Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dallas Stars 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Dallas Stars 10 best and 10 worst non-entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? The worst contracts are simply ordered by the total amount of money, not the degree to which they are an over-payment.


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- 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.

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- 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.

7- 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.

8- 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.

9- 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.

10- 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.


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- 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.

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- 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.

6- 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).

7- 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).

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

9- 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.

10- 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.

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