Buyer’s remorse. It happens to every NHL general manager at some point in his career. Maybe he had to overpay to get a player to come to his team. Maybe he had to overpay to keep a player because the external options were far worse. Maybe he overvalued that player’s abilities, maybe he was desperate for help at a certain position, maybe he was desperate to save his job, or maybe he just made a horrible decision in opposition to overwhelming logic.
Whatever the reasons, every GM has a contract he wishes he hadn’t signed, and some are far more egregious than others. We went through all 31 teams to pick out the worst.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Forward Carl Hagelin
Contract: Two more years; $4 million AAV
2016-17 stats: Six goals and 22 points in the regular season; just two goals (no assists) in 15 playoff games.
Comment: Hagelin brings speed to the Penguins’ lineup and he’s a positive possession driver, but he provides far too little production for the money.
Washington Capitals: Defenseman Brooks Orpik
Contract: Two more years; $5.5M AAV
2016-17 stats: No goals and 14 assists in the regular season; two assists in 13 playoff games.
Comment: Orpik might be Caps fans’ favorite target for his lack of mobility and egregious mistakes with the puck and in coverage. Add this contract to the list of grievances.
New York Islanders: Forward Cal Clutterbuck
Contract: Five more years; $3.5M AAV
2016-17 stats: Five goals, 20 assists.
Comment: The Islanders have infamously overpaid for the “best fourth line in hockey,” so toss in Casey Czikas’ four remaining years at a slightly lower AAV (3.35M). Andrew Ladd’s six remaining years at $5.5 million AAV are also in contention, but Ladd did score 23 goals last season. If he slips, he could easily overtake Clutterbuck.
New York Rangers: Defenseman Marc Staal
Contract: Four more years; $5.7M AAV
2016-17 stats: Three goals, 10 points in the regular season; no points in 12 playoff games.
Comment: The Rangers already shed Dan Girardi. It might be time to do the same with Staal — if there are any takers.
Philadelphia Flyers: Defenseman Andrew MacDonald
Contract: Three more years; $5M AAV
2016-17 stats: Two goals, 18 points.
Comment: MacDonald is good in the defensive zone, but that’s not where you want to be. His 48 Corsi For percentage and lack of production scream massive overpayment.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Forward Brandon Dubinsky
Contract: Four more years; $5.85M AAV
2016-17 stats: 12 goals, 41 points in the regular season; one goal, two points in five playoff games.
Comment: Dubinsky, 31, is trending downwards. He hasn’t topped 17 goals since the 2010-11 season, he is no more than a break-even possession driver, and he carries the third-highest cap hit on the team behind Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin.
New Jersey Devils: Forward Ilya Kovalchuk
Contract: Counts $250,000 against the cap through 2025 (eight more seasons) as a cap recapture penalty after he “retired” from a 15-year, $100 million deal in 2013; just three seasons into the deal.
2016-17 stats: 32 goals, 78 points in the regular season; six goals, nine points in 18 playoff games with KHL champion SKA St. Petersburg.
Comment: $250,000 a year isn’t so painful, but it sure runs a long time. Assistant coach Ryane Clowe (forced to retire) carries a cap hit of $4.85M for one more year. The Devils knew about his concussion issues before they signed him to a five-year, $24.25 million deal. He played only two of those years.
Carolina Hurricanes: Forward Alex Semin
Contract: Four more years on a six-year buyout with a $2.33M AAV
2016-17 stats: 16 goals, 30 points in the regular season; two points in 18 playoff games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.
Comment: Semin signed a five-year, $35 million deal in 2013, and then had six goals and 19 points in the second year of that deal, leading to the painful buyout. He played 15 games for Montreal before returning to Russia.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Forward Ryan Callahan
Contract: Three more years; $5.8M AAV
2016-17 stats: Two goals, four points in an injury-plagued 18-game season; 10 goals and 28 points the season before.
Comment: Callahan may be a glue guy in the locker room, but he carries the third-highest cap hit on the team. He’s not living up to his six-year deal. Alex Killorn’s six remaining years at a $4.45 AAV are worth mentioning.
Montreal Canadiens: Defenseman Karl Alzner
Contract: Five years; $4.625M AAV
2016-17 stats: Three goals, 13 points in the regular season; no points in seven playoff games with Washington.
Comment: Signing Alzner this offseason did not address Montreal’s need for a puck-moving, mobile defenseman. This was a head scratcher for GM Marc Bergevin, who is under intense pressure to deliver results this season.
