Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tampa Bay Lightning 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Tampa Bay Lightning 10 best and 10 worst non- entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? The worst contracts are simply ordered by the total amount of money, not the degree to which they are an overpayment.

BEST

1- Victor Hedman, Dec 1 2011, 5 years $20M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. This has to be in the top 10 best contracts in the whole NHL under the salary cap era. He had 232 PTS in 335 GP from the blueline.

2- Nikita Kucherov, Oct 11 2016, 3 years $14.3M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. This contract is unreal for one of the league’s top goal scorers. It confused me at the time. He must not have been willing to miss games and just accepted the best offer even though he’s clearly worth much more. The average price for 30+ goal scorers coming off entry level is $5.5M AAV, and that’s not even accounting for cap inflation. Where were the offer sheets?

3- Dan Boyle, Aug 9 2005, 3 years $10M: Boyle peaked at 63 PTS on this contract and returned very good value. The Lightning where able to harness “peak Boyle” at a good price. The AAV is closer to $6M in 2017 numbers accounting for the smaller salary cap. That’s still cheap for 141 blueline PTS in 198 GP.

4- Ondrej Palat, June 9 2014, 3 years $10M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. That’s a bargain for 155 PTS in 212 GP. He had 59 PTS in the last year of his entry level so this is not a case of Yzerman taking a risk. It’s a case of getting another productive RFA at a discounted price.

5- Tyler Johnson, May 26 2014, 3 years $10M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. Another player with 50+ PTS in the last year of his entry level who scored exactly 155 PTS in 212 GP. That’s strange, but Palat and Johnson both had exactly the same number of GP and PTS playing on identical contracts. What are the odds? I double checked to make sure it wasn’t a mistake.

6- Ben Bishop, April 15 2013, 2 years $4.6M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. He averaged 62 GP, 2.27 GAA and .920 SV% for under $3M AAV. He also took Tampa on a deep playoff run in year two. Tremendous value if you can find it for that cheap (good luck).

7- Teddy Purcell, July 20 2011, 2 years $4.7M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. He scored 101 PTS in 129 GP for a very modest price. He scored 51 PTS the season before signing this, so it’s not like Yzerman was taking a leap of faith. He squeezed another productive RFA into a team friendly deal. Somebody needs to write a book about Steve Yzerman called “Breaking RFAs”. I’d buy a copy of that.

8- Kurtis Foster, July 8 2009, 1 year $600K: They got 42 PTS from the blueline for a bargain price. He never came close to that point total again and was out of the league 3 years later.

9- Alex Killorn, June 20 2014, 2 years $5.1M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. He scored 41 PTS in the last year of his entry level and followed that with a team friendly contract. Sound familiar? 79 PTS for $5M is a bargain price.

10- Anton Stralman, July 1st 2014, 5 years $22.5M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. He was very productive for the first two years but has seen his offense tail off since turning 30. They jury is still out on the remainder of this contract.

WORST

1- Vincent LeCavalier, July 13 2008, 11 years $85M: Signed by the owners and Brian Lawton. LeCavalier isn’t even in the league anymore and this contract should have 3 years remaining. Instead it was bought out in year four. He had some trouble staying healthy after turning 30, but that shouldn’t be a surprise when giving an 11-year contract to a 29-year-old. GM Jay Feester quit two days before this contract was signed, citing that Brian Lawton and the owners were now running the team. Did he leave rather than offer LeCavalier this contract?

2- Ryan Callahan, June 25 2014, 6 years $34.8M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. He had 54 PTS in year one, 28 PTS in year two, and 4 PTS in year three. There’s still time remaining on this contract and is a contender for my next “top 10 worst contracts in the whole league” 2017 list.

3- Matt Carle, July 4 2012, 6 years $33M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. He was a sought-after commodity that summer and settled in Tampa. It did not take long for his production to plummet. He was bought out in year four. He should be in the last year of this contract but he’s no longer in the NHL.

4- Ryan Malone, June 30 2008, 7 years $31.5M: Signed by Jay Feester. By year four he fell down to 15 PTS in 57 GP before being bought out.  It’s even worse when you adjust for the smaller salary cap in 2008. His next contract was for $700K to play mostly AHL games.

5- Mattias Ohlund, July 1 2009, 7 years $25.2: Signed by Brian Lawton. Another cautionary tale about signing a 30+ year old defenseman to a long-term contract. Injuries prevented us from seeing how shitty Ohlund could become in his late 30s, but he was still plenty bad for his short time in Tampa.

6- Eric Brewer, June 24 2011, 4 years $15.5M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. A 4-year contract for a 32-year-old has risk. He only had 11 PTS in 44 GP in the final year and retired.

7- Marc Denis, July 5 2006, 3 years $8.6M: Signed by Jay Feester. His best season had a 3.19 GAA and 0.883 SV%. He finished this contract in the AHL before being bought out. It’s even worse considering the size of the cap in 2006. This was an awful waste of money. He’d be higher up the list if this were ordered by “amount of overpayment”.

