Here are the worst NHL contracts of 2006. This list was compiled in 2017 based on their performance during the 2005/06 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.
These are only contracts signed under the salary cap. Contracts signed prior to the lost season that got rolled back don't count. Given that I’m only looking at contracts signed in the few months after the new CBA, the sample size is a bit limited. There are a few players on this list who would not be considered a bad contract in other seasons. I do this because for the purposes of my NHL financial analysis, the introduction of the salary cap is where time=0.
1) Nikolai Khabibulin, CHI, 3 more yrs @ $6.7M AAV, age 33: He came back after the lockout and hit a big pay day in Chicago. The best thing he did was help them lose hockey games and secure high draft picks. That kind of money for 17 wins, 3.35 GAA, .886 SV% is ridiculous.
2) Glen Murray, BOS, 3 more yrs @ $4.15M AAV, age 32: Murray’s game was better suited to the old NHL, not the new and faster NHL. He is quickly becoming obsolete.
3) Jose Theodore, COL, 2 more yrs @ $5.3M AAV, age 30: Jose has fallen a long way since his MVP caliber season. 43 GP, 18 W, 3,41 GAA and .882 SV% shouldn’t cost you $5.3M, not even close.
4) Bobby Holik, WPG, 2 more yrs @ $4.25M AAV, age 34: Even after the Rangers bought him out of that previous albatross contract, Holik’s agent was skilled enough to find another team willing to over-pay him.
5) Derian Hatcher, PHI, 3 more yrs @ $3.5M AAV, age 33: In the new NHL, the big slow Hatcher is a dinosaur. He was bought out by the Red Wings following the lockout and landed in Philly.
6) Adam Foote, CLB, 2 more yrs @ $4.6M, AAV, age 34: This was a case of a young team paying a premium to get an old veteran with Stanley Cup rings. It wasn’t a terrible waste of money, but it also wasn’t fair value. Why did Foote choose Columbus? I am assuming that there weren’t a lot of contenders offering a 3-year deal for $13.8M to a 34-year-old defenseman with a declining skill set.
7) Dan Cloutier, VAN, 2 more yrs @ $2.5M AAV, age 30: Prior to the lockout Cloutier posted a 2.27 GAA and .914 SV%. He spent the lockout playing in Austria and in his first season back in the NHL he posted a 3.17 GAA and .897 SV%. He was traded to LA in the summer for a 2nd round pick.
8) Martin Lapointe, CHI, 2 more yrs @ $2.4M AAV, age 32: After taking a year off from hockey during the lockout, Lapointe returned to the NHL to score 14 Goals and 31 PTS. He posted by far the worst +/- on the Blackhawks with -30.
9) Mike Rathje, PHI, 4 more yrs @ $3.5M AAV, age 31: Giving a 5-year contract to a big slow 31-year-old defenseman is a huge risk.
10) Dan McGillis, NJ, 1 more yr @ $2.2M AAV, age 33: He had a good season prior to the lockout, then returned from a year off and played most of his games in the AHL. That’s a lot to spend on a minor leaguer.
11) Adrian Aucoin, CHI, 3 more yrs @ $4M AAV, age 32: Aucoin went from 44 PTS in 81 GP before the lockout, to 6 PTS in 33 GP in his first season in Chicago.
12) Tie Domi, TOR, 1 more yr @ $1.3M AAV, age 35: Tie overshot his optimal retirement age by a bit. He averaged under 10m of ice per game coming off the lost season.
13) Bryce Salvador, STL, 2 more yrs @ 1.4M AAV, age 29: That’s a bit pricey for 44 GP, 5 PTS, and a -24.
14) Rhett Warrener, CGY, 3 more yrs @ $2.4M AAV, age 29: Prior to the lockout he scored 17 PTS in 77 GP, and returned to score 6 PTS in 61 GP.
15) Marek Malik, NYR, 2 more yrs @ $2.5M AAV, age 30: The best thing he did in New York was score a fancy goal in the shootout.
Honourable mentions: Vladimir Malakhov, Mark Parrish, Colin White, Nick Boynton, Jay McKee