Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres, 7 years, 50 million (7.143 per). Now this is not a knock on Thomas Vanek, who is a great player and is going to be one of the best scorers in the league for some time. This has to do more with Buffalo and their mismanagement as an organization. Vanek had just finished his 2nd pro season, at the age of 23, and potted 43 goals, 84 points and led the league with a +47. Now, at this point, Vanek definitely deserved a raise from his rookie deal, but to go from a base salary of under 1 million dollars to 7+ million is ridiculous. Not to say that he will never deserve that deal, but aside from his 2nd season, he has had back to back 64 point seasons, not really worth the money. Had Buffalo taken care of its assets, there would be no offer sheet from the Oilers and no mega contract. Buffalo had also lost Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, so they were forced to match Vanek's offer or the fanbase would have revolted.
Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks, 12 years, 62.8 million (5.233 per). Again, this is not a knock on Marian Hossa, but with Chicago's youth movement and a lot of expiring rookie deals, Hossa takes up some unnecessary cap space. Hossa is 30, and while it is unlikely he will play until he is 42, even when he becomes a 38 year old, he isn't going to be worth that money. The cap is also going to come down, and have an untradable asset is never a good thing. While his cap hit for his production is low now, further down the road it could become a hinderance.
Brian Campbell, Chicago Blackhawks, 8 years, 57.12 million dollars (7.14 per). This deal was made because Chicago felt pressured to make a big splash. Campbell will be 37 when his deal expires, and like Hossa, is an untradable piece. Again, with Chicago's youth movement, they may lose some of those pieces because of an overpaid Campbell. This deal was also unnecessary because Chicago already had Cam Barker, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Brent Sopel to round out the top 4. It wasn't like the defense was awful. Now Chicago has been trying to unload Campbell to no avail.
Dustin Penner, Edmonton Oilers, 5 years, 21.25 million (4.25 per). While his cap hit is not too bad, his production has been awful since coming over from Anaheim via offer sheet. The physical winger has been subject to trade rumors and his production has not improved as expected since being acquired.
Ryan Smyth, Colorado Avalanche/Los Angeles Kings, 5 years, 31.25 million (6.25 per). This deal has to do with the name. Smyth was that sexy free agent name that got the big bucks to sign in Colorado. For his career, Smyth has been a 50-60 point player, not really worth elite talent money. In his first season in Colorado, he was injured, and last season he had only 59 points. In a move to free up cap space, he was dealt to Los Angeles this offseason.
Michal Handzus, Los Angeles Kings, 4 years, 16 million (4 per). Handzus has never been the same since his injury in Chicago, and Los Angeles signed him to be the number two center. While he has played in every game the past two seasons, his totals have been 25 goals, and 38 assists in 164 games. Not the production they were expecting. His contract runs for two more seasons.
Scott Gomez, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, 7 years, 51.5 million (7.357 per). Gomez, like Campbell, was the sexy free agent on the market. New York, as always, wanted to make a splash and dolled out huge money for Gomez. Gomez has been overrated his entire career. Many view him as an elite player, yet he puts up 2nd line numbers. He has scored 20 goals only once in his career, and his numbers have not improved since his rookie campaign. Gomez is an ideal number two center, who gets around the high teens in goals and around 40-50 assists. The Rangers tried to trade him for a season, and were finally able to unload him to the Canadiens.
Brian Gionta, Montreal Canadiens, 5 years, 25 million (5 per). Gionta is a decent player, but he is on the decline. Since his 48 goal season a few years back, his goal total has decreased every season. He is now a 20 goal scorer. He is extremely small, at 5-7, and doesn't really bring much to the table other than scoring. 20 goal scorers are not that hard to find in the league, so spending 5 million on a guy like Gionta makes no sense. Montreal felt pressured to make big moves like acquiring Gomez because they underperformed last season.
Brian Rolston, New Jersey Devils, 5 years, 25.25 million dollars (5.062 per). Rolston had been coming off very good seasons in Minnesota, but he was 35. While would any sane GM give a guy who is 35 years old a 5 year deal worth that much money? Rolston was injured for a good portion of the season, and if he retires, his cap hit will remain on the payroll. Not a smart move for a team that always seems to have cap issues.
Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders, 15 years, 67.5 million (4.5 per). I guess Charles Wang wasn't as nuts as we thought, as he set the trend for extremely long contracts. DiPietro has the talent to be one of the best goalies in the league, and his cap his is reasonable, but he cannot stay healthy. All his injuries could end up derailing his career, leaving the Islanders stuck with an untradable contract. Because of his injuries, the Islanders had to go out and sign an aging Dwayne Roloson.
Chris Drury, New York Rangers, 6 years, 42.3 million (7.05 per). Pretty much the same deal as Gomez. Drury is a good player, but a 2nd liner at best. He was overhyped going into the offseason and the Rangers spent huge money on him. Like Gomez, the Rangers tried to trade him but failed in doing so. Drury is a 20-30 goal scorer who will net between 50-65 points a season. He is not worth that money.
Wade Redden, New York Rangers, 6 years, 39 million (6.5 per). After losing Chara to Boston, Redden was supposed to take over the reigns as the best defender in Ottawa, but his production fell, and he went from being one of the best defenseman in the NHL to just another guy. He somehow got a raise from his previous contract, and the Rangers signed him to a long term deal that expires when he is 38. Low and behold, his production slipped even more, and the Rangers are thinking of sending him to the AHL for cap relief.
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers, 5 years, 37.5 million (7.5 per). If Gaborik is healthy, he may earn his money, but that is a big if. After unloading Gomez's deal, the Rangers blew a load on Gaborik, hoping that he can stay healthy. Like I said, if he is healthy, then it could be a reasonable deal, but his injury history proves otherwise.
Michael Rozsvial, New York Rangers, 4 years, 20 million (5 per). The Rangers paid big money to keep their offensive defenseman in New York, but his production has slipped the past two seasons, and it is not evident he wasn't worth the money for his production. Like the other big contracts in New York, the Rangers tried to move him to no avail.
Daniel Briere, Philadelphia Flyers, 8 years, 52 million (6.5 per). Philadelphia made this move because they finished as one of the worst teams in the league. Briere was a sexy name and they bit. Briere had come off a 95 point season, but Buffalo's offense was ridiculous that season and every had good numbers. Briere played well that season, but he was injured last year and Philadelphia has tried to move him. It's not that Briere isn't a good player, but Philadelphia did not need him, and now they have cap issues. Briere will also be in his late 30s by the end of the deal, and his cap hit will be high. No team is going to take that and Philly was run into more cap issues.
Chris Pronger, Philadelphia Flyers, 7 years, 34.5 million (4.921 per). A bargain cap hit for the first few years, but when Pronger is 38+ making that money, it could cause cap issues for Philadelphia. The deal also expires when he is 42, and even if he retires, the money will stay on the cap.
Michael Nylander, Washington Capitals, 4 years, 19.5 million (4.875). Nylander was supposed to be the 2nd center on the team. He went from being a point per game player on the Rangers, to under .5 points per game. He will also be 38 when the deal expires. Injuries has been an issue for him as well, losing half his first season in Washington.
Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings, 11 years, 43.5 million (3.955 per).
Jason Blake, Toronto Maple Leafs, 5 years, 20 million (4 per).
Jeff Finger, Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 years, 14 million (3.5 per).
Ed Jovanovski, Phoenix Coyotes, 5 years, 32.5 million (6.45 per).
Danius Zubrus, New Jersey Devils, 7 years, 23.8 million (3.4 per).
Roman Hamrlik, Montreal Canadiens, 5 years, 22 million (5.5 per).