8- Matt Walker, July 1st 2009, 4 years $6.8M: Signed by Brian Lawton. I had to double check to make sure this contract wasn’t a typo at cap friendly. He played 66 games in year one before being traded to Philadelphia where he mostly played for their AHL affiliate. This would rank high on the list of largest contracts awarded to players that 99% of hockey fans never heard of, but behind Jeff Finger of course...

9- Anders Lindback, July 6 2012, 2 years $3.6M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. His two seasons in Tampa saw him post a 2.90 GAA and a SV% below .900. That’s not worth $1.8M.


10- Brian Lee, June 28 2012, 2 years $2.3M: Signed by Steve Yzerman. Did not play much for Tampa and saw time in the AHL for more than $1M AAV. That’s an automatic fail.

New York Rangers 10 Best, 20 Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the New York Rangers 10 best and 10 worst non entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? The worst contracts are simply ordered by the total amount of money, not the degree to which they are an overpayment. For the Rangers, the worst contracts list kinda writes itself. Infact I could not restrict their worst contracts to only 10, there were just too many terrible contracts I had to make it the top 20. They have a few of the worst whiffs in NHL salary cap history, including 2 signed on the same day. 

BEST

1- Henrik Lundqvist, Feb 14 2008, 6 years $41.25M: Signed by Glen Sather. This may not be a “bargain”, but he was one of the best goalies in the league over the span of this contract, winning the Vezina trophy in 2012. Almost every team in the league would have happily traded whoever their goalie was to acquire this contract.

2- Brandon Dubinsky, Sep 19 2009, 2 years $3.7M:  Signed by Glen Sather. He scored 20+ goals both seasons of this contract at age 23 & 24, and has never reached that milestone since.

3- Ryan Callahan, July 13 2009, 2 years $4.6M: Signed by Glen Sather. He scored 85 PTS in 137 GP. The Rangers hit a home run on a 4th round draft pick then hit home runs on his next two contracts after entry level.

4- Ryan Callahan, July 27 2011, 3 years $12.8M: Signed by Glen Sather. He scored 121 PTS in 186 GP. The Rangers were fortunate to get a player this skilled under $4.5M in his prime years of production. His next contract will be a monster and will probably make Tampa’s worst contracts list when I get to it.

5- Derek Stepan, Sep 26 2013, 2 years $6.2M: Signed by Glen Sather. He scored 112 PTS in 150 GP, playing 18 minutes per night working both power play and penalty kill. Productive player that can play all situations.

6- Mats Zuccarello, 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.

7- Ryan McDonagh, July 8 2013, 6 years $28M: Signed by Glen Sather. There is some debate about just how effective he is in year 5, but there’s no doubt the Rangers got a workhorse top pairing defenseman for below market price. He’s averaged 38 PTS and his combined +/- under this contract is +80. That’s good and he’s still young.

8- Marc Staal, Sep 15 2010, 6 years $19.9M: Signed by Glen Sather. This was a nice bargain for what Marc Staal provides, but his next contract will prove to be too much. He won’t produce much offense but he’s a decent player. It was good value under $4M AAV.

9- Dan Girardi, July 9 2010, 4 years $13.3M: Signed by Glen Sather. When he was younger, Girardi produced more offense. He averaged around 25 minutes per game on a very good team under this contract. But buyer beware, he’s about to get significantly more expensive and start to see age decline on the next contract below.

10- Chris Kreider, July 22 2016, 4 years $18.5M: Signed by Jeff Gordon. If he continues to produce 30 goals and 50 PTS over the duration of this contract, it will be a great deal for the Rangers. He’s right at the age of peak production and should continue to be a force for a few more years at least.

WORST

1- Brad Richards, July 2 2011, 9 years $60M: Signed by Glen Sather. Richards was quasi productive for the first two years then dropped to 50 PTS in year three at age 33 and was bought out. You shouldn’t give contracts like this to 30 year old players. As much as the Rangers love burning money, you can’t do this in a salary cap world.

2- Henrik Lundqvist, Dec 4 2013, 7 years $59.5M: Signed by Glen Sather. It did not take long on this contract for Lundqvist to get old. Now suddenly he’s mediocre at best and locked in at a lofty price tag. He’s not the King of anything right now.

3- Scott Gomez, July 1st 2007, 7 years $51.5M: Signed by Glen Sather. He scored 70 PTS in year 1 and it was pretty much all downhill after that. What’s worse is when you account for the smaller cap in 2007, this AAV is more like $10.5M, which is even more ludicrous. There should be more conspiracy theories about how Sather managed to trade this albatross to Montreal for Ryan McDonagh. Did the Montreal GM lose a bet? Was there blackmail involved?

4- Wade Redden, July 1st 2008, 6 years $39M: Signed by Glen Sather. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Wade Redden should be the highest paid player in AHL history (injury rehabs notwithstanding). I sure hope he paid for every single road meal that AHL team ate. He went from 38 PTS the year before signing the contract, down to 26 PTS in year one, 14 PTS by year two, AHL by year three.

