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.

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