Here are the worst NHL contracts of 2008. This list was compiled in 2017 based on their performance during the 2007/08 season. Free agents signed that summer are eligible for next year’s list, so everyone nominated here has played at least 1 full season under the contract. There is preference given to contracts with more term remaining. We saw 3 goalies get bought out of their contracts this summer, Dan Cloutier, Ray Emery, and Marc Denis, otherwise all 3 of those guys would be on this list. These are only contracts signed under the restrictions of a salary cap. Contracts from before the lost season that got rolled back don't count.
1) Rick DiPietro, NYI, 13 more yrs @ $4.5M AAV: It was a mediocre season for the kid with the lifetime contract, winning 26 games with a 2.82 GAA (up from 2.58) and a .902 SV% (down from .919). His numbers are starting to trend in the wrong direction.
2) Chris Drury, NYR, 4 more yrs @ $7M AAV: His first season in New York saw Drury score 58 PTS, which is not exactly what the team had in mind when they committed $35M to an over-30 player.
3) Andrew Raycroft, TOR, 2 more yrs @ $2M AAV: In year one of his new contract in Toronto Raycroft was awful, with a win-loss record of 2-9, a 3.92 GAA, and .876 SV%. That’s bad.
4) Michal Handzus, LA, 3 more yrs @ $4M AAV: He followed up his 8-game season by playing 82 games, but his 21 PTS was easily the lowest total of his career where he played close to a full schedule. He did not earn his $4M and he’s 30 years old.
5) Jay McKee, STL, 2 more yrs @ $4M AAV: He’s not even an average NHL defenseman. The Blues get an F for dishing out this contract. He should be making the league minimum.
6) Tom Preissing, LA, 3 more yrs @ $2.75M AAV: After such a promising start to his career, Preissing took a step backwards in 2008 with 24 PTS after averaging 40 PTS the two previous seasons. That’s not good for an offensive specialist.
7) Andy Sutton, NYI, 2 more yrs @ $3M AAV: In year one of this contract at age 32, Sutton put up 8 PTS in 58 GP averaging 18m of ice per game.
8) Colin White, NJ, 4 yrs left @ $3M AAV: He doesn’t shoot much, he doesn’t score much, and his ice time dropped almost 3 minutes per game from the previous season. At age 29 he is starting to decline. That term is not looking good.
9) Wayne Primeau, CGY, 2 more yrs @ $1.4M AAV: I’m not sure the Flames were expecting 43 GP, 10 PTS when they signed Primeau. His shots on goal per game dropped dramatically, as did his ice time.
10) Roman Hamrlik, MTL, 3 more yrs @ $5.5M AAV: The Hammer experienced a significant production decline in year one of this contract at age 33. That’s not good, especially with 3 years remaining at a large price tag.
11) Thomas Vanek, BUF, 6 more yrs @ $7.1M AAV: Buffalo matched Edmonton’s ridiculous offer sheet and in year one his point production drops by 20. That’s not good.
12) Ryan Smyth, COL, 4 more yrs @ $6.2M AAV: They bought a player who had scored 68 PTS in 71 GP, and what they got was 37 PTS in 55 GP at age 31. That was year one and there are four more left! This contract got bad fast.
13) Daniel Briere, PHI, 7 more yrs @ $6.5M AAV: The Flyers gave Briere a very generous contract at age 29, and in year one he dropped from 95 PTS in 81 GP down to 72 PTS in 79 GP. It’s very disheartening to see large point declines in the first year of a contract to an older player.
14) John Erskine, WSH, 1 more yr @ $3.3M AAV: He was a tough guy who lacked the skill to succeed at the NHL level. If all you’re looking for is a player to throw his body around, you can get them for much less money than this.
15) Nikolai Khabibulin, CHI, 1 more yr @ $6.8M AAV: When you have a goalie making 13.4% of your team’s cap space, you don’t typically go out and sign another free agent goalie to also make over 10% of your cap. That’s exactly what Chicago did signing Cristobal Huet.
Honorable Mentions: Ryan Whitney, Scott Hannan, Sheldon Souray