What are the Columbus Blue Jackets 15 best and 15 worst non-entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? The worst list kind of writes itself as this team has a rich history of buying out bad contracts. The best list was a little tougher to put together.
1- Sergei Bobrovsky, Jan 11 2015, 4 years $29.7M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. It’s hard to say that a contract with a $7.4M AAV is a bargain, but considering he won the Vezina trophy in year two, it’s worth whatever they paid for it. Still, this has not translated into playoff success for the BJs.
2- Seth Jones, June 29 2016, 6 years $32M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. Jones scored 31 PTS the season before signing this contract after being traded from Nashville. In year one he scored 42 PTS, and year two he scored 57 PTS. He’s now an elite offensive defenseman on a bargain contract.
3- Ryan Johansen, Oct 6 2014, 3 years $12M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. They did have to play hardball to squeeze Johansen into such a team friendly contract and it ultimately caused a rift that was never repaired. This “best contract” came with a price, but getting Seth Jones back in the trade was a good return. Johansen scored 192 PTS in 244 regular season GP over these 3 seasons, adding 21 PTS in 23 playoff GP.
4- William Karlsson, June 23 2016, 2 years $2M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. That’s a fantastic bargain for a 40-goal scorer, too bad he did that for a different team. The BJs were unable to reap the rewards of their investment.
5- Sam Gagner, Aug 1 2016, 1 year $650K: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. If you can get 50+ PTS for under a million dollars, that’s a bargain. This would rank in the top 10 best bargain 1-year contracts signed under the salary cap. The champ is still 2006 Brian Gionta.
6- Sergei Bobrovsky, June 30 2013, 2 years $11.3M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. BOBROVSKY signed this contract two weeks after winning the Vezina Trophy. It would seem logical for a young Vezina winner to get a much larger contract than this, so congrats to management for making this happen. He put up a 2.53 GAA and .920 SV% over these 2 seasons.
7- Cam Atkinson, Mar 2 2015, 3 years $10.5M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. That’s a great price for 86 Goals. He took his game to another level after signing this deal and proved to be a tremendous bargain.
8- Derick Brassard, Sep 4 2009, 4 years $12.8M: Signed by Scott Howson. He produced 161 PTS, 555 shots, and 1376 face off wins. He played the last half with the New York Rangers after being traded for Marian Gaborik.
9- Rick Nash, Aug 6 2005, 5 years $27M: Signed by Doug MacLean. Nash played 363 games scoring 169 Goals and 326 PTS. They got the best years of Rick Nash at a good price.
10- David Savard, July 5 2014, 2 years $2.6M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. He averaged 30+ PTS and 23+ minutes of ice per game under this contract for a very reasonable price.
11- Josh Anderson, Oct 2 2017, 3 years $5.5M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. In year one he scored 19 Goals in 63 GP, with 188 Shots and 109 Hits. He’s still young and should still have his best years ahead of him.
12- Antoine Vermette, Sep 14 2009, 5 years $18.75M: Signed by Scott Howson. That’s a good price for nearly 200 PTS and 4000 face-off wins. He finished this contract in Arizona after being traded for 2nd and 4th round picks.
13- RJ Umberger, July 7 2008, 4 years $15M: Signed by Scott Howson. This contract produced 192 PTS in 323 GP. In the last season he signed a contract extension and immediately saw a drop in production. Not sure what happened there, but he seemed to get old fast despite only being 29 years old.
14- Manny Malhotra, June 20 2006, 3 years $3.6M: Signed by Doug MacLean. They got a very effective 3rd line center and faceoff man.
15-Ron Hainsey, July 11 2006, 2 years $1.5M: Signed by Doug MacLean. That’s quite a bargain for 66 PTS and over 20m of ice time per night.
1- RJ Umberger, Sept 20 2011, 5 years $23M: Signed by Scott Howson. The Blue Jackets signed Umberger to this extension in September when he still had a season left on his previous contract. Maybe they should have waited until the end of the season because Umberger’s production dropped almost 20 PTS from the previous year. He produced 78 PTS for $23M.
2- James Wisniewski, July 1st 2011, 6 years $33M: Signed by Scott Howson. Wisniewski had one good season under this contract before eventually being bought out. It’s one of the best examples of over-paying for an offensive specialist being a failure.
3- Mike Commodore, July 1st 2008, 5 years $18.7M: Signed by Scott Howson. Another Blue Jackets buyout, this time for a player drastically overpaid for being a Stanley Cup champion. He was quasi respectable in the first year of the contract before starting a downward spiral.
4- Pascal Leclaire, July 30 2008, 3 years $11.4M: Signed by Scott Howson. The year prior to signing this contract he posted a 2.25 GAA and .919 SV%. In year one of the contract that jumped to 3.83 and 0.867 before he was traded to Ottawa.
5- Rick Nash, July 3 2009, 8 years $62M: Signed by Scott Howson. They signed him almost a year before his previous contract expired, and he immediately dropped from a 40-goal scorer to a 30-goal scorer. Would he have been cheaper had they waited a year? Maybe not, but it’s another guy who experienced a significant production decline immediately after signing an early extension with the Blue Jackets.
6- Fedor Tyutin, Aug 31 2011, 6 years $27M: Signed by Scott Howson. He scored 26 PTS in year one before dropping to 3 PTS in year five, earning himself yet another Blue Jackets buyout.
7- Adam Foote, Aug 1 2005, 3 years $13M: Signed by Doug MacLean. He was 34-years-old when he signed this contract, and this marked the beginning of his decline. That AAV would be like $9.3M with a $79M salary cap, and it did not lead to a single playoff game for the BJs.
8- Brandon Saad, July 3 2015, 6 years $36M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. The first two years of this contract produced some good results, then the Blackhawks traded Panarin to get Saad back, and he plummeted down to 35 PTS in 82 GP. He’s still young and may bounce back, but there are reasons to be concerned.
9- Nathan Horton, July 5 2013, 7 years $37M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. Normally I try to avoid injured players on worst contracts lists except for special cases. This one qualifies because he already had an injury when the contract was signed and the team declined to get insurance because it was too expensive. They managed to get the Leafs to cover the cost.
10- Duvie Westcott, Sep 10 2006, 3 years $4.8M: Signed by Doug MacLean. He lasted one year on this contract before being bought out. He got paid for a career year and immediately started to decline.
11- Gregory Campbell, July 1st 2015, 2 years $3M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. Another Blue Jackets buyout (we’re starting to see a pattern here).
12- Jared Boll, Sep 14th 2013, 3 years $5.1M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. The enforcer played 102 games with 8 PTS and a 36% Corsi For before being bought out.
13- Brandon Dubinsky, July 11 2014, 6 years $27M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. In year three of this contract he scored 16 PTS in 62 GP, and suddenly he’s 32 years old with 3 years remaining at a big price tag.
14- Adrian Aucoin, July 1st 2012, 1 year $2.25M: Signed by Scott Howson. He was 38 years old and scored 4 PTS in 36 GP. He never played in the NHL again after this. It was a year too late for this old defenseman.
15- Anson Carter, Sep 13 2006, 1 year $2.5M: Signed by Doug MacLean. This would be $4.5M AAV with a $79M cap, and that’s too much for 11 Goals. Carter had a good thing going with the Sedins and should not have left Vancouver.