Here are the worst NHL contracts of 2011. This list was compiled in 2017 based on their performance during the 2010/11 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.
1) Vincent LeCavalier, 9 More yrs @ $7.7M AAV: In 2007 and 2008, LeCavalier scored 200 PTS. It has all been downhill ever since, dropping to a new low of 54 PTS in 2011, his worst performance in the last 9 seasons. His production took a dramatic decline at age 28, and now he’s 30. He’s getting worse each season and he’s under contract for the next decade.
2) Wade Redden, NYR, 3 more yrs @ $6.5M AAV: In 2011 the Rangers had enough of Redden and shipped him down to the minors, where he was the highest paid player in the AHL. Redden is still good enough to play in the NHL, but his cap hit is so much that it made sense for the Rangers to make cap space by eating his contract and demoting him down where he wouldn’t count against the cap.
3) Rick DiPietro, NYI, 10 more yrs @ $4.5M AAV: After 5 GP in 2009 and 8 GP in 2010, DiPietro was finally healthy enough to play 26 games. He won 9 of them with a 3.44 GAA and an .886 SV%. He seems to have reached the end of his usefulness and still has 10 years left on his contract. This highlights the risk of giving extreme term on guaranteed contracts.
4) Scott Gomez, MTL, 3 more yrs @ $7.3M AAV: Last season the Gomez situation went from awful to dreadful. He scored the lowest point total of his career (38) while still playing 80 games. In the first 6 seasons of the salary cap, no healthy forward has been paid more to score less.
5) Mike Komisarek, TOR, 3 more yrs @ $4.5M AAV: It has not taken Komisarek long to fall out of favour with the Leafs. In his second season he dropped down to under 14 minutes per game of ice time and has become a whipping boy for Leafs fans. This contract could yet prove to be the biggest blunder of Brian Burke’s career as a General Manager.
6) Keith Ballard, VAN, 4 more yrs @ $4.2M AAV: I’m not sure what they put in the water in Miami, but Ballard is one of many players to see his point production plummet upon leaving the sunshine state. In 2010 he scored 28 PTS then was traded to Vancouver and scored just 7 PTS in 2011. If he was even close to the player he was in Florida, Vancouver wins the Stanley Cup. Instead he made no meaningful contribution to their run to he final (10 GP, 14m of ice per game in the playoffs).
7) Nikolai Khabibulin, EDM, 2 more yrs @ $3.75M AAV: Nik once again made a great contribution to finishing in dead last, playing 47 games but getting only 10 wins, with a 3.40 GAA, .890 SV%. Since the lockout, Khabibulin has done a great job helping teams secure high draft picks. If that’s your goal, Nik is worth every penny.
8) Shawn Horcoff, EDM, 4 more yrs @ $5.5M: In the second season of a heavily front-loaded contract, Horcoff scored 27 PTS in 47 GP. His points per game and ice time have shrunk each of the past 3 seasons, and now he’s 31 years old with 4 years remaining at a significant cap hit.
9) Rostislav Olesz, FLA, 3 more yrs @ $3.1M AAV: After scoring 17 PTS in 44 GP, Olesz was traded to Chicago for Brian Campbell in what was certainly NOT a hockey trade. This was two teams trading bad contracts, the difference being that Chicago was trying to slide under the cap while Florida was trying to reach the salary floor. Basically, the Hawks gave Campbell away, which is sad considering he helped them win the Stanley Cup recently.
10) Brian Campbell, FLA, 5 more yrs @ $7.1M AAV: You would think that Campbell is a valuable commodity, as he helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup, but this summer his salary was dumped on Florida at age 31 in exchange for another terrible contract. Obviously, there weren’t any teams willing to trade anything of value for Campbell. Ergo, his contract sucks.
11) Anton Volchenkov, NJ, 5 more yrs @ $4.25M AAV: That’s a lot of money for someone who will not impress you on the stat sheet (8 PTS in 59 GP, 18m of ice per game). He’s a good hitter, average defensively, with limited offensive upside. He’s still only 28 years old, but being a heavy hitter may have accelerated his aging process, with his body starting to break down a bit early.
12) Thomas Vanek, BUF, 3 more yrs @ $7.1M AAV: Vanek is the best performing player on this “worst contracts” list with 32 goals and 73 PTS. He’s not here because he sucks, but rather his price tag is just way too high. Kevin Lowe got saved from what should have been the biggest mistake of his career when they matched his offer sheet. Buffalo could have had 4 first round draft picks. Hindsight is 20-20 I guess.
13) Mattias Ohlund, TB, 5 more yrs @ $3.6M AAV: At age 34 he scored 5 PTS in 72 GP playing 18.5 minutes per game. He scored 25 PTS playing 21.6m the season before signing this contract and got old fast. It would be remarkably convenient if some injury could prematurely end his career and save Tampa from the remainder of this terrible contract.
14) Jeff Finger, Tor, 1 more yr @ $3.5M AAV: He didn’t even play in the NHL last season. The Leafs seem happy to let him finish the contract in the AHL rather than buy him out.
15) Chris Drury, NYR, 1 more yr @ $7M AAV: After 5 PTS in 24 GP (playing an average of 12 minutes per game) at age 34, the Rangers bought out the last year of his contract. This one belongs in the Hall of Fame of Terrible Contracts.
Honorable mentions: Cam Barker, Ron Hainsey, Jay Bouwmeester, Jason Spezza, Ryan Malone, Sergei Gonchar, Jason Blake, Mike Commodore, Sheldon Souray, JP Dumont, Colin White