5- Chris Drury, July 1st 2007, 5 years $35.25M: Signed by Glen Sather. In year one of the contract his point total fell by 11 from the previous season. By year three he dropped to 32 PTS, year four just 5 PTS, and there was no year five. That cap his was more like $10M AAV in today’s numbers when accounting for cap inflation. This qualifies as one of the all-time worst contracts in the salary cap era.

6- Marc Staal, Jan 18 2015, 6 years $34M: Signed by Glen Sather. Through the first two seasons he’s averaging around 19m of ice time per game and scored 25 PTS total with $11.4M already in the bank. That’s a mighty price tag for a guy turning 30 who should not be getting any better.

7- Dan Girardi, Feb 28 2014, 6 years $33M: Signed by Glen Sather. He was a bargain on his last contract, but turned 30 years old when he signed this new deal and started to decline. Once the PTS started to dry up this became a bad contract (which was almost right away). His ice time got smaller and smaller until he was bought out in year three.

8- Michal Rozsival, July 1st 2008, 4 years $20M: Signed by Glen Sather. He got worse every season under this contract that he signed at 30 years old. His next deal will be 1 year $2M. With cap inflation that AAV adjusts to $6.5M. In year 3 he was traded for another bad contract, Wojtek Wolski.

9- Dan Boyle, July 1 2014, 2 years $9M: Signed by Glen Sather. By age 38 Dan Boyle did not have much left in the tank. His offensive production fell to half of what it was when he was 35. That’s not good when you’re supposed to be an offensive specialist. The good news is that he avoided finishing his contract in the minors.

10- Ales Kotalik, July 9 2009, 3 years $9M: Signed by Glen Sather. Prior to signing this contract he scored 43 PTS. In year one he scored 27 PTS. By year two he was a regular AHLer earning $3M AAV, that’s a fail. The Rangers managed to trade this contract to Calgary, who sent him down to Abbotsford.

11- Darryl Boogaard, July 1 2010, 4 years $6.5M: Signed by Glen Sather. I’m not including this contract simply because he passed away, it still would have been a terrible contract had he lived to its end. This is the largest contract you’ll see for a one-dimensional fighter. Ryan Reaves is currently finishing off a 4 year $4.5M deal but is arguably a far better hockey player than the Boogeyman (who never even had more than 82 hits in a season). Boogeyman is in the conversation for worst all around hockey players in league history. He was never even voted MVP of the all-star game.

12- Mike Rupp, July 1 2011, 3 years $4.5M: Signed by Glen Sather. He scored 17 PTS the season before signing this contract. He had 5 PTS in 67 GP before he was traded to Minnesota for two players who made no impact at the NHL level. Eventually Minnesota sent him to the AHL. A tough guy over the age of 30 when he signed.

13- Tanner Glass, July 1 2014, 3 years $4.4M: Signed by Glen Sather. They gave a $1.4M AAV contract to a 30 year old tough guy who ended up playing 57 AHL games in year three. Millionaire AHLers are always an automatic fail.

14- Petr Prucha, July 5 2007, 2 years $3.2M: Signed by Glen Sather. They paid for a 40-point player and got half of that. He scored 30 goals as a rookie and got worse almost every season thereafter. In year two he was shipped to Phoenix in the Derek Morris trade.

15- Taylor Pyatt, July 3 2012, 2 years $3.1M: Signed by Glen Sather. In the last year of this contract he scored 5 PTS in 56 games and was waived. His next contract would be in the Swiss league.

16- Alex Frolov, July 27 2010, 1 year $3M: Signed by Glen Sather. He played 43 games and scored 16 PTS for $3M. This was his last NHL contract before returning to Russia.

17- Aaron Voros, July 1st 2008, 3 years $3M: Signed by Glen Sather. He played most of the last season of this contract in the AHL, but hey he reportedly had sex with Lindsay Lohan, so take that for whatever it’s worth.

18- Patrick Rissmiller, July 1 2008, 3 years $3M: Signed by Glen Sather. He scored an impressive 54 PTS in 66 GP in year one, unfortunately all those points were scored in the AHL.

19- Donald Brashear, July 1 2009, 2 years $2.8M: Signed by Glen Sather. He spent the last year of this contract playing semi-pro in Quebec, probably the highest paid player LNAH history. He scored 17 goals for Riviere Du Loup for $1.4M. Another failed contract for a 30+ year old tough guy.

20- Aaron Asham, July 1 2012, 2 years $2M: Signed by Glen Sather. In year 2 he was playing in the AHL. He was a 34 year old tough guy when the Rangers signed him. See a pattern here?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

NHL 2017 Week 2 Fantasy Hockey Report

Here are some players to watch and players to avoid in your fantasy hockey league after 2 weeks of NHL.

