Saturday, October 28, 2017

Minnesota Wild 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Minnesota Wild 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 over-payment.

BEST

1- Devan Dubnyk, June 27 2015, 6 years $26M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. They locked him in at a good price after 39 solid games in Minnesota with a win-loss record of 27-9. He’s been in the Vezina conversation for the first 2 years of this contract.

2- Charlie Coyle, Oct 23 2014, 5 years $16M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 35 PTS in 82 GP the season before signing this contract. In year one he jumped up to 42 PTS in 82 GP. In year two climbed further up to 56 PTS in 82 GP. Now he’s 25 years old with 3 seasons left at a fantastic price.

3- Mikko Koivu. June 30 2007, 4 years $13M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. Of the 12 seasons that Koivu has played in his career, his 3 highest point totals were under this contract. In 287 GP he scored 242 PTS.

4- Nino Niederreiter, Sep 20 2014, 3 years $8M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He got better each season under this contract including 57 PTS in 82 GP in year three. Solid value.

5- Mikael Granlund, July 1 2015, 2 years $6M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. That’s a good price for 113 PTS, including 69 PTS in year two.

6- Brent Burns, Oct 25 2007, 4 years $14.2M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. 267 GP and 130 PTS. Burns did not elevate into elite status until he was 29 years old, but he was still hovering around the 40-point mark during this contract, which for a defenseman is very good.

7- Eric Staal, July 1 2016, 3 years $10.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. They took a risk on a 31-year-old player coming off a full season with 39 PTS, and it paid off. Staal scored an impressive 65 PTS in year one, which was his highest point total since 2012.

8- Brent Burns, July 8 2006, 2 years $1.7M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. He scored 68 PTS on an inexpensive bridge deal. Year two produced 43 PTS in 82 GP at age 22.

9- Jason Zucker, June 29 2016, 2 years $4M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 47 PTS in year one and is off to a great start in year two. The next contract might be tough.

10- Kyle Brodziak, July 23 2009, 3 years $3.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. In his 12-year career, his 3 best seasons all came under this contract totalling 113 PTS in 244 GP. Scroll down to see his next contract though…

WORST

1- Zach Parise, July 4 2012, 13 years $98M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He’s now 33 years old with 8 years remaining and has seen his production decline each season since turning 30. Every year he gets older, this contract looks worse and worse. The team can expect a massive cap recapture penalty at the end of this contract, unless they find a cheap excuse to put him on Long-Term Injured Reserve and avoid the penalty. After these Hossa shenanigans, I’m not sure these “future cap recapture penalty” contracts belong on worst contracts lists anymore. Bowman found a loophole.

2- Ryan Suter, July 4 2012, 13 years $98M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He’s currently 32 years old but we have yet to see any age-related production decline. In fact, he scored a career high 51 PTS at age 30. Through the first 5 seasons this has not been a bad contract. It’s on this list because he’s got 8 years left over-30. He’ll probably retire before it expires, at which time Minnesota will get hit with a massive cap recapture penalty. Granted they’ll probably find a stupid excuse to put him on LTIR and avoid the penalty, in which case this contract maybe shouldn’t even be on this list…

3- Martin Havlat, July 1 2009, 6 years $30M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He was good for the first 2 seasons under this contract, then hit a wall at age 30 and was eventually bought out.

4- Jason Pominville, Oct 3 2013, 5 years $28M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He’s been decent, but they didn’t pay for decent. These are the pitfalls of giving a 5-year contract to a 31-year-old player. His first 3 seasons have been the three of the worst seasons of his career.

5- Thomas Vanek, July 1 2014, 3 years $19.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 41 PTS in 74 GP in year two at age 31 before being bought out.

6- Mark Parrish, July 1 2006, 5 years $13.3M: Signed by Doug Risebrough. He played 2 seasons with mediocre production before being bought out.

7- Kyle Brodziak, Feb 19 2012, 3 years $8.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. The Wild more than doubled Brodziak’s salary from his previous contract and were rewarded with about half as much production. That’s a bit pricey for 56 PTS in 202 GP.

8- Matt Cooke, July 5 2013, 3 years $7.5M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 38 PTS in 111 GP before being bought out after year two at age 36.

9- Darroll Powe, July 5 2011, 3 years $3.2M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He scored 13 PTS in 125 GP before finishing this contract in the minors.

10- Keith Ballard, July 5 2013, 2 years $3M: Signed by Chuck Fletcher. He averaged around 13m per game of ice and played just 59 games over 2 seasons. His NHL career should have ended before signing this contract. He had little left to offer at this point.

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