Boston Bruins: Forward David Backes
Contract: Four more years; $6M AAV
2016-17 stats: 17 goals, 38 points in the first year of a five-year deal.
Comment: Backes is 33 and he has a lot of hard mileage on his body. This deal will look worse with each passing year. Matt Belesky’s three remaining years at an AAV of $3.8M are in contention.
Florida Panthers: Goalie Roberto Luongo
Contract: Five more years; $4.533M AAV
2016-17 stats: 40 games, 2.68 GAA, .915 save percentage.
Comment: Luongo has a great Twitter presence. Maybe we should include that in his overall value to the team.
Buffalo Sabres: Defenseman Zach Bogosian
Contract: Three more years; $5.143M AAV
2016-17 stats: Two goals, 11 points in 56 games.
Comment: Buffalo took Bogosian’s seven-year, $36 million deal off Winnipeg’s hands after 1½ seasons. Bogosian’s possession stats are poor, his production is poor, and he hasn’t played more than 65 games since 2010-11. We haven’t forgotten about Matt Moulson’s two remaining years at an AAV of $5 million, but Moulson had a decent season last year (14 goals, 32 points, 50.34 CF%).
Toronto Maple Leafs: Forward Nathan Horton
Contract: Three more years, $5.3M AAV
2016-17 stats: On long-term injured reserve.
Comment: The Leafs got cap relief on Horton through LTIR, but they must account for a bonus overage cap penalty of $5.37 million for 2017-18, stemming from several players’ performances last season. That will continue to pose cap problems for the Leafs over the next three seasons. Toronto has deep pockets, but it’s also worth mentioning that the Horton contract is uninsured, so they pay the full amount.
Ottawa Senators: Tie: forward Bobby Ryan and defenseman Dion Phaneuf
Contracts: Ryan: Five more years; $7.25M AAV; Phaneuf: four more years; $7M AAV
2016-17 stats: Ryan — 13 goals, 25 points in 62 games; six goals, 15 points in 19 playoff games; Phaneuf — nine goals, 30 points; one goal, five points in 19 playoff games.
Comment: It’s a tough argument. Ryan was terrific in the postseason, but he actually had five fewer points in the regular season than Phaneuf, a defenseman. Had he played the same amount of games, they would have been even. If Ryan can parlay his postseason into a strong regular season, Phaneuf can assume this mantle.
Detroit Red Wings: Forward Justin Abdelkader
Contract: Six more years; $4.25M AAV
2016-17 stats: Seven goals, 21 points.
Comment: Abdelkader, 30, is trending in the wrong direction. Detroit is rife with poor contracts, including Danny DeKeyser, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson and Darren Helm, but we’ll take Abdelkader’s because of its length.
Chicago Blackhawks: Defenseman Brent Seabrook
Contract: Seven more years; $6.875M AAV
2016-17 stats: Three goals, 39 points in the regular season; no points in four playoff games.
Comment: Seabrook, 32, had better report in tip-top shape. His contract is an albatross (one of too many for GM Stan Bowman) that will hamper this team’s Cup hopes for years.
Nashville Predators: Forward Nick Bonino
Contract: Four more years; $4.1M AAV
2016-17 stats: 18 goals, 37 points in the regular season; four goals, seven points in 21 playoff games.
Comment: Bonino is a solid two-way center whose role will likely increase after Mike Fisher’s retirement, but he has topped 40 points just once in a six-season career.
St. Louis Blues: Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester
Contract: Two more years; $5.4M AAV
2016-17 stats: One goal, 15 points; no points in 11 playoff games.
Comment: Bouwmeester was a good defenseman when he signed this deal in 2014. It doesn’t look as good anymore. Patrick Berglund’s five-year, $19.25 million deal was thought excessive, and then he scored 23 goals last season.
Minnesota Wild: Forward Zach Parise
Contract: Eight more years; $7.538M AAV
2016-17 stats: 19 goals, 42 points; two goals, three points in five playoff games.
Comment: The Wild is paying Parise like a franchise player. He has not been a franchise player. His production has steadily declined, he’s 33, and he’ll be 41 when this deal expires.
Winnipeg Jets: Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov
Contract: Three years; $4.33M AAV
2016-17 stats: Two goals, five points.
Comment: What in the world were the Jets thinking with this deal? Nothing on Kulikov’s resume suggests that he can help this dreadful defensive team, either in his own end or by driving possession (44.97 CF%). This is an awful contract.