Players to watch, all formats:

1) Anthony Mantha, Detroit: He’s got 7 PTS in 5 GP and is one of Yahoo’s 5 most added players. He needs to be owned in more than 44% of leagues. He’s worth considering even in standard leagues.

2) Dylan Larkin, Detroit: Call last year a sophomore slump, he’s scored a point in every Detroit game so far. He’s owned in 63% of leagues which is close to his optimal number, but there is room to grow if he continues scoring at this pace.

3) Will Butcher, New Jersey: I recently added him in a Yahoo standard league. He’s at 50% ownership with 8 PTS in 5 GP. That ownership will only keep getting higher unless the points dry up.

4) Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh: He’s got 6 PTS in 6 GP and is getting time on the mighty Penguins power play. He’s addable even in standard leagues and should have higher than 37% ownership.

5) Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg: He’s currently owned in 44% of leagues with 3 wins, a 2.11 GAA and .937 SV% in 4 GP. Until he cools down, he should be added in more leagues.

Going Deep, players to add in deeper leagues:

1) Malcom Subban, Vegas: Fleury is sidelined with a concussion and Subban was added in over 5000 Yahoo leagues today after beating his old team. That 11% ownership will only get higher the longer Fleury is out. I’m not sure he’s ready for prime time, but any goalie who gets regular starts needs to be owned in deep leagues.

2) Brock Nelson, Islanders: 4 PTS in 6 GP and 8% ownership. He’s in his prime with three consecutive 20 goal seasons. He’s borderline in a standard league, but should be owned in every league deeper than 12 teams.

3) Zemgus Girgensons, Buffalo: He’s got 3 PTS in 5 GP and is getting substantial playing time (including on the power play). He should probably be owned in more than 1% of leagues. He just got added tonight in my 18-team keeper league.

4) Alex Tuch, Vegas: He was finally called up to the NHL and scored 2 PTS with 4 shots and 3 hits in his first game. He’s in danger of being sent back to the minors simply because he doesn’t need to clear waivers, but if he’s going to get 13 minutes a night with power play time, he’s a solid addition to deep categories leagues.

5) Sven Andrighetto, Colorado: He’s got 6 PTS in 6 GP to continue his hot streak with the Avs from last season. He needs to be owned in more than 10% of leagues.

Buy low:

1) Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton: He might have zero PTS through 4 GP, but he’s still got 15 shots on goal. He should be owned in all leagues, but he’s shown up on Yahoo’s 10 most dropped players list.

2) Andre Burakovsky, Carolina: He’s being dropped in many Yahoo leagues and is down to 64% ownership. Only marginal value in standard leagues, but you may be able to get him at a cheap price in deeper leagues. He’ll pick up the pace eventually. There’s too much talent on that team.

3) Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo: He needs to be owned in 100% of leagues that count face-off wins. He has started slow but eventually the points will come. Borderline ownable in standard leagues, but a must own in deeper leagues.

4) Nico Hischier, New Jersey: He’s being dropped in many leagues and is down to 45% ownership, close to teammate Jesper Bratt. I’d much rather have Hischier. I fully expect Hischier to be well above 45% by the end of the season. He may not be pilling up PTS yet, but by all accounts, looks dangerous out there.

5) Jakub Silfverberg, Anaheim: He’s got 1 point in his first 5 GP. Not a guy to target in shallow leagues, but you may be able to get him cheap in a deep league. He’s in Yahoo’s 5 most dropped players today.

Be concerned:

1) Joe Thornton, San Jose: Jumbo is officially old. His 44% ownership is way too high because of name recognition. He’s no longer the player he used to be.

2) Robin Lehner, Buffalo: If the Sabres continue to suck this bad, it could be a long season for anyone depending on Lehner. He’s owned in 64% of leagues and dropping. If you’re in a deep league and you need him to get starts, he’ll get lots of starts, face lots of shots, and let in lots of goals. Chad Johnson just beat the Ducks tonight, so he could soon be stealing starts.

3) Antti Raanta, Phoenix: He has not started his Arizona career very well and now he’s battling an “ailment”. Even if he gets healthy and gets on track, it looks like the Coyotes are going to suck bad. He’s owned in 39% of leagues and dropping. If he’s your only option in goal, you might be screwed.

4) Jesper Bratt, New Jersey: He has skyrocketed to 40% ownership over the course of a week. He’s been a great story but that number is way too high. He’s a must add in deep leagues, not so much in standard leagues. If you added him in a shallow league, you’ll probably be dropping him soon enough.

5) Jason Garrison, Vegas: He’s been a frequently added player this week because he started the season playing high minutes (most likely the team trying to boost his trade value) but he’s played fewer minutes in each game. Tonight, he’s a healthy scratch. If you’re one of the hundreds of people who added him last week, you’ll probably be one of the hundreds who drop him next week.

Click here to view my Week 1 Fantasy Hockey Report.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Calgary Flames 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Calgary Flames 10 best and 10 worst non entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? The worst contracts are simply ordered by the total amount of money, not the degree to which they are an overpayment. The organization hasn't whiffed on many big ticket contracts, but have some hard fails on some cheaper investments. 

