Friday, October 27, 2017

New York Islanders 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the New York Islanders 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. All these contracts were signed by Garth Snow.

BEST

1- John Tavares, Sept 14 2011, 6 years $33M: They got an MVP candidate for $5.5M AAV. This was listed on my “15 best contracts in hockey” list for all 6 seasons. 344 GP, 335 PTS with one season remaining.

2- Frans Nielsen, July 19 2008, 4 years $2.1M: It’s rare to see a 4-year contract with an AAV as low as $525K (the only other 4+ yr deals I can see with AAV under $1M are Brett Lebda and Andrew MacDonald). He played 288 games and scored 162 PTS for a tremendously low-price tag.

3- Kyle Okposo, May 26 2011, 5 years $14M: 337 GP and 253 PTS. This one made multiple appearances on my annual best 15 contracts in the NHL list.

4- Matt Moulson, Jan 27 2011, 3 years $9.4M: That’s a good price for 164 PTS. He had his career year of 36 goals, 69 PTS in year one. His next contract can be found on the Buffalo Sabres worst contracts list.

5- Andrew MacDonald, Feb 25 2010, 4 years $2.2M: When I say that 4-year term under $1M AAV is rare, 66% of them have been signed by Garth Snow. I’m not sure why an agent would want to lock in his client that low for that long. I don’t think MacDonald is a great player, but getting 265 GP for a defenseman averaging almost 24 minutes of ice time per game is a steal.

6- Frans Nielsen, Feb 6 2012, 4 years $11M: That’s a great price for 287 GP, 182 PTS, 598 shots, 68 power play PTS, 9 short handed PTS, and 1894 face off wins. A versatile player who can play in all situations.

7- Anders Lee, June 30 2015, 4 years $15M: Halfway through this contract he already has 95 PTS on the board, and he keeps getting better.

8- Blake Comeau, Aug 3 2009, 2 years $1.3M: That’s not bad for 81 PTS. Is there a trick to how Garth Snow gets these guys to sign multiple years close to the league minimum? If I were a player agent I’d have the policy; if the AAV is under $1M, the max term I’d accept is one year, unless I believed my client sucks and is going to be a bust.

9- Mark Streit, July 1 2008, 4 years $20.5M: He did miss an entire season with injury but was a 45+ point player for the other years. Even adjusting for cap inflation, that’s a good price for that level of point production from the blueline.

10- PA Parenteau, July 2 2010, 1 year 600K: Anytime you can get 53 PTS for $600K, that’s a win. He followed this up with a 67-point season for $1.2M that would have qualified as the team’s 11th best salary cap era contract.


WORST

1- Rick Dipietro, Sep 12 2006, 15 years $67.5M: It could be argued that this contract is only bad because DiPietro could not stay healthy. At the same time, he had a 3.00 GAA and .900 SV% the year before signing this. He was eventually bought out, but don’t feel bad for Ricky…he’ll be getting $1.5M per year from the Islanders until 2029. Humans will be flying around in starships, he’ll still be cashing Islanders pay cheques.

2- Johnny Boychuck, Mar 12 2015, 7 years $42M: He had a career year of 35 PTS before signing this contract and immediately declined. Now he’s 33 with 5 seasons left. That is not good.

3- Andrew Ladd, July 1 2016, 7 years $38.5M: They gave a 7-year contract to a 30-year-old player coming off a 46-point season. He dropped down to 31 PTS in 78 GP in year one. He’s a good character guy, but it’s awful to see the large point decline happen right away.

4- Mikhail Grabovski, July 2 2014, 4 years $20M: That’s a rich deal to give a 30-year-old player coming off a buyout. He scored 44 PTS in 109 GP before the Islanders were saved by long-term injured reserve.

5- Nikolay Kulemin, July 2 2014, 4 years $16.8M: He scored a career high 56 PTS in 2011 and hasn’t come close to that number since. He scored 20 PTS in 70 GP the season before signing this, so everyone had opportunity to see that his age decline had already started.

6- Trent Hunter, Feb 22 2008, 5 years $10M: He scored 4 PTS in 17 GP in year three before being traded to New Jersey for another bad contract and then bought out.

7- Lubomir Visnovsky, Mar 29 2013, 2 years $9.5M: The Visnovsky experiment in long Island did not go quite as planned. At first he was angry that he was traded to the Islanders and refused to report. He even filed a grievance with the NHLPA, but lost. He was suspended and eventually caved. Then he signed an extension and produced just 77 GP and 31 PTS for $9.5M. 

8- Andy Sutton, Aug 10 2007, 3 years $9M: A 3-year contract for a 32-year-old big slow defenseman will often turn out badly. That AAV is closer to $4.4M after adjusting for cap inflation.

9- Brendan Witt, July 9 2008, 2 years $6M: He scored 5 PTS in 42 GP in year one before being sent to the AHL and eventually bought out.


10- Mark Eaton, July 2 2010, 2 years $5M: That’s a bit pricey for a 32-year-old defenseman who scored 7 PTS in 96 GP. He did block almost 200 shots and was -19.

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