Sunday, June 25, 2017

Montreal Canadiens 15 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era


What are the Montreal Canadiens 15 best and 15 worst non-entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap?  This is one of those rare cases where the same player has signed both their best and worst contracts. 


1- Carey Price, July 2 2012, 6 years $39M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. He won a Vezina and league MVP on this contract. Those are worth whatever you paid for them. He produced a 2.38 GAA and .921 SV%, but his next contract doesn’t look so good.

2- PK Subban, Jan 28 2013, 2 years $5.75M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. Won a Norris trophy at a great price. Problem was, he was due a new contract. After a prolonged contract dispute, Subban settled for less term at a smaller salary. Yet it would have been beneficial for the team to give him the 4x4 or 5x5 he was demanding. He jumped to over $9M AAV on the next contract.

3- Max Pacioretty, Aug 16 2012, 6 years $27M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. In 380 games he’s scored 158 goals and counting. That’s an amazing price to get a perennial 30+ goal scorer. He did slow down in year five.

4- Mark Streit, June 7 2006, 2 years $1.2M: Signed by Bob Gainey. That’s a great price for 98 PTS in 157 GP as a defenseman. It ranks very high on the point per dollar scale.

5- Lars Eller, July 24 2014, 4 years $14M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. In year four, Eller played a key role in a Stanley Cup victory, collecting 18 PTS in 24 playoff games. Too bad for Habs fans he did that wearing a Washington Capitals jersey.

6- Jaroslav Halak, July 8 2008, 2 years $1.5M: Signed by Bob Gainey. He had a playoff where he personally eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals juggernauts in huge upsets for under $1M AAV.

7- Tomas Plekanec, June 22 2010, 6 years $30M: Signed by Pierre Gauthier. 450 GP and 299 PTS is production any NHL team would take at that term and price. He was a very effective player on this contract.

8- Paul Byron, Feb 23 2016, 3 years $3.5M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. Byron is 163 GP into this contract he has 42 Goals and 78 PTS averaging over 15 minutes per game of ice time. With a year remaining, this is a bargain.

9- Brendan Gallagher, Nov 29 2014, 6 years $22.5M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. He’s been running into injury problems which is a significant concern, but when he’s in the line-up, he’s well worth the price. Solid energy player who contributes offensively.

10- Tomas Plekanec, July 5 2007, 2 years $3.2M: Signed by Bob Gainey. 161 GP and 108 PTS is easily worth what the team paid for it. Plekanec keeps getting better.

11- Charles Hudon, June 15 2017, 2 years $1.3M: Signed by Bob Bergevin. He scored 30 PTS for close to the league minimum and has the potential to grow in year two.

12- Carey Price, Sep 3 2010, 2 years $5.5M: Signed by Pierre Gauthier. Price had not yet emerged as one of the league’s best goaltenders, but took a large step forward in 2010/11. In 137 GP he produced a 2.39 GAA and .920 SV%.

13- Max Pacioretty, June 20 2011, 2 years $3.25: Signed by Pierre Gauthier.  He scored 104 PTS in 123 GP on a bargain bridge deal.

14- Tomas Plekanec, Aug 16 2005, 2 years $900K: Signed by Bob Gainey. He got a basement contract coming out of the lockout and put up 76 PTS in 148 GP.

15- Andrei Markov, Aug 25 2005, 2 years $5M: Signed by Bob Gainey. Markov averaged 24 minutes per game, scoring 95 PTS in 144 GP. That’s a great price for that production, even after accounting for cap inflation.


1- Carey Price, July 2 2017, 8 years $84M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. Forgive me for putting this on the list before it has even started, but there are plenty of people who have been lamenting this deal all year. Price is now 30 years old with 8 seasons left to play on a $10.5M AAV contract. In 2017/18, the last year of his old deal, he posted his worst season in the NHL with a 3.11 GAA and .900 SV%. Ouch.

2- Jose Theodore, Sept 2 2005, 3 years $16M: Signed by Bob Gainey. Coming out of the lockout the salary cap was $39M and teams were scrambling to become cap compliant. This was like $10.8M AAV if there was a $79M cap. He played only 38 games in Montreal on this contract with a 3.46 GAA and .881 SV%, before being dumped on the Colorado Avalanche. He was no Patrick Roy.

3- Karl Alzner, July 1 2017, 5 years $23.1M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. Alzner’s first season in Montreal was a disaster. He’s not entirely to blame for the team’s collapsing fortunes, but he did have something to do with the offense drying up. He played 20 minutes per night, 82 GP and 12 PTS. He was brought in for his ability to defend, and Carey Price had one of his worst seasons.

4- Mike Cammalleri, July 1 2009, 5 years $30M: Signed by Bob Gainey. That salary would be the equivalent of $8.3M AAV with a $79M salary cap. Cammalleri did manage to produce 215 PTS in 305 GP, the price was just too high.

5- Roman Hamrlik, July 2 2007, 4 years $22M: Signed by Bob Gainey. Hamrlik was 33 years old and immediately declined from 38 PTS to 26 PTS in year one of the contract. That cap hit is closer to $8M AAV in 2017 numbers when adjusting for cap inflation.

6- Daniel Briere, July 4 2013, 2 years $8M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. 126 GP and 37 PTS. Not what you paid for.

7- Georges Laraque, July 3 2008, 3 years $4.5M: Signed by Bob Gainey. He played 61 games before being bought out.

8- Erik Cole, June 1 2011, 4 years $18M: Signed by Pierre Gauthier. He had a good first season on this contract before the lockout with 35 goals. He phoned in the rest of it after being a vocal opponent of the NHL during the work stoppage.

9- Tomas Plekanec, Oct 16 2015, 2 years $12M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. Lucky for Habs fans this is only a two-year contract. He dropped down to 28 PTS in 78 GP in year one, the lowest point total of his career at age 33.

10- Alex Semin, July 24 2015, 1 year $1.1M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. It was seen as a low risk signing at the time. It couldn’t have been much worse than 15 GP, 4 PTS.

11- Josh Gorges, Jan 1 2012, 6 years $23.4M: Signed by Pierre Gauthier. He averaged 20 minutes per game over these 6 seasons, playing 337 games and scoring 49 PTS. That’s a bit pricey for a guy who specializes in hits and blocks. The Habs were able to dump him on Buffalo for a 2nd round pick.

12- Sergei Samsonov, July 12 2006, 2 years $7M: Signed by Bob Gainey. Adjusting for a smaller salary cap this was more like a 2 year $12M contract in 2017 dollars. You want more than 124 GP 62 PTS for that kind of money. He was put on waivers in 2007.

13- Jaroslav Spacek, July 1st 2009, 3 years $11.5M: Signed by Bob Gainey. You thought that you were buying a 45-point defenseman and you got less than half of that. He was eventually shipped out of Montreal for a bad Tomas Kaberle contract (which made Carolina’s worst list).

14- Travis Moen, June 29 2012, 4 years $7.4M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. The last two years of this contract were far worse than the first two. That’s a lot to pay a 4th line player. He was shipped out of Montreal in 2014 for a 40-year-old washed up Sergei Gonchar in the last year of his career.

15- Mike Weaver, July 1st 2014, 1 year $1.75M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. This was the last contract Mike Weaver ever signed. At age 36 He averaged 14 minutes of ice per game, only playing in 31 games scoring 4 PTS. That’s not worth that price.

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