BEST

1- Mikka Kiprusoff, Aug 13 2005, 3 years $10M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. He won a Vezina in year one. It’s hard to put a price tag on a Vezina calibre season, but this price was a bargain.

2- Mark Giordano, July 1 2008, 3 years $2.7M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. In year two of this contract Giordano stepped up to the next level playing over 20 minutes per game and scoring 30 PTS for under $1M AAV.

3- Mark Giordano, Oct 29 2010, 5 years $20M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. This is one of the cheaper contracts you’ll see for a 27 year old defenseman coming off a 40 point season. Luckily for Calgary they signed the extension in October before he burst through the 40 point threshold. He scored 21 goals and 56 PTS in the final year.

4- Daymond Langkow, Aug 4 2005, 3 years $7.3M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. He scored 200 PTS on this contract. That $2.5M AAV is more like $4.5M in 2018 numbers accounting for cap inflation, but still a great price.

5- Dougie Hamilton, Jun 30 2015, 6 years $34.5M: Signed by Brad Treliving. By year two he had 50 PTS and 222 shots, which any GM would love to have for under $6M AAV. Those trade rumours that Brian Burke had to refute last year were a bit ridiculous. You don’t trade assets like this….oh wait Boston did…

6- TJ Brodie, July 31 2013, 2 years $4.2M: Signed by Jay Feaster. 72 PTS from the blueline at that price is a steal. Brodie had not put up great numbers before signing this deal, so Calgary was rewarded for taking a leap of faith.

7- Matt Lombardi, Jun 1 2007, 3 years $5.4M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. If you went to any GM and said “you can have 135 PTS for $5.4M”, I’m sure every one of them would take it. He would spend the final season of this contract in Phoenix after being traded for Olli Jokinen.

8- Mikael Backlund, Jun 20 2016, 3 years $10.7M: Signed by Brad Treliving. He has averaged 20 goals, 50 PTS and 17 minutes of ice time per game under this contract. He still has a season left at a cheap price in the prime of his career.

9- Rene Bourque, July 3 2008, 2 years $2.7M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. It’s hard to find 98 PTS for $2.7M (although accounting for cap inflation that’s closer to $5M, but still a good deal). He also registered 364 shots and 173 hits.

10- Curtis Glencross, July 2 2008, 3 years $3.6M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. He scored 116 PTS with 418 shots, 306 hits, 52 goals, and was +31 under this contract. That’s great for $1.2M AAV (or $1.5 adjusting for cap inflation).

WORST

1- Jay Bouwmeester, Jun 30 2009, 5 years $33M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. Prior to signing this contract he was averaging 40 PTS per year, then immediately saw a 10+ drop in point production in year one. He averaged 25 minutes a night, but Calgary also never made the playoffs with J-Bo. With cap inflation the AAV adjusts to $8.6M. He’s a decent player that many teams would like to have had, but that’s a high price tag for what he provided.

2- Matt Stajan, Jan 20 2014, 4 years $12.5M: Signed by Brian Burke. Stajan averaged 55 PTS per season on his previous contract and dropped to 26 PTS avg on this one.  They got half as much production for twice the price.

3- Mason Raymond, July 1 2014, 3 years $9.4M: Signed by Brad Treliving. He scored 45 PTS the season before signing this contract, then only scored 28 PTS in 86 GP before being bought out. Now he’s playing in the Swiss league.

4- Deryk Engelland, July 1 2014, 3 years $8.7M: Signed by Brad Treliving. That’s a lot of money to pay for a defenseman coming off a season with 12 PTS in 56 GP. At the time it was suspected that Calgary overpaid him to acquire a right shot defenseman. He’s also a good character guy, so maybe that’s worth a few extra dollars.

5- Lance Bouma, July 23 2015, 3 years $6.6M: Signed by Brad Treliving. He scored 34 PTS in 78 GP to earn this contract, and has rewarded Calgary with 14 PTS in 105 GP since signing it. The team overpaid for a career year that is unlikely ever to be replicated despite the fact that he’s still young.

6- Anton Babchuck, July 4 2011, 2 years $5M: Signed by Jay Feaster. He scored 27 goals and 70 PTS in the two seasons prior to signing this contract, then went on to score 11 PTS in 39 GP for $5M. That’s an F.

7- Wayne Primeau, Jun 28 2007, 3 years $4.2M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. He scored 44 PTS in the two seasons prior to signing this contract, then scored 22 PTS in 126 GP for $4.2M. That’s an F.

8- Anders Eriksson, July 6 2007, 2 years $3M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. This was a great addition for the Quad City Flames. The last season on this contract he scored an impressive 49 PTS for $1.5M, unfortunately for Calgary those PTS were scored in the AHL. Millionaire AHLers are always an F.

9- Andrei Zyuzin, July 1 2006, 2 years $2.8M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. They overpaid for a 27 year old defenseman coming off an 18 point season, and they got 11 PTS in 81 GP over 2 years.

