Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dallas Stars 15 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era


UPDATED: JULY 2018

What are the Dallas Stars 15 best and 15 worst non-entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? 

BEST

1- Jamie Benn, Jan 24 2013, 5 years $26.3M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. He went from being a good player at age 23, elevating into the elite tier of players by age 24. He finished this contract with 357 PTS in 363 GP.  This is probably among the 10 best value contracts signed in the entire salary cap era.

2- John Klingberg, Apr 17 2015, 7 years $29.8M: Signed by Jim Nill. He scored 40 PTS in 65 GP before signing this contract then jumped up to 58 PTS in 76 GP in year one. He’s now among the better offensive defensemen in the league locked in at a good price through what should be the prime of his career. His agent might have screwed up taking that much term.

3- James Neal, Sep 16 2010, 2 years $5.8M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. That’s a great price for 126 PTS in 159 GP, including 81 PTS in year two. Granted he did most of that scoring for the Pittsburgh Penguins after Dallas traded him with Matt Niskanen for Alex Goligoski.

4- Sergei Zubov, July 30 2005, 3 years $12M: Signed by Doug Armstrong. Sure, cap inflation puts the AAV closer to $7.5M in 2017 dollars, but that’s not too expensive for an elite puck moving defenseman who scored 160 PTS in 202 GP at age 35, 36, 37. He was a special player.

5- Loui Eriksson, Oct 2 2009, 6 years $25.5M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. In 433 GP he scored 320 PTS. This contract was valuable enough to be the centerpiece in a trade to acquire Tyler Seguin, which has to be considered a huge victory for the Stars.

6- Stephane Robidas, Dec 6 2006, 3 years $4.5M: Signed by Doug Armstrong. While the name Robidas might stir up some unpleasant memories for Maple Leafs fans, he was an effective player on this contract.

7- Loui Eriksson, Jan 27 2008, 2 years $3.2M: Signed by Brett Hull. Anytime you can get 134 PTS for $3.2M, that’s a win. In year one of the contract he doubled his point production from the previous season.

8- Alex Goligoski, Jan 23 2012, 4 years $18.4M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. In 291 GP Goligoski scored 142 PTS, peaking at 42 in year two. That’s a very fair price for a top pairing, point producing defenseman.

9- Brenden Morrow, Aug 19 2005, 2 years $4.1M: Signed by Doug Armstrong. They got 96 PTS in 121 GP at a good price. There were several veterans who got squeezed into team friendly contracts before the 2005/06 season when the cap was first introduced. This is one of those.

10- Mike Ribeiro, Jan 7 2008, 5 years $25M: Signed by Brett Hull. That AAV is closer to $7M accounting for cap inflation, but he still earned his money by scoring 314 PTS in 352 GP.

11- Kari Lehtonen, May 11 2010, 3 years $10.6M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. He didn’t cost too much and they got 81 Wins, 60 Loses, with a 2.49 GAA and .917 SV%.

12- Cody Eakin, Aug 28 2014, 2 years $3.8M: Signed by Jim Nill. That’s an excellent price for 75 PTS and a strong two-way player.

13- Mike Smith, Feb 7 2007, 2 years $1.9M: That’s a very cheap price for 75 GP at the goalie position, even if he had a losing record with a 2.61 GAA and .910 SV%.

14- Trevor Daley, May 28 2008, 3 years $6.9M: Signed by Brett Hull. That’s a good price for 74 PTS in 234 for a defenseman averaging over 22 minutes of ice time per game.

15- Steve Ott, Apr 29 2008, 2 years $2.9M: Signed by Brett Hull. He would go on to sign some over-priced contracts later in his career, but they got a good deal on this one. His 46 PTS in year one was the best points per game average he had any season in his career.

WORST

1- Jason Spezza, Nov 21 2014, 4 years $30M: Signed by Jim Nill. He hasn’t topped 70 PTS in a season since 2012. I don’t understand why you’d want to give a 4-year contract at $7M AAV to a 32-year-old player with a declining skill set.

2- Kari Lehtonen, Sep 14 2012. 5 years $29.5M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. He was good in year one. Then in years two, three, four his best GAA was 2.76 and best SV% .906. That’s not the kind of numbers you need from your #1 goalie to be a contender. Lehtonen’s subpar play forced them to bring in Niemi, which only made their goaltending situation worse.

3- Anti Niemi, June 29 2015, 3 years $13.5M: Signed by Jim Nill. Niemi was never a good player for the Dallas Stars. His numbers significantly declined almost the moment he arrived. This contract was bought out after year two.

4- Sean Avery, July 2 2008, 4 years $15.5M: Signed by Brett Hull. Avery only lasted 23 games in Dallas before they traded him to the Rangers for a minimal return. He was playing in the AHL by year four and did not get another NHL contract after this one.

5- Marty Turco, Jan 6 2006, 4 years $22.8M: Signed by Doug Armstrong. He was decent for the first 2 seasons, including 18 playoff games in year two. Then in year three his SV% dropped to .898 and he never played in the NHL playoffs again.

6- Martin Hanzal, July 1 2017, 3 years $14.3M: Signed by Jim Nill. Hanzal’s first season on this contract dropped to 10 PTS in 38 GP. He had some injury problems, but also sucked when healthy.

7- Ales Hemsky, July 1 2014, 3 years $12M: Signed by Jim Nill. Hemsky was not very effective for his last 2 seasons in Edmonton, then Dallas gave him a 3-year deal at age 31. He played 166 games and scored 78 PTS, with Dallas missing the playoffs for 2 of 3 seasons (for a team expected to be a contender).

8- Sergei Gonchar, June 9 2013, 2 years $10M: Signed by Jim Nill. By the time Gonchar arrived in Dallas at age 39, he did not have much left in the tank. This would be his last NHL contract after scoring 36 PTS in 124 GP (probably the two worst seasons of his career).

9- Aaron Rome, July 1 2012, 3 years $4.5M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. He only played 52 games in Dallas before being bought out.

10- Adam Pardy, July 1 2011, 2 years $4M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. That’s way too much money to give a player who ended up playing in the AHL. The Stars traded him to Buffalo half way through the contract. He was better playing for Buffalo’s farm team than he was for the Sabres.

11- Jiri Hudler, Aug 24 2016, 1 year $2M: Signed by Jim Nill. He scored 11 PTS in 32 GP and a year later is no longer playing professional hockey.

12- Ryan Garbutt, Jan 29 2014, 3 years $5.4M: Signed by Jim Nill. That’s too much money for a guy who ended up in the AHL. He played 174 NHL GP and scored 42 PTS.

13- Brad Lukowich, July 15 2010, 1 year $1M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. He played 5 NHL games and spent the rest of his time in the AHL.

14- Cody Eakin, Aug 28 2015, 4 years $15.4M: Signed by Jim Nill. Over the first 140 games of this contract, Eakin has scored 39 PTS. He was bad in last season in Dallas before going to Vegas in the expansion draft.

15- Sergei Zubov, July 1 2007, 1 year $5.3M: Signed by Doug Armstrong. Zubov played 10 games and scored 4 PTS. He never played in the NHL again.

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