Colorado Avalanche: Forward Carl Soderberg
Contract: Three more years; $4.75M AAV
2016-17 stats: Six goals, 14 points.
Comment: There is so much wrong with the Avalanche. Add this to the list. Erik Johnson’s remaining six years at a $6M AAV are questionable.
Dallas Stars: Goalie Ben Bishop
Contract: Six years; $4.917M AAV
2016-17 stats: 32 games, 2.55 GAA, .911 save percentage.
Comment: Long-term contracts for goalies are always risky. They’re even riskier when the guy is 30 and showing signs of decline, but that’s how desperate Dallas was to solve its goaltending problem.
Los Angeles Kings: Forward Marian Gaborik
Contract: Four more years; $4.875M AAV
2016-17 stats: 10 goals, 21 points.
Comment: Gaborik has 43 points in 110 games the last two seasons. At age 35, it doesn’t figure to get any better. While many will reflexively point to Dustin Brown’s five remaining years at an AAV of $5.875 million, Brown, 32, had 14 goals and 36 points last season, and insiders will tell you he brings a lot more to the table than Gaborik.
Anaheim Ducks: Forward Corey Perry
Contract: Four more years; $8.625M AAV
2016-17 stats: 19 goals, 53 points; four goals, 11 points in 17 playoff games.
Comment: Perry, 32, is showing signs that he is no longer an elite NHL scorer. He’ll be getting paid like one until 2021. That’s always the risk with these lengthy (eight-year) deals.
Arizona Coyotes: Forward Mike Ribeiro
Contract: Three more years on a six-year buyout at an AAV of $1.94M
2016-17 stats: Four goals, 25 points in 46 games with Nashville.
Comment: The Coyotes were so desperate for a No. 1 center that then-GM Don Maloney and then-coach Dave Tippett took a big gamble on a player with numerous flaws — on and off the ice. It failed miserably. Ribeiro’s buyout numbers don’t impact a club that was never going to approach the cap ceiling during its rebuild, but for a team that must be fiscally responsible, every mistake hurts.
San Jose Sharks: Forward Mikkel Boedker
Contract: Three more years; $4M AAV
2016-17 stats: 10 goals, 26 points.
Comment: It’s hard to believe then-Coyotes GM Don Maloney was willing to pay Boedker in excess of $5 million per year before Boedker’s agent balked. Getting Boedker back on track will be one of coach Peter DeBoer’s greatest challenges.
Vegas Golden Knights: Forward Reilly Smith
Contract: Five years; $5M AAV
2016-17 stats: 15 goals, 37 points
Comment: Smith is just 26, so maybe he can recapture the magic that enabled him to score 25 goals in 2015-16. Then again, on a team as challenged as Vegas at the center position, that seems unlikely. The Knights got Columbus’s first-round pick for the remaining three years on David Clarkson’s $5.25 million cap hit, and he’ll be on LTIR, so it was worth it. Cody Eakin’s three remaining years at a $3.85M AAV warrant watching.
Vancouver Canucks: Forward Loui Eriksson
Contract: Five more years; $6M AAV
2016-17 stats: 11 goals, 24 points
Comment: Eriksson’s deal is basically buyout proof because of the way it is structured. This deal never made sense for a team supposedly rebuilding on the fly. Eriksson is 32.
Edmonton Oilers: Forward Milan Lucic
Contract: Six more years; $6M AAV
2016-17 stats: 23 goals, 50 points in the regular season; two goals, six points in 13 playoff games.
Comment: The cap crunch is going to bite the Oilers when Connor McDavid’s new deal kicks in in 2018-19. That’s when GM Peter Chiarelli’s decision to pay Lucic, 29, $42 million over seven years will really hurt. Edmonton locked up its top two centers and those are key building blocks, even if Leon Draisaitl’s contract is a major gamble on future returns. Edmonton still lacks significant pieces around them. Deals like this one will hamper the Oilers’ ability to find those pieces. But hey, who needs Taylor Hall when you can have Adam Larsson?
Calgary Flames: Forward Troy Brouwer
Contract: Three more years; $4.5M AAV
2016-17 stats: 13 goals, 25 points; two assists in four playoff games.
Comment: Brouwer’s 25 points were a career-low, he was a possession disaster (44.47 CF%), and he just turned 32. Calgary will need a lot of grit and physicality to offset those numbers.