Saturday, October 28, 2017

New Jersey Devils 15 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era


UPDATED: JULY 2018

What are the New Jersey Devils 15 best and 15 worst non- entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? Lou Lamoriello seems to love giving long-term contracts to players over the age of 30. Lou signed some terrible contracts over his last 3 seasons in New Jersey. 

BEST

1- Martin Brodeur, Jan 27 2006, 6 years $31.2M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He won a pair of Vezina trophies on this contract. It could have been for 6 years $300M and still be worthwhile (except for the fact that would not fit under the salary cap).

2- Zach Parise, Aug 1 2007, 4 years $12.5M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. In 257 GP he scored 247 PTS. That AAV was closer to $5M when accounting for cap inflation, but that is still a tremendous bargain for what Parise provided.

3- Brian Gionta, Sep 21 2005, 1 year $627K: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He scored 89 PTS for under $1M AAV. In the entire salary cap era, that’s the most PTS anyone scored for under $1M on a non-entry level contract. If you’re curious #2 was Andrew Brunette in 2007.

4- Adam Henrique, Aug 27 2013, 6 years $24M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He has already scored 226 PTS in 395 GP with 1 season left to play. This was a contract that paid off for New Jersey, which they were able to flip for Sami Vatanen towards the end.

5- Jamie Langenbrunner, July 1 2006, 5 years $14M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. You won’t see many 5-year contracts given to players over the age of 30 appear on one of my “best contracts” lists. Langenbrunner happened to be a player who aged well and hit a career high 69 PTS at age 33.

6- Andy Greene, July 1 2009, 2 years $1.4M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. In year one he scored a career high 37 PTS, scoring 60 PTS total on this contract. Great price for that production.

7- Lee Stempniak, Oct 3 2015, 1 year $850K: Signed by Ray Shero. Anytime you can get over 50 PTS for under $1M AAV, that’s a bargain. He came 1 shy of tying his career high in PTS at age 32. That’s uncommon.

8- David Clarkson, July 1 2010, 3 years $8M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. In year two he hit his career best season with 30 goals and 46 PTS at age 27. His next contract is going to be on the all-time terrible list, but for these 3 seasons he was good (hence how he earned himself that terrible Leafs contract).

9- Scott Gomez, Aug 12 2005, 1 year $2.2M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. That’s a bargain price for 84 PTS in 82 GP.

10- Adam Larsson, July 26 2015, 6 years $25M: Signed by Ray Shero. It would be very curious to see what Larsson would command if he hit the UFA market tomorrow. He’s not a big point producer, earning most of his money in the defensive zone. New Jersey traded this contract to Edmonton for Taylor Hall, who won the Hart Trophy.

11- Travis Zajac, July 22 2009, 4 years $15.6M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He scored a career high 67 PTS in year one at age 24. A great value contract for a 2-way player who can play in all situations and wins face-offs.

12- Johnny Oduya, July 1 2007, 2 years $1.2M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. Under $1M AAV for a defenseman who scored 55 PTS in 156 GP averaging 20 minutes of ice time per game. That’s a win.

13- John Moore, July 1 2015, 3 years $5M: Signed by Ray Shero. He averaged just under 20 PTS per season and 20 minutes of ice time per game. Not a huge steal, but good value.

14- Brian Rafalski, Aug 4 2005, 2 years $8.4M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. In 164 GP he put 104 PTS averaging 25.5 minutes of ice time per game. That would be $8.5M AAV adjusted for a $79M salary cap, but not a bad price for a 50-point D.

15- Kyle Palmieri, July 7 2016, 5 years $23.3M: Signed by Ray Shero. 2 seasons into this contract and he has produced 97 PTS in 142 GP. He still hasn’t been able to replicate the 57 point season that earned him this contract, but he’s productive and a valuable asset at that price.

WORST

1- Ilya Kovalchuk, Sep 3 2010, 15 years $100M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He was good for his 3 years in New Jersey, but bolted back to the KHL at age 29. This contract could have been a lot worse, but since he retired so early in the contract, the cap recapture penalty was relatively small. I guess the people who made the formula to punish this contract had not anticipated early retirement.

2- Anton Volchenkov, July 1 2010, 6 years $25.5M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He played 4 seasons before being bought out. He was never brought in to score PTS, but had dropped down to just 16m per game in the final season. That’s too much money for that many minutes.

3- Brian Rolston, July 1 2008, 4 years $20.3M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He scored 59 PTS at age 34 before signing this contract. Lou gave him a 4-year deal and he did not even breach 40 PTS in those 4 seasons. By age 38 he scored just 24 PTS in 70 GP, the last season of his NHL career. With cap inflation that AAV is closer to $6.5M.

4- Mike Cammalleri, July 1 2014, 5 years $25M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He scored 31 PTS in 61 GP in year three before being bought out. Another cautionary tale of signing an over-30 player to a 5-year contact.

5- Andy Greene, July 30 2014, 5 years $25M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. A 5-year contract to a 32-year-old often turns out badly. His offensive production has mostly dried up.

6- Ryane Clowe, July 5 2013, 5 years $24.3M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. Injuries deprived us of the chance to see how bad Clowe could get in his mid-30s. They gave a 5-year contract to a 30-year-old player with some hard miles on his odometer. Injury or no injury that’s almost always a bad idea.

7- Bryce Salvador, July 3 2012, 3 years $9.5M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. A 3-year deal for a 36-year-old player, what’s the worst that can happen? Salvador could not stay healthy and managed just 95 GP, 8 PTS, and -19 over those 3 seasons.

8- Travis Zajac, Jan 16 2013, 8 years $46M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. Halfway through this contract he has been unable to pass the 50-point barrier. Now he’s 32 years old with 4 years left, declining production, and can't stay healthy. That’s way too much money for what he’s been providing.

9- Daniel McGillis, Aug 4 2005, 2 years $4.4M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. That cap hit would be twice as much with a $79M salary cap. He played 27 NHL games, and 108 AHL GP. That’s an expensive hit for a minor leaguer.

10- Patrick Elias, July 4 2013, 3 years $16.5M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. A 3-year deal to a 37-year-old player is a huge risk, and it did not work out well for Jersey. Elias was more productive in his mid-30s than we see in many players, but dropped off at 38 and 39. He had just 42 PTS in 85 GP over the last 2 seasons.

11- Martin Brodeur, July 2 2012, 2 years $9M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. By year two he played just 7 games with a 2.87 GAA and .899 SV% at age 42. It was risky giving a 2 year contract to a player over-40, even a Hall of Famer such as this.

12- Alex Mogilny, Aug 16 2005, 2 years $7M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. At age 36, Mogilny played just 34 games with 25 PTS before his NHL career was over. 

13- Vladimir Malakhov, Aug 4 2005, 2 years $7.2M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. At age 37, Malakhov played 29 games with 9 PTS before his NHL career was over.

14- Johan Hedberg, July 2 2012, 2 years $2.8M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. Hedberg managed just 6 Wins with a 2.76 GAA and .883 SV% for that money. Not a good investment.

15- Dainius Zubrus, July 1 2013, 3 years $9.3M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. A 3-year deal to a 35-year-old player. He scored just 10 PTS in 74 GP in year two before being bought out.

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