One of the greatest parts of being a longtime hockey fan is having the opportunity to look at the ridiculous contracts under-performing players in the NHL are constantly obtaining. Over the years, there have been some downright brutal signings, ranging from Alexi Yashin’s ten-year, $64 million deal (for which he is still getting money despite having departed to the KHL) to Scott Gomez’s whopping seven-year, $51.5 million waste of a deal. The list can continue to lengthen with others such as Boby Holik (five years, $27 million), Wade Redden (six years, $39 million) and Mike Komisarek (five years, $18 million). Also let’s not forget Rick DiPietro who was finally bought out by the Islanders. Don’t feel too bad though, Rick will be making a cool $1.5 million a year for the next 15 years. This contract may go down in history as one of the worst of all time.
Though the history of bad contracts as you can see is numerous, today we will take a look at the current top 10 worst deals in the NHL.
10 Dennis Wideman - Calgary Flames: 5 years, $26.25 million
Although he scored a massive pay day with the Calgary Flames, Dennis Wideman has failed to find his offensive prowess since signing with the club last season. Despite averaging more than 20 minutes a night this season, Wideman so far has scored no more than 4 goals and is a minus 16 which is the worst rating amongst all Flames defensemen. These statistics are nowhere close to the ones from his prime seasons in Boston where he notched 13 goals, 50 points and a massive plus-32 rating in the 2008-2009 campaign. Many suggest that because of his contract and lack of current production, he may be trade bait before the deadline this season, although his terrible contract terms my make trading him away very difficult.
9 Daniel Briere - Montreal Canadiens: 2 years, $8 million
Daniel Briere's dream to return home has been somewhat of a nightmare thus far. Sitting out as a healthy scratch for a handful of games, along with having 9 goals and 17 points has made this signing a major bust so far for the Montreal Canadiens. Daniel is currently on pace for one of the worst seasons of his entire career. To add insult, Briere has constantly been tossed all over the place this season, going from first line to fourth line hockey and he has yet to settle down and find a proper role on his team. At $4 million per season, the hometown player hasn’t come close to meeting the expectations of his multi-year deal.
8 Michael Cammalleri - Calgary Flames: 5 years, $30 million
A team such as the Calgary Flames relies heavily on its veterans in a time of rebuilding, one of these players is Mike Cammalleri. Unfortunately for Cammalleri, his second time around in the Flames jersey hasn’t come close to his previous stint with the club. In his last 3 seasons with the Flames, Mike has collected a mere 37 goals, something that took him one year to achieve in his previous 2008-2009 run with the Flames, where he notched 39 goals in a single season. His season so far has been a bust, especially when taking into consideration all the playing time the veteran sniper has been getting. Mike Cammalleri is currently near the top of the league for the wrong reasons, in the plus minus column he is at a minus-22 rating, the worst on the team. Cammalleri is another player rumoured to be on the trading block before the deadline passes. With the right fit Mike can be able to find his game back in a hurry.
7 Martin Havlat - San Jose Sharks: 6 years, $30 million
Many tend to forget about Martin Havlat, probably because of his injury-plagued career. Despite this fact, he has managed to score a massive $five million per year deal with San Jose. The 32 year old winger has played 101 games in the last 3 seasons with the Sharks, scoring a measly 19 goals and 36 assists in that time. Havlat so far this season has played 28 games in which he has 4 goals and 10 points. The Sharks acquired Havalt for his skill and speed, but instead have unfortunately gotten an injury prone player who in the last 3 years still hasn’t found his groove on the team. Look for Havlat to be involved in a possible trade to dump salary, or to hit the free agency market in 2 years and receive a substantial pay cut from his current ridiculous $30 million contract.