10- Marcus Nilson, Jun 1 2007, 2 years $2M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. In the last year of this contract he scored just 5 PTS in 47 GP and hasn’t played in the NHL since.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Winnipeg Jets 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Winnipeg Jets 10 best and 10 worst non- entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? The worst contracts are simply ordered by the total amount of money, not the degree to which they are an overpayment. There is also some tongue in cheek humour below, but if you can’t spot what it is, I’m not going to tell you.

BEST

1- Dustin Byfuglien, Feb 11 2011, 5 years $26M: This was a huge signing for Winnipeg Jets GM Rick Dudley. He scored 53 PTS the season before signing this contract and hovered around that range for the duration.

2- Ilya Kovalchuk, Oct 8 2005, 5 years $31.9M: Signed by Jets GM Don Waddell. I’ll never forget how dangerous Kovalchuk was in a Winnipeg Jets jersey. He surpassed 50 goals twice and 40 goals 3 times in those 5 years in Winnipeg.

3- Mark Scheifele, July 8 2016, 8 years $49M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. $6.1M AAV may not feel like a bargain, but 82 PTS from a 23 year old in year one is exciting. At 8 years they will get to keep him at a relatively cheap price right through his prime. That’s an A.

4- Blake Wheeler, July 26 2013, 6 years $33.6M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. Through 4 years Wheeler has not scored less than 61 PTS and reached as high as 78. Solid numbers for under $6M AAV.

5- Bryan Little, July 22 2013, 5 years $23.5M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He’s been playing in Winnipeg ever since his career began and is up to 205 PTS in 268 GP on this contract with a year left.

6- Andrew Ladd, July 5 2011, 5 years $22M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He scored 258 PTS in 367 GP, with 980 shots and 695 hits. He got ridiculously overpaid on his next contract as a UFA, but provided great value for Winnipeg at $4.4M AAV.

7- Blake Wheeler, July 15 2011, 2 years $5.1M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He scored 105 PTS for $5.1M. That’s a win.  He got his AAV more than doubled on his next contract.

8- Bryan Little, Aug 24, 2010, 3 years $7.1M: Signed by Jets GM Rick Dudley. This was perhaps a better bargain than Little’s 5-year contract, but the other ranks higher up the list because he had greater production in those seasons.

9- Jacob Trouba, Nov 7 2016, 2 years $6M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. There was some hard ball required to squeeze Trouba into this contract. They could get a decent return if they traded him, and eventually that will probably become necessary as I suspect he’ll bolt at first chance as a UFA.

10- Maxim Afinogenov, Sept 29 2009, 1 year $800K: Signed by Jets GM Don Waddell. He scored 61 PTS that season in Winnipeg. That was a real bargain for the Jets.

WORST

1- Zach Bogosian, July 29 2013, 7 years $36M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. The Jets rushed Bogosian into the NHL and wound up giving him an expensive extension at age 23. In the first four years of this contract he hasn’t played more than 64 games. Hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He also had problems staying healthy before this contract, so the Jets got what they paid for.

2- Ron Hainsey, July 2 2008, 6 years $22.5M: Signed by Jets GM Don Waddell. This was just way too much money for what Hainsey provides and was not a solid investment for the Jets organization.

3- Ondrej Pavelec, June 25 2012, 5 years $19.5M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He had one good season under this contract with 50 GP and 2.28 GAA, 0.920 SV%. His 2nd best of those 5 seasons had a 2.78 GAA and .904 SV%. He was not an elite starting goalie and made too much money at the position for the team to bring in a legit veteran starter.

4- Bobby Holik, Aug 2 2005, 3 years $12.75M: When you account for salary cap inflation that AAV is nearly $8M in 2017 numbers. Not a great investment for Jets GM Don Waddell. That’s a bit expensive for an average of 32 PTS. I will always fondly remember Holik’s days in Winnipeg but not every does.

5- Mark Stuart, Mar 5 2014, 4 years 10.5M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He got worse each year under this contract before being bought out. He’s currently playing in Germany.

6- Niclas Havelid, Jun 7 2006, 3 years $8.1M: Signed by Jets GM Don Waddell. That’s a bit pricey for 54 PTS over 3 seasons, with an AAV closer to $4.5M after adjusting for cap inflation. Not the worst contract ever, but a solid D-.

7- Grant Clitsome, July 3 2013, 3 years $6.2M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He scored 12 PTS in 32 GP in year one and had played 24 games with 4 PTS before a back injury ended his career. While there may be an injury asterix on this one, he was also at his lowest career points per game at the time of the injury.

8- Jim Slater, June 23 2012, 3 years $4.8M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He scored 21 PTS the season before signing this contract, then proceeded to score 17 PTS in 135 GP over 3 seasons.

9- Shawn Matthias, July 1 2016, 2 years $4.2M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. In year one he had 12 PTS in 45 GP, which is not what the Jets were hoping for when they signed him.

