Here is my list of the worst contracts in the NHL.
1) Vincent LeCavalier, Tampa: A very talented player who can still help a team win in the playoffs, but 9 more years for a 31 year old at almost $8 million per season is an albatross. Tampa will feel long term pain for their short term gain on this deal.
2) Wade Redden, New York: $6.5 million dollars is quite the salary to receive while playing in the minor leagues, but that's where you can expect Wade Redden to stay for most of the final 3 years on his contract.
3) Brian Campbell, Chicago: 5 more years at over $7 million per season is not good value for a player with declining offensive skills. He's a good player, but at that price with that term, this is a bad contract. UPDATE (Jan 2012): Campbell having a resurgent year in Florida.
4) Scott Gomez, Montreal: $7.4 million per season is quite a lot to pay for 40 PTS, especially when you've got that contract for 3 more seasons with an over 30 player.
5) Ilyia Kovalchuck, New Jersey: No player in the NHL is guaranteed more money over his career than the $100 million the Devils owe Kovalchuck between now and 2025. This became one of the worst contracts in the league the moment it was signed, and everybody but Lou Lamirello realized it.
6) Danny Briere, Philly: He's a nice little spark plug, but 4 more years at $6.5 million is not what I want to pay a 34 year old oft injured centerman.
7) Chris Drury, New York: There might only be one year remaining on this albatross, but $7 million per season is far too much for a player with 5 PTS in 24 games. His next contract should be at least half of what he's making now. The Rangers paid almost $1.5 million for each point Drury had in 2010/11. UPDATE: Rangers bought him out.
8) Jason Spezza, Ottawa: Make no mistake, the Senators have been trying very hard to move their much maligned $7 million dollar player, but there aren't any buyers for 4 more years of Spezza at that price. This is another case of a quality player who scored a fat contract before experiencing a large decline in production. He was never quite the same without Heatley. There is still upside left in this under 30 player, but he needs the right line mate to fulfill expectations. UPDATE (Jan 2012): He's earning his contract this season.
9) Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton: Again, a quality hockey player who can make a strong contribution to any hockey team, but 4 more years at $5.5 million is not what I want to pay a 33 year old who averages a point every other game.
10) Chris Pronger, Philly: 6 more years at $5 million per year is quite a lot to owe a 37 year old player who can no longer stay healthy for a full season. Will Pronger play until he's 43? Probably not, but he will count against Philly's cap until then whether he retires or not because he was over 35 when he signed his deal.
12) Marian Hossa, Chicago: $5.3 million per year might seem like a fair price for a productive forward, but 10 more years for a 32 year old that has a lot of miles on the odometer is a bad contract. UPDATE (Jan 2012): He's earning his contract in 2012.
13) Mattias Ohlund, Tampa: The $3.5 million cap hit might seem reasonable, but the 5 more years for a 35 year old who had 5 PTS in 72 games makes this a bad deal.
14) Keith Ballard, Vancouver: Having watched a lot of Vancouver Canucks hockey this season, $4.2 million for 4 more seasons is quite a lot to pay your 8th defenseman. Canucks fans seem to think this will be an easy contract to move and that Ballard would play far more for almost any other team. I'm not so sure any GM will want this contract.
15) Sheldon Souray, Edmonton: He only has one year left on his $5.4 million dollar contract, so the Oilers should be able to move him next season even though Souray spent all this season collecting a fat pay cheque to play in the minors.