Saturday, October 28, 2017

New Jersey Devils 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the New Jersey Devils 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. Lou Lamoriello seems to love giving long-term contracts to players over the age of 30. Lou signed some terrible contracts over his last 3 seasons in New Jersey.

BEST

1- Martin Brodeur, Jan 27 2006, 6 years $31.2M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He won a pair of Vezina trophies on this contract. It could have been for 6 years $300M and still be worthwhile (except for the fact that would not fit under the salary cap).

2- Zach Parise, Aug 1 2007, 4 years $12.5M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. In 257 GP he scored 247 PTS. That AAV was closer to $4.5M when accounting for cap inflation, but that is still a tremendous bargain for what Parise provided.

3- Brian Gionta, Sep 21 2005, 1 year $627K: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He scored 89 PTS for under $1M AAV. In the entire salary cap era, that’s the most PTS anyone scored for under $1M on a non-entry level contract. If you’re curious #2 was Andrew Brunette in 2007.

4- Adam Henrique, Aug 27 2013, 6 years $24M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He has already scored 176 PTS in 314 GP with 2 seasons left to play. This was contract that paid off for New Jersey.

5- Travis Zajac, July 22 2009, 4 years $15.6M: He scored a career high 67 PTS in year one at age 24. A great value contract for a 2-way player who can play in all situations and wins face-offs.

6- Adam Larsson, July 26 2015, 6 years $25M: Signed by Ray Shero. It would be very curious to see what Larsson would command if he hit the UFA market tomorrow. He’s not a big point producer, earning most of his money in the defensive zone. New Jersey traded this contract to Edmonton for Taylor Hall.

7- Lee Stempniak, Oct 3 2015, 1 year $850K: Signed by Ray Shero. Anytime you can get over 50 PTS for under $1M AAV, that’s a bargain. He came 1 shy of tying his career high in PTS at age 32. That’s uncommon.

8- David Clarkson, July 1 2010, 3 years $8M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. In year two he hit his career best season with 30 goals and 46 PTS at age 27. His next contract is going to be on the all-time terrible list, but for these 3 seasons he was good.

9- Jamie Langenbrunner, July 1 2006, 5 years $14M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. You won’t see many 5-year contracts given to players over the age of 30 appear on one of my “best contracts” lists. Langenbrunner happened to be a player who aged well and hit a career high 69 PTS at age 33.

10- Andy Greene, July 1 2009, 2 years $1.4M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. In year one he scored a career high 37 PTS, scoring 60 PTS total on this contract. Great price for that production.

WORST

1- Ilya Kovalchuk, Sep 3 2010, 15 years $100M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He was good for his 3 years in New Jersey, but bolted back to the KHL at age 29. This contract could have been a lot worse, but since he retired so early in the contract, the cap recapture penalty was relatively small. I guess the people who made the formula to punish this contract had not anticipated early retirement.

2- Travis Zajac, Jan 16 2013, 8 years $46M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. Halfway through this contract he has been unable to pass the 50-point barrier. Now he’s 32 years old with 4 years left, declining production, and can't stay healthy. That’s way too much money for what he’s been providing.

3- Anton Volchenkov, July 1 2010, 6 years $25.5M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He played 4 seasons before being bought out. He was never brought in to score PTS, but had dropped down to just 16m per game in the final season. That’s too much money for that many minutes.

4- Andy Greene, July 30 2014, 5 years $25M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. A 5-year contract to a 32-year-old often turns out badly. His offensive production has mostly dried up.

5- Mike Cammalleri, 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.

6- Ryane Clowe, July 5 2013, 5 years $24.3M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. Injuries deprived us of the chance to see how bad Clowe could get in his mid-30s. They gave a 5-year contract to a 30-year-old player with some hard miles on his odometer. Injury or no injury that’s almost always a bad idea.

7- Brian Rolston, July 1 2008, 4 years $20.3M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He scored 59 PTS at age 34 before signing this contract. Lou gave him a 4-year deal and he did not even breach 40 PTS in those 4 seasons. By age 38 he scored just 24 PTS in 70 GP, the last season of his NHL career. With cap inflation that AAV is closer to $6.5M.

8- Patrick Elias, July 4 2013, 3 years $16.5M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. A 3-year deal to a 37-year-old player is a huge risk, and it did not work out well for Jersey. Elias was more productive in his mid-30s than we see in many players, but dropped off at 38 and 39. He had just 42 PTS in 85 GP over the last 2 seasons.

9- Bryce Salvador, July 3 2012, 3 years $9.5M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. A 3-year deal for a 36-year-old player, what’s the worst that can happen? Salvador could not stay healthy and managed just 95 GP, 8 PTS, and -19 over those 3 seasons.


10- Dainius Zubrus, July 1 2013, 3 years $9.3M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. A 3-year deal to a 35-year-old player. He scored just 10 PTS in 74 GP in year two before being bought out.

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