UPDATED: JUNE 2018
What are Detroit’s 15 best and worst non-entry level contracts signed since 2005? Ken Holland is regarded very highly as a General Manager in the hockey world, and he was signed all Detroit’s contracts and buyouts under the salary cap. He has signed some fantastic contracts, some that won awards and a championship. He’s also whiffed on a few.
1- Nicklas Lidstrom, June 30 2006, 2 years $15M: A 2-year contract that won 2 Norris trophies and a Stanley Cup. Drop the microphone…
2- Henrik Zetterberg, Sep 7 2005, 4 years $10.6M: The Red Wings got 292 GP, 318 PTS, 1167 shots, +98, 125 power play PTS, 2059 face off wins, and that’s just regular season. He also won a Stanley Cup and a playoff MVP. One of the all-time best bargains in the NHL (even accounting for cap inflation).
3- Pavel Datsyuk, Apr 6 2007, 7 years $46.9M: They won a Stanley Cup that they wouldn’t have won without this contract. Also 476 PTS in 461 GP in the regular season is good too. Oh yeah, and he won 3 Selke trophies on this deal.
4- Nicklas Lidstrom, June 1 2010, 1 year $6.2M: He won the Norris Trophy on a one-year contract. He retired next season.
5- Pavel Datsyuk, Sep 26 2005, 2 years $7.8M: They did not win any Cups with this contract, but that’s tremendous value for 154 GP 174 PTS.
6-Johan Franzen, Nov 25 2006, 3 years $2.8M: He scored 28 playoff Goals on this contract, adding 71 more in the regular season. That’s 99 Goals for under $3M. Unreal. And he hoisted the Cup too.
7- Justin Abdelkader, Sep 15 2012, 4 years $7.2M: 271 GP, 127 PTS, 552 shots, 652 hits, and that’s just regular season. At that price, that’s a win.
8- Niklas Kronwall, Nov 23 2006, 5 years $15M: 352 GP, 181 PTS regular season and a Stanley Cup. He added 15 playoff PTS in their Cup winning season.
9- Nicklas Lidstrom, Dec 26 2007, 2 years $14.9M: Nick was merely nominated for the Norris trophy under this contract, but still took the team to another Stanley Cup finals.
10- Mikael Samuelsson, Mar 25, 2006, 3 years $3.5M: Here’s what $3.5M can buy you, 207 GP, 114 PTS regular season, a Stanley Cup and 63 playoff games with 34 playoff PTS. That’s a win.
11- Tomas Holmstrom, Feb 17 2007, 3 years $6.75M: They got 180 GP and 122 PTS regular season and a Stanley Cup. Also played 56 playoff games with 26 PTS.
12- Chris Osgood, July 1st 2006, 2 years $1.6M: His regular season numbers were decent, but all that really matters here is that he went 14-4 in the playoffs with a 1.55 GAA and .930 SV% and won the Stanley Cup.
13- Jimmy Howard, July 21 2008, 3 years $2.2M: By year two he played 63 games with a 2.26 GAA and .924 SV% winning Rookie of the Year, a rare Calder trophy on a non-entry level contract.
14- Gustav Nyquist, Aug 20 2013, 2 years $1.9M: Nyquist did well during spot duty in the NHL on his entry level, then signed this really cheap bridge contract and became a regular NHLer very quickly, topping 100 PTS over these 2 seasons.
15- Tomas Tatar, July 28 2014, 3 years $8.2M: Unlike Nyquist, Tatar was able to break into regular NHL duty on the last year of his entry level and scored nearly 40 PTS, earning himself a more expensive bridge contract.
1- Stephen Weiss, July 5 2013, 5 years $24.5M: On a “production per dollar spent” basis this is probably Ken Holland’s worst mistake under the salary cap. He was bought out after two bad seasons.
2- Jimmy Howard, Apr 16 2013, 6 years $31.75M: Howard has not played well under this contract, except for small stretches at a time. He had a decent 2017 in limited action, but that doesn't make him worth that money. If any other team wanted this contract, he'd be gone already.
3- Jonathan Ericsson, Nov 27 2013, 6 years $25.5M: This contract is half over and has started to look bad. Ericsson looks slow and is no longer a very effective player. His best days are behind him.
4- Mikael Samuelsson, July 1 2012, 2 years $6M: 30 GP 4 PTS is not good. This was one of those “thanks for the memories” contracts.
5- Danny DeKeyser, July 26 2016, 6 years $30M: The Red Wings really had no choice but to overpay DeKeyser. They could not afford to lose him to free agency with their shallow blue line. He plays a lot of tough minutes against other team’s top lines, but he’s got limited offensive upside. Not great at getting pucks up to the forwards. He’s useful to have, but that contract is bad value.
6- Kyle Quincey, July 1 2014, 2 years $8.5M: His next contract would be for a fraction of this price, but he did help extend the playoff streak for those final 2 seasons. He left the defense in rough shape.
7- Jakub Kindl, June 29 2013, 4 years $9.6M: He’s been a better AHL defenseman than NHL. Except guys making this kind of money aren’t supposed to still be playing in the AHL.
8- Carlo Colaiacovo, Sep 16 2012, 2 years $5M: He played 6 regular season games before Detroit bought him out.
9- Jordin Tootoo, July 1 2012, 3 years $5.7M: He played 53 games with 9 PTS over 2 seasons before being bought out. He got overpaid coming off a career year with 30 PTS.
10- Frans Nielsen, July 1 2016, 6 years $31.5M: It’s worth pointing out that the Red Wings have not played a single playoff game since Nielsen was added to the roster, and two years in, he’s now 34 years old. His production has dropped significantly each season he’s been with the Wings, and it’s not about to get any better.
11- Kyle Quincey, July 18 2012, 2 years $7.6M: Holland did give him a pay raise after this contract, so the team certainly didn’t see this price tag as being too high. He did serve the purpose of helping extend the playoff streak despite not having long term value.
12- Pavel Datsyuk, June 18 2013, 3 years $22.5M: The only reason this contract is showing up on the worst list is because he retired a year early on an age 35+ contract, then gave up a chance to draft Jakob Chychrun in order to trade that remaining year to Phoenix. The team took a hit because Pavel wanted to return to Russia.
13- Dan Cleary, July 10 2014, 1 year $2.5M: Clearly Cleary was at the end of his road before signing this contract. He played 17 games, scoring 2 PTS, and never played in the NHL again.
14- Petr Mrazek, July 27 2016, 2 years $8M: Petr had 54 GP with 27 wins, 2.33 GAA and .921 SV% before signing this contract. That dropped down to 50 GP with 18 wins, 3.04 GAA, .901 SV%. He was among the worst goalies in the league. Mrazek was better in year two and was traded to Philly for a decent return.
15- Mike Green, July 1 2015, 3 years $18M: They brought him in on a big price tag to be a power play quarterback, and the PP has mostly sucked since he’s been there, so they did not get what they paid for. They were not able to trade him at the deadline as the contract was about to expire, which could have salvaged some value for the organization.