UPDATED: JULY 2018
What are the Carolina Hurricanes 15 best and 15 worst non- entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? The Hurricanes won a Stanley Cup in year one of the salary cap era, so the contracts they signed in that window after the lockout that won a Stanley Cup are at the top of their best contracts list.
1- Cory Stillman, Aug 2 2005, 3 years 5.3M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He scored 25 PTS in a playoff that produced a Stanley Cup. Does it even matter what happened after that? He did also score 168 PTS in 194 regular season GP.
2- Justin Williams, Aug 10 2005, 1 year $1.2M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. They got 76 regular season PTS and then 18 more PTS in the playoffs to win the Stanley Cup. Bingo.
3- Eric Staal, July 1 2006, 3 years $13.5M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. Adjusting for cap inflation that AAV is closer to $7.5M, but still, 227 PTS in 246 GP is elite level production.
4- Ray Whitney, Aug 6 2005, 2 years $3M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He scored 15 PTS in a playoff that produced a Stanley Cup. What else do I need to say?
5- Justin Faulk, Mar 24 2014, 6 years $29M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. In year one he jumped from 32 PTS to 49 PTS and became a legit top pairing defenseman locked in at a great price right through what should be the best years of his career. Good job.
6- Cam Ward, May 31 2007, 3 years $8M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. That’s a very fair contract for a goalie who had recently won a Stanley Cup. The Canes did make a Conference finals appearance in 2009, then gave Ward a monster contract that you can see by scrolling down to the worst contracts list.
7- Jussi Jokinen, June 29 2009, 2 years $3.4M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He scored 117 PTS over those 2 seasons (including a career high 65 PTS at age 26) which is an absolute bargain. Congrats for harnessing “Peak Jokinen” at this price tag.
8- Joni Pitkanen, July 2 2008, 3 years $12M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. Getting 114 PTS from the blueline in 214 GP for that price tag is a good return on this investment.
9- Elias Lindholm, Aug 27 2015, 2 years $5.4M: Signed by Ron Francis. He scored 89 PS in 153 GP for a respectable price. At the end of this contract, Carolina shipped him off to Calgary instead of signing him to a long term extension.
10- Jiri Tlusty, Apr 23 2012, 2 years $3.2M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He scored 39 Goals and 68 PTS at an affordable price.
11- Erik Cole, Aug 12 2005, 1 year $1.1M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. The kid scored 59 PTS in 60 GP but was not a factor in their Stanley Cup win due to injury.
12- Matt Cullen, Aug 8 2005, 1 year $668K: Signed by Jim Rutherford. Cullen contributed 49 PTS in the regular season and 18 more in the playoffs on the road to the Stanley Cup. Well done.
13- Anton Khudobin, July 5 2013, 1 year $800K: Signed by Jim Rutherford. That’s a great price to pay for 36 GP with a 2.30 GAA and .926 SV%.
14- Jussi Jokinen, June 30 2011, 3 years $9M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. In 203 GP he scored 125 PTS. That’s not as great a bargain as his previous contract, but still good value.
15- Teuvo Teravainen, June 15 2017, 2 years $5.7M: Signed by Ron Francis. Teravainen scored 42 PTS in 81 GP before signing this contract, then put up 64 PTS in 82 GP in year one.
1- Alex Semin, March 25 2013, 5 years $35M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. Washington never gave Semin a long-term contract (his first 7 seasons of non-entry level were all one and two-year deals), until Carolina caved in at age 29. His production declined almost immediately after hitting his big pay day. He had 19 PTS in 57 GP in year two before being bought out.
2- Jordan Staal, July 1 2012, 10 years $60M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He’s 29 with 6 seasons left to play. He’s a decent player but this contract is a bit nuts. Carolina has not played a single playoff game since this contract was signed. Jordy playing 18m a night probably has something to do with that.
3- Cam Ward, Sep 30 2009, 6 years $37.8M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He was mostly in the mediocre to bad range under this contract, evidenced by the fact Carolina did not make the playoffs once in these 6 seasons. In 292 GP he produced a 2.61 GAA and .913 SV%.
4- Tuomo Ruutu, Feb 22 2012, 4 years $19M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. His scoring had dipped in the last season of the previous contract at age 28, so there was some warning that a decline was coming. Over the last 110 games of this contract he scored just 14 PTS. His next destination was Switzerland.
5- Oleg Tverdovsky, Aug 4 2005, 3 years $7.4M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. The Russian scored 27 PTS in 98 GP and was assigned to the AHL.
6- Tim Gleason, Jan 29 2012, 4 years $16M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He signed this contract at 29 years old and hit a wall at age 30. He declined down to 6 PTS in 56 GP and was bought out after year two.
7- Scott Darling, May 5 2017, 4 years $16.6M: Signed by Ron Francis. Year one was a disaster for Darling, with a 3.18 GAA and .88 SV%. There is time for him to bounce back, but there is also reason to be concerned. This will be a contender for the 15 worst NHL contracts of 2018.
8- Tomas Kaberle, July 5 2011, 3 years $12.75M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. In year one he declined from 47 PTS to 31 PTS at age 33. He was dealt to Montreal where he did not play well. He was bought out after year two.
9- Frantisek Kaberle, June 27 2006, 4 years $8.8M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. After scoring 8 PTS in 30 GP in year three at age 34 Frankenstein was bought out. His next contract would be back in Czechoslovakia.
10- Eddie Lack, Oct 3 2015, 2 years $5.5M: Signed by Ron Francis. He played mostly AHL games in year two. Eddie got old fast.
11- Scott Walker, June 20 2007, 3 years $7.5M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He had just registered a 51-point season at age 33 and Carolina stepped up to give him a big extension (AAV closer to $4M adjusting for cap inflation). He scored 32 PTS in year one, 15 PTS in year two, 8 PTS in year three.
12- Jay Harrison, June 24 2012, 3 years $4.5M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. By year three he was playing exclusively in the AHL.
13- Nathan Gerbe, June 24 2014, 2 years $3.5M: Signed by Ron Francis. In year two he dropped to 7 PTS in 47 GP at age 28. His next contract would be in Switzerland.
14- Jamie McBain, Apr 21 2012, 2 years $3.6M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. He was only 24 years old in year one but still managed a significant production decline. In 109 GP he scored 25 PTS (which on paper is respectable for a defenseman of that wage). But to show how much his value dropped, his next contract would be 1 year $550K.
15- Victor Rask, July 12 2016, 6 years $34M: Signed by Ron Francis. In year one he played 82 games, scoring 45 PTS, averaging just over 17 minutes of ice time per game. In year two he dropped down to 31 PTS and 15.4 minutes. He’s still young and may yet turn this around, but right now there is cause for concern.