10- Randy Jones, July 2, 2011, 1 year $1.2M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. You’d be forgiven if you’ve forgotten the Randy Jones era in Winnipeg. 39 GP, 2 PTS and he hasn’t played a single NHL game since.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Columbus Blue Jackets 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Columbus Blue Jackets 10 best and 10 worst non entry level contracts they have signed since the NHL had a salary cap? The worst contracts are ranked solely on the total dollars of the contract, not the degree to which it was an overpayment. The worst list kind of writes itself as this team has a rich history of buying out bad contracts. The best list was a little tougher to put together.

BEST

1- Sergei Bobrovsky, Jan 11 2015, 4 years $29.7M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. It’s hard to say that a contract with a $7.4M AAV is a bargain, but considering he won the Vezina trophy in year two, it’s worth whatever they paid for it.

2- Sam Gagner, Aug 1 2016, 1 year $650K: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. If you can get 50+ PTS for under a million dollars, that’s a bargain. This would rank in the top 10 best bargain 1 year contracts signed under the salary cap. The champ is still 2006 Brian Gionta.

3- Cam Atkinson, Mar 2 2015, 3 years $10.5M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. He has been a revelation, already scoring 62 goals with a year to go. He should be getting a big pay raise on his next contract.

4- Ryan Johansen, Oct 6 2014, 3 years $12M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. They did have to play hardball to squeeze Johansen into such a team friendly contract and it ultimately caused a rift that was never repaired. This “best contract” came with a price, but getting Seth Jones back in the trade was a good return.

5- Derick Brassard, Sep 4 2009, 4 years $12.8M: Signed by Scott Howson. He produced 161 PTS, 555 shots, and 1376 face off wins. He played the last half with the New York Rangers after being traded for Marian Gaborik.

6- RJ Umberger, July 7 2008, 4 years $15M: Signed by Scott Howson. This contract produced 192 PTS in 323 GP.  In the last season he signed a contract extension and immediately saw a drop in production. Not sure what happened there, but he seemed to get old fast despite only being 29 years old.

7- Antoine Vermette, Sep 14 2009, 5 years $18.75M: Signed by Scott Howson. That’s a good price for nearly 200 PTS and 4000 face off wins. He finished this contract in Arizona after being traded for 2nd and 4th round picks.

8- David Savard, July 5 2014, 2 years $2.6M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. He averaged 30+ PTS and 23+ minutes of ice per game under this contract for a very reasonable price.

9- Manny Malhotra, June 20 2006, 3 years $3.6M: Signed by Doug MacLean. They got a very effective 3rd line center and faceoff man.

10-Ron Hainsey, July 11 2006, 2 years $1.5M: Signed by Doug MacLean. That’s quite a bargain for 66 PTS and over 20m of ice time per night.


WORST

1- Rick Nash, July 3 2009, 8 years $62M: Signed by Scott Howson. They signed him almost a year before his previous contract expired, and he immediately dropped from a 40 goal scorer to a 30 goal scorer. Would he have been cheaper had they waited a year? Maybe not, but it’s another guy who experienced a significant production decline immediately after signing an early extension with the Blue Jackets.

2- Nathan Horton, July 5 2013, 7 years $37M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. Normally I do not include injured players on worst contracts lists except for special cases. This one qualifies because he already had an injury when the contract was signed and the team declined to get insurance because it was too expensive.

3- James Wisniewski, July 1st 2011, 6 years $33M: Signed by Scott Howson. Wisniewski had one good season under this contract before eventually being bought out. It’s one of the best examples of over-paying for an offensive specialist being a failure.

4- Fedor Tyutin, Aug 31 2011, 6 years $27M: Signed by Scott Howson. He scored 26 PTS in year one before dropping to 3 PTS in year 5, earning himself yet another Blue Jackets buyout.

5- RJ Umberger, Sept 20 2011, 5 years $23M: Signed by Scott Howson. The Blue Jackets signed Umberger to this extension in September when he still had a season left on his previous contract. Maybe they should have waited until the end of the season because Umberger’s production dropped almost 20 PTS from the previous year. He produced 78 PTS for $23M.

6- Mike Commodore, July 1st 2008, 5 years $18.7M: Signed by Scott Howson. Another Blue Jackets buyout, this time for a player drastically overpaid for being a Stanley Cup champion. He was quasi respectable in the first year of the contract before starting a downward spiral.

7- Pascal Leclaire, July 30 2008, 3 years $11.4M: Signed by Scott Howson. The year prior to signing this contract he posted a 2.25 GAA and .919 SV%. In year one of the contract that jumped to 3.83 and 0.867 before he was traded to Ottawa.

8- Duvie Westcott, Sep 10 2006, 3 years $4.8M: Signed by Doug MacLean. He lasted one year on this contract before being bought out. He got paid for a career year and immediately started to decline.

9- Gregory Campbell, July 1st 2015, 2 years $3M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. Another Blue Jackets buyout (we’re starting to see a pattern here).

