What have been the 10 best and 10 worst non-entry level, non-goalie NHL contracts given out to players who are 5'9 or shorter in the salary cap era?
1- Brad Marchand, Boston Sep 7 2012, 4 years $18M: Signed by Peter Chiarelli. By year four he was in the league MVP conversation. 316 GP and 241 PTS is well worth that price.
2- Cam Atkinson, Columbus Mar 2 2015, 3 years $10.5M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. His production has dipped in year three, but he averaged over 30 goals over the first 2 seasons.
3- Brad Marchand, Boston Sep 14 2011, 2 years $5M: Signed by Peter Chiarelli. 121 GP 91 PTS. He was a 20-goal scorer coming off a Stanley Cup win. I’m not sure how they got him this cheap.
4- Jonathon Marchessault, Florida July 1 2016, 2 years $1.5M: Florida took a gamble on a player who scored 18 PTS in 45 GP at a rock bottom price and were rewarded with 30 goals and 51 PTS. Lost him in the expansion draft.
5- Mats Zuccarello, Rangers Mar 2 2015, 4 years $18M: Signed by Glen Sather. Getting 60-point players in their late 20s generally costs north of $5M AAV, and the Rangers have a good one locked in at $4.5M. There may yet be a production decline on the back end of this contract, which has not yet happened.
6- Martin St. Louis, Tampa Aug 24 2005, 6 years $31.5M: Over these 6 seasons, he played 490 games, scoring 519 PTS. Stayed productive later into his career than most players.
7- Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Nov 29 2014, 6 years $22.5M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. He’s been running into injury problems which is a significant concern, but when he’s in the line-up, he’s a bargain. Solid energy player who contributes offensively.
8- Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Dec 21 2015, 4 years $20.7M: He has evolved into a 25 minute per game defenseman who has been scoring at close to a 40-point pace over the last 2 seasons.
9- Martin St. Louis, Tampa July 1 2010, 4 years $22.5M: The 2nd St.Louis contract under the salary cap was less productive than its predecessor, but also came for a lower % cap hit. 280 GP and scored 255 PTS. He was 36 in the first year of this contract, so going for 4 was a huge risk but he was productive.
10- Derek Roy, Buffalo July 27 2007, 6 years $24M: Signed by Darcy Regier. They got 327 PTS in 397 GP. Most of that production came over the first 4 seasons and he tailed off in years five and six at age 29 and 30. At that point though, he had already earned the money he made.
*Ranked only by the total dollar value*
1- Daniel Briere, Philadelphia July 1st 2007, 8 years $52M: Signed by Paul Holmgren. This one ranks pretty high on the “what exactly were you thinking” scale, with an AAV that adjusts to $9.4M accounting for cap inflation. An 8-year contract at 29 years old is a big risk. He peaked at 72 PTS under this deal, declining to 16 PTS in 34 GP in year six before being bought out. HockeyDB has him listed at 5'10, HockeyReference has him at 5'9.
2- Mike Cammalleri, New Jersey July 1 2014, 5 years $25M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He scored 31 PTS in 61 GP in year three before being bought out. Another cautionary tale of signing an over-30 player to a 5-year contact.
3- Tyler Ennis, Buffalo July 16 2014, 5 years $23M: Signed by Tim Murray. He scored 46 PTS in year one. He then scored 24 PTS in 74 GP in year two and three combined before being shipped out of town in the Scandella trade.
4- Brian Gionta, Buffalo July 1 2014, 3 years $12.8M: Signed by Tim Murray. They gave a multi year contract to a 35-year-old and he averaged 34 PTS per season. He retired at the end of this contract.
5- Daniel Briere, Montreal July 4 2013, 2 years $8M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. 126 GP and 37 PTS. Not what you paid for.
6- Sergei Samsonov, Montreal July 12 2006, 2 years $7M: Signed by Bob Gainey. Adjusting for a smaller salary cap this was more like a 2 year $12M contract in 2017 dollars. You want more than 124 GP 62 PTS for that kind of money. He was put on waivers in 2007.
7- Jordin Tootoo, Detroit July 1 2012, 3 years $5.7M: Signed by Ken Holland. He played 53 games with 9 PTS over 2 seasons before being bought out. He got overpaid coming off a career year with 30 PTS.
8- Derek Roy, Buffalo July 6 2013, 1 year $4M: Signed by Doug Armstrong. He scored just 37 PTS in 75 GP at age 30 and was out of the league a year later.
9- Nathan Gerbe, Carolina June 24 2014, 2 years $3.5M: Signed by Ron Francis. In year two he dropped to 7 PTS in 47 GP at age 28. His next contract would be in Switzerland.
10- Brett Lebda, Toronto July 7 2010, 2 years $2.9M: Signed by Brian Burke. This contract was bought out after just one season. That was a fail.