Friday, October 27, 2017

New York Islanders 15 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era


What are the New York Islanders 15 best and 15 worst non-entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? All these contracts were signed by Garth Snow, who was recently fired after a decade of bad management. He did manage to get his signature on a few great value contracts though. 


1- John Tavares, Sept 14 2011, 6 years $33M: They got an MVP candidate for $5.5M AAV. This was listed on my “15 best contracts in hockey” list for all 6 seasons. He finished with 419 PTS in 426 GP.

2- Frans Nielsen, July 19 2008, 4 years $2.1M: It’s rare to see a 4-year contract with an AAV as low as $525K (the only other 4+ yr deals I can see with AAV under $1M are Brett Lebda and Andrew MacDonald). He played 288 games and scored 162 PTS for a tremendously low-price tag.

3- Kyle Okposo, May 26 2011, 5 years $14M: 337 GP and 253 PTS. This one made multiple appearances on my annual best 15 contracts in the NHL list. He scored 253 PTS in 337 GP.

4- Anders Lee, June 30 2015, 4 years $15M: Year one he scored 36 PTS, year two he scored 52 PTS, and year three he scored 62. It remains to be seen how well he plays without John Tavares in year four, but the Islanders have already gotten their money’s worth.

5- Andrew MacDonald, Feb 25 2010, 4 years $2.2M: When I say that 4-year term under $1M AAV is rare, 66% of them have been signed by Garth Snow. I’m not sure why an agent would want to lock in his client that low for that long. I don’t think MacDonald is a great player, but getting 265 GP for a defenseman averaging almost 24 minutes of ice time per game is a steal at that price.

6- Frans Nielsen, Feb 6 2012, 4 years $11M: That’s a great price for 287 GP, 182 PTS, 598 shots, 68 power play PTS, 9 short handed PTS, and 1894 face off wins. A versatile player who can play in all situations.

7- Mark Streit, July 1 2008, 4 years $20.5M: He did miss an entire season with injury but was a 45+ point player for the other years. Even adjusting for cap inflation, that’s a good price for that level of point production from the blueline.

8- Matt Moulson, Jan 27 2011, 3 years $9.4M: That’s a good price for 164 PTS. He had his career year of 36 goals, 69 PTS in year one. His next contract can be found on the Buffalo Sabres worst contracts list.

9- Thomas Greiss, July 1 2015, 2 years $3M: Greiss played 92 games with 49 Wins, 29 Loses, with a 2.54 GAA and .918 SV%. That’s a bargain. His next contract can be found by scrolling down to their worst contracts list.

10- Blake Comeau, Aug 3 2009, 2 years $1.3M: That’s not bad for 81 PTS. Is there a trick to how Garth Snow gets these guys to sign multiple years close to the league minimum? If I were a player agent I’d have the policy; if the AAV is under $1M, the max term I’d accept is one year, unless I believed my client sucks and is going to be a bust.

14- PA Parenteau, July 2 2010, 1 year $600K: Anytime you can get 53 PTS for $600K, that’s a win.

11- PA Parenteau, Feb 17 2011, 1 year $1.2M: That’s more than a fair price for 67 PTS. His salary went up and so did his production.

12- Brock Nelson, Sep 16 2015, 3 years $7.5M: In 244 GP he scored 120 PTS. He had his worst season in year three at age 25 with 35 PTS in 82 GP after scoring 45 PTS in year two.

13- Josh Bailey, July 15 2013, 5 years $16.5M: Over the first 4 seasons, his point totals were 38, 41, 32, 56, then he exploded up to 71 PTS in year five. Although he did put up a -20 while the Islanders missed the playoffs.

15- Travis Hamonic, July 5 2013, 7 years $27M: This is a bit expensive for a defensive specialist, but valuable enough that they managed to sell him to Calgary for a nice haul of draft picks.


1- Rick Dipietro, Sep 12 2006, 15 years $67.5M: It could be argued that this contract is only bad because DiPietro could not stay healthy. At the same time, he had a 3.00 GAA and .900 SV% the year before signing this. He was eventually bought out, but don’t feel bad for Ricky…he’ll be getting $1.5M per year from the Islanders until 2029. Humans will be flying around in starships, he’ll still be cashing Islanders pay cheques.

2- Johnny Boychuck, Mar 12 2015, 7 years $42M: He had a career year of 35 PTS before signing this contract and immediately declined down to 25 PTS. He scored just 18 PTS in 58 GP in year three, and suddenly he’s 34 years old with 4 seasons left on the deal. Ouch.

3- Andrew Ladd, July 1 2016, 7 years $38.5M: They gave a 7-year contract to a 30-year-old player coming off a 46-point season. He dropped down to 31 PTS in 78 GP in year one. He’s a good character guy, but it’s awful to see the large point decline happen right away. He scored 29 PTS in year two.

4- Mikhail Grabovski, July 2 2014, 4 years $20M: That’s a rich deal to give a 30-year-old player coming off a buyout. He scored 44 PTS in 109 GP before the Islanders were saved by long-term injured reserve.

5- Nikolay Kulemin, July 2 2014, 4 years $16.8M: He scored a career high 56 PTS in 2011 and hasn’t come close to that number since. He scored 20 PTS in 70 GP the season before signing this, so everyone had opportunity to see that his age decline had already started.

6- Lubomir Visnovsky, Mar 29 2013, 2 years $9.5M: The Visnovsky experiment in long Island did not go quite as planned. At first he was angry that he was traded to the Islanders and refused to report. He even filed a grievance with the NHLPA, but lost. He was suspended and eventually caved. Then he signed an extension and produced just 77 GP and 31 PTS for $9.5M. 

7- Thomas Greiss, Jan 1 2017, 3 years $10M: Year one saw his numbers decline down to a 3.82 GAA and .892 SV% with 2 years remaining. That’s worrisome.

8- Trent Hunter, Feb 22 2008, 5 years $10M: He scored 4 PTS in 17 GP in year three before being traded to New Jersey for another bad contract and then bought out.

9- Andy Sutton, Aug 10 2007, 3 years $9M: A 3-year contract for a 32-year-old big slow defenseman will often turn out badly. That AAV is closer to $5M after adjusting for cap inflation.

10- Brendan Witt, July 9 2008, 2 years $6M: He scored 5 PTS in 42 GP in year one before being sent to the AHL and eventually bought out.

11- Jaroslav Halak, May 22 2014, 4 years $18M: Halak was decent for the first 2 seasons of this contract, but slipped on the back half. Year four saw him put up a 3.19 GAA and .906 SV%.

12- Mark Eaton, July 2 2010, 2 years $5M: That’s a bit pricey for a 32-year-old defenseman who scored 7 PTS in 96 GP. He did block almost 200 shots and was -19.

13- Miroslav Satan, Aug 3 2005, 3 years $12.7M: That would adjust to $8.6M AAV with a $79M salary cap. He did manage to score 166 PTS in 243 GP, which is decent production, but at a hefty price tag.

14- Evgeni Nabokov, July 5 2013, 1 year $3.3M: That’s more than you’d like to pay for a 2.74 GAA and .905 SV %.

15- Michael Grabner, May 13 2011, 5 years $15M: In 301 GP he scored 110 PTS. Over the last two seasons he scored just 31 PTS in 114 GP before signing a new contract with the Rangers where he climbed up from 9 Goals to 27.

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