10- Adrian Aucoin, July 1st 2012, 1 year $2.25M: Signed by Scott Howson. He was 38 years old and scored 4 PTS in 36 GP.  He never played in the NHL again after this. It was a year too late for this old defenseman.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

NHL 2017 Week 1 Fantasy Hockey Report

The National Hockey League season is less than 7 days old. It may yet be too early to make major changes to your fantasy team, or it could be the best time to add certain players before the market corrects itself and the sample size gets larger. I play mostly Yahoo leagues, one deep league and one standard 12 team public league. Here are a few early tips that may help you out. There are some players who need to be added in shallow leagues and players who need to be added in deeper formats. There are some "buy low" candidates and some players that you might need to be worried about.

Players to watch, all formats:

1) Paul Stastny, St Louis: 15% ownership is too low for Tarasenko’s center. He’s going to put up good numbers so long as he stays on a line with one of the league’s most dynamic offensive talents. Safe to add in standard leagues.

2) Vladimir Namestnikov, Tampa: So long as he continues playing with Kucherov and Stamkos, he should be a must add in almost every league. That 25% ownership will rise.

3) Jakub Vrana, Washington: If he’s going to keep playing with Kuznetzov and Ovechkin, he’s addable in all formats. That 42% ownership will go up if he continues on the first line.

4) Bo Horvat, Vancouver: His 34% ownership in Yahoo leagues needs to be higher. Worth adding in all formats where he’s available. He is the future of this franchise and his ceiling seems to be continuously rising.

5) Jimmy Howard, Detroit: He’s widely available in shallow leagues with 50% ownership and through 2 games is 2-0 with a 1.44 GAA and a .960 SV%. Those numbers will come down, but ride the wave while it lasts. He’s one of the most added goaltenders in Yahoo leagues, and is an option in all formats.

Going Deep, players to add in deeper leagues:

1) Will Butcher, New Jersey: He’s been one of the most added players in Yahoo after scoring 3 power play points in a single game. There is some concern about his even strength ice time, but if you’re looking for a power play specialist, he won’t stay at 17% ownership very much longer.

2) Zach Hyman, Toronto: 6% ownership is far too low for a guy playing with Matthews and Nylander. If your league counts hits, he’s a must own. It’s unlikely he’ll last the entire season on the top line, but so long as he is, he’ll get points.

3) Alex DeBrincat, Chicago: He’s a player with high offensive upside who has played over 17 minutes the first 2 games with no points. Worth stashing on your bench in deeper leagues, but in 10-12 team leagues you’ll want to wait until he starts scoring before you add him.

4) Esa Lindell, Dallas: He’s playing important minutes on the first pairing in Dallas. He hasn’t scored any points through the first 2 games and owners may be starting to get nervous. Be quick to scoop him up in deep leagues, but wait for the production to start coming before adding in shallower formats.

5) Nick Bjustad, Florida: He’s only 2% owned coming off a bad season, but if he bounces back to previous form that ownership number should creep up to double digits. Must add in deep leagues if he’s available.

Buy low:

1) Sam Reinhart, Buffalo: He’s a borderline player in standard leagues, but he’s being dropped in thousands of Yahoo leagues after no points in the first 2 games. He’s a young guy with high upside.

2) Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal: He may never live up to the expectations of where he was drafted, but he’s still a decent add in deeper leagues and his owners are already starting to hit the panic button. He can be dropped in standard leagues.

3) Martin Jones, San Jose: Through the first two games he’s got a GAA of 5.17 and an .864 SV%. His owner might be nervous, so you may be able to get him cheaper than his draft value.

4) Anders Lee, Islanders: No points through 2 games has landed this young gun on the most dropped list for Yahoo leagues. I just dropped him myself in a standard league. But he’s definitely still worth owning in deeper formats and you might be able to get him at a cheap price.

5) Kyle Turris, Ottawa: He might have no points through 2 games, but he’s still playing over 20 minutes per night. The points will come eventually. Owners have started dropping him, so he’s another guy you might be able to get at a discount.

Be concerned:

1) Nick Holden, NYR: Nobody likes a healthy scratch in fantasy hockey. That 10% ownership won’t last long if he keeps watching games from the press box.

2) Brock Boeser, Vancouver: If you’re in a dynasty league, be patient. But his being a healthy scratch in the season opener is cause for concern in shallower leagues.

3) Vadim Shipachyov, Las Vegas: You can safely drop him in all formats while he’s in the minors. 40% ownership is way too high for this guy. Until he starts scoring points in the NHL he should not be on your roster.

4) Ryan Strome, Edmonton: If you drafted him because you thought he might play with Connor McDavid, he’s not. If he stays as the Oilers 3rd line center, his production will only warrant deep league consideration.

5) Steve Mason, Winnipeg: It has been a terrible start to his tenure in Manitoba. Mason is a goalie known to run hot and cold. When he’s on a hot streak he’s worth adding in all formats. When he’s cold (as he is so far), he’s not ownable in shallower leagues.