6 Brad Richards - New York Rangers: 9 years, $60 million
The ridiculous and obvious factor of this deal is its length, 9 years for a player whose value is expected to stay at $6.6 million a season until he is 39 years old. As you can tell, the term of this contract is absolutely absurd. Brad's contributions last year as well were less than stellar as he constantly found himself in John Tortorella's dog house, playing under 10 minutes some nights on the fourth line and watching some games in the stands as a healthy scratch. In New York's playoff run last season, Richards had 1 point in 10 playoff appearances. The terms of this deal are seemingly getting worse and worse for the Rangers who are known for making deals similar to this one - i.e. Eric Lindros, Bobby Holik, Scott Gomez, ect. There is no doubt Brad is still a quality player but the term of this contract may hurt the Rangers eventually as it has in the past.
5 Tyler Myers - Buffalo Sabres: 7 years, $38.5 million
So I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say the Sabres really jumped the gun on this contract. Having 3 strong seasons earned Tyler Myers a mega deal worth $5.5 million a season, but since signing this contract Myers' play has gone downhill in a hurry. The defensemen has collected 24 points in his last 86 games along with a combined minus-34 rating in the last 2 seasons. His current plus-minus rating of minus-26 is 3rd worst in the league only ahead of Nail Yakupov and teammate Mike Weber. Myers' play is nowhere near his rookie season where he collected 48 points and was a plus-13. This contract has been a major bust for the Sabres who may use Myers as trade bait before the deadline.
4 Martin Erat - Washington Capitals: 7 years, $31.5 million
Miserable essentially sums up Marty Erat's career since making the jump to the Washington Capitals. Since coming from Nashville, the veteran winger has been bounced around all over the lineup, playing with Backstrom, Ovechkin, Laich and others. Erat just hasn’t found any chemistry whatsoever and has been a complete and utter bust in his 7-year deal. Since coming over at the trade deadline last season, Erat has recorded 2 goals. So far, already more than midway through the season Marty has scored 1 goal and is at rock bottom. Erat has requested to be traded more than once by the Capitals and it now remains to be seen which team will take on this horrible contract for a player who has scored one goal this season.
3 Dany Heatley - Minnesota Wild: 6 years, $45 million
Yes folks, Dany Heatley is making $7.5 million per season. The former multi-season 50 goal scorer has seen his production massively decrease in the last two seasons. Since being traded to the Wild, Heatley has seen his production decrease dramatically from 24 goals to 11 goals this season in 48 games along with a minus-11 rating. Fortunately for the Minnesota Wild, Heatley is set to be a free agent this upcoming offseason. Look for a dramatic pay cut for Danny and hopefully, for the sake of his career, a fresh new start elsewhere.
2 Ville Leino - Buffalo Sabres: 6 years, $27 million
This deal, 3 years later, actually manages to look even more outrageous than it was when the signing was originally made. Coming off his first career year in Philly, Leino notched a career high 53 points finding success on a line with Briere and Hartnell. After this solitary good season, the Sabres pulled the trigger on Leino, signing him to a ridiculous $27 million deal. Since the signing, Leino constantly finds himself in the doghouse and has yet to score a goal this season in 38 games. In 106 games as a Buffalo Sabre, Leino has scored 10 goals and collected 41 points in his 3 seasons. The Sabres have already began to shop around Leino's name but his laughable contract will almost make it impossible to deal him to another team. Look for the Sabres to perhaps buy out this contract at the end of the season or at the very least waive it.
1 Brian Campbell - Florida Panthersl: 8 years, $57 million
The Chicago Blackhawks must have been the happiest team in the league when they got rid of Campbell’s ridiculous 8-year, $57 million deal. Brian is currently making $7.1 million a season till 2015-2016 when he finally becomes a free agent. To add insult to this contract, Brian is within the top 15 highest-paid players in the league and is the 3rd highest paid amongst defensemen. Since coming over from Chicago, Campbell has registered 17 goals along with a minus-34 rating in his 3 seasons with the Panthers. No doubt Campbell can still play and skate, but the value of his contract is absurd and certainly tops the worst in the league at its massive dollar value.