Hockey season starts next month so I figured I’d bum you out and talk about your team’s worst contract. These players are the ones acting like albatrosses, hung around the necks of your club, stopping them from making any deadline day moves as no team will take on their deals. I’ll probably do this in 3 parts, as to minimize the depression.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Patrick Marleau – signed through 2019/20, $6.25 million AAV.
Marleau is a new signing and it’s way too many years and cash for a player that’s 37. It’s also kind of confusing because the Leafs have done so well at getting younger. Why bring this old dude in for so much money?
Detroit Red Wings: Justin Abdelkader, Henrik Zetterberg, Frans Nielson, Darren Helm, Danny DeKeyser, Jonathan Ericcson, Trevor Daley.
I’m not going into the specifics but just know that that there’s no worse team in all of sports at managing player salaries. This team is a disaster.
Dallas Stars: Ben Bishop – signed through 2022/23, close to $5 million AAV.
Bishop is a good signing for Dallas who has been desperate for a number 1 goalie since Marty Turco. However, the problem is that if Bishop is not that guy, the Stars have no wiggle room to get rid of him. He is their goalie for the next 5 seasons whether he’s bad or not. He’s also 30 so he could decline quickly.
Chicago Blackhwaks: Jonathan Toews – signed through 2022/23, $10.5 million AAV.
Toews is the most overrated player maybe in NHL history. He’s a second line back checking center that’s good at faceoffs and he’s treated like Crosby. The fact the he and Patrick Kane got the same contract shows that NHL general managers have no idea how to value players.
Minnesota Wild: Zach Parise – signed through 2024/25, $7.5ish million AAV.
Zach Parise is a good hockey player the problem is this contract was signed before the lockout when the salary structure was different so he will still be making $7.5 million when he’s 40.
St. Louis Blues: Alex Steen – signed through 2020/21, $5.75 million AAV.
Steen is a pretty good second line winger but he’s paid like a first line, top power play guy. He’s also 33 and is a total one-season wonder. Bad contract.
New York Islanders: Andrew Ladd – signed through 2022/23, $5.5 million AAV.
Message to the entire league: stop giving ex-Blackhawks all of this money. Unless it’s Dustin Byufglien, none of the guys that have left the Hawks have been good at their new teams.
New York Rangers: Marc Staal – signed through 2021/22, $5.7 million AAV.
Staal is 30, he’s probably already played his best hockey and he basically got his eye knocked out by a puck. The good news for the Rangers is that at least they don’t have Dan Girardi around anymore so Staal’s contract isn’t too awful anymore.
Tampa Bay Lighting: Ryan Callahan – singed through 2019/2020, $5.8 million AAV.
Tampa actually handled their young kids’ contract extensions perfectly. Killorn, Palat and Tyler Johnson all got decent team-friendly deals, even if Nikita Kucherov accused them of quitting once they got their cash. Their worst is Callahan, who is a glorified 3rd line penalty killer.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Antti Niemi – signed through 2017/18, $700 thousand AAV.
The contract is fine but having Antti Niemi anywhere near your team is a terrible decision. Literally any other goalie is a better option. Bring Ron Tugnutt out of retirement, find Peter Budaj, he’s always available, just sign someone that’s not Niemi.