Every fan hates it, a terrible contract given to an undeserving player. A player is paid for some intangible reasons that they bring to the team away from the ice, but their on-ice play is atrocious. The signing of a god awful player could break a franchise, and force an unnecessary rebuild. As for Leafs fans we can thank Burke/Nonis era for our rebuild. Take a look at each Atlantic Division team’s worst contract they have to pay out for the 2016/2017 NHL season.
Zdeno Chara: Okay, I know. How could Big Z be the worst contract the Bruins are paying out next season? Well, his cap hit is just short of $7 million, of which a flat $5 million in salary alone. He is the highest paid defenseman, rightly so, but the 39 year old is certainly on the back end of his career. The future is Trey Krug and GM Don Sweeney knows it. All in all, the team that ex-GM Pete Chiarelli built really has no visible contract mistakes.
Brian Gionta: $4.25 million cap hit for a 30 point production player. The arguable third line forward won’t see much time due to the signing of Kyle Okposo and the continued success of phenom Jack Eichel. Sabres fans should hope that his veteran leadership equals the $2 million premium they are about to drop.
Detroit Red Wings
Johan Franzen: Unfortunately, the Swedish forward is still undergoing concussion problems, and it is unlikely he will touch the ice again. A cap hit of just under $4 million is no light task to deal with, but Wings’ should be praying that Ken Holland was able to move the hefty $7.5 Datsyuk hit. That being said, netminder Jimmy Howard is set to make north of $5 million this year.
Dave Bolland: At the time, this was the WORST contract in the entirety that is the National Hokey League. $27.5 million over a span of 5 years. All that money for scoring the game winning goal in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. If it is of any consolation prize the Cats are only paying out the future of the franchise, Aaron Ekblad $925k this year. Enjoy sunny days, hot beaches, and $5.5 million a year to an average AHL player until 2019.
Marc Bergevin: Yeah, I know his contract does not count against the cap, but I just couldn’t help myself. This guy trades away the best player in the club, for an older, slower, less physical defensive option. (Sorry Shea but PK is better) He then signs a Andrew Shaw to a $3.9 million AAV deal, while giving up a younger, faster, more skillful Lars Eller. AND he has to pay out $5.5 to Andrei Markov, who essentially has been carried by P.K. Subban for the latter half of his career. Prediction: Bergevin is run out of Montreal after the Habs fail to secure a playoff spot.
Dion Phaneuf: $7 million a year until the start of the 2021/2022 season. Need I say more? The captain and Norris Trophy caliber defenseman Erik Karlsson is making $500k less than the second pairing d-man. Phaneuf gets ragged on a ton by every media source, and truly he isn’t as bad as everyone claims, but it is hard to play up to $7 million a year. Maybe new goach Guy Boucher will be able to turn his career back into what it was in Calgary.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Jason Garrison: The Bolts only have to endure the $4.6 million cap hit for this upcoming season and the next. Garrison is a great stay at home defenseman, certainly an integral part of the success and depth that is the Lightning, but not worth all of the $4 million and change. The most expensive d-man for the Lightning in the 2016/2017 season is coming off his worst season since his rookie season in 2009/2010 in which he put up 8 points in 31 games. GM Stevie Y certainly has his sights set on a Cup ring in the near future.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Nathan Horton: This one was a toss up between Horton, who will never hockey again, and Joffrey Lupul. The former will be a hit of $5.3 million, the most expensive Leafs forward and is under contract until 2020, and the latter is a $5.25 million cap hit who consistently underperforms when he isn’t in the press box injured. Over $10 million paid in injuries is unacceptable, but is one of many consequences to the worst GM era in Leafs history. Burke and Nonis have left current GM Lou Lamoriello a hot mess, but the Godfather is slowly undoing all of the bad deals.
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