http://www.generalfanager.com/ for some great info on contracts and stats.