Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Washington Capitals 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Washington Capitals 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- Alex Ovechkin, Jan 10, 2008, 13 years $124M: Signed by George McPhee. This is hardly a bargain, but he’s already scored 400 goals over its span, so that’s a win. As the salary cap has gone up, the AAV has become more reasonable. He’ll go down as one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history. Any team would love to have this contract, even at age 30.

2- John Carlson, Sep 15 2012, 6 years $23.8M: Signed by George McPhee. They overpaid in years one and two, but since then he’s been a bargain reaching 55 PTS in a season. He’s going to be tough for the team to re-sign under the cap. Given that he’s been playing at a discount for a few years (like Kyle Turris) he may demand a significant pay raise this summer.

3- Nicklas Backstrom, May 17 2010, 10 years $67M: Signed by George McPhee. This one was a bit pricey when he was 22 years old, but since the cap has grown he has become a bargain. He’s scored 470 PTS in 488 GP. He’ll be over 30 when he signs his next contract, and that’s when I would say buyer beware.

4- Evgeny Kuznetsov, July 6 2015, 2 years $6M: Signed by Brian MacLellan. This was a great bridge deal for Washington and produced 136 PTS in 164 GP. Unfortunately, he’ll get substantially more expensive on his next contract.

5- Braden Holtby, July 24 2015, 5 years $30.5M: Signed by Brian MacLellan. Some people might argue that he doesn’t belong on this list due to playoff performance. That could be a valid argument, but he won a Vezina Trophy on this contract, and in my books, that’s always a win.

6- Brooks Laich, July 9 2008, 3 years $6.2M: Signed by George McPhee. They got 162 PTS and 614 shots in 242 GP for a very cheap price. Scroll down to the worst contracts list to see his next deal.

7- Troy Brouwer, Sep 12 2012, 3 years $11M: Signed by George McPhee. He scored 125 PTS in 246 GP, including 616 hits and 45 power play PTS. He turned 31 on his next contract, which is starting to look bad for the Flames.

8- Tomas Fleishmann, Feb 13 2008, 2 years $1.5M: Signed by George McPhee. They got 88 PTS from this contract, which is a bargain price even after accounting for cap inflation. He had 23 goals, 51 PTS in 69 games in year two.

9- Dainius Zubrus, Aug 18 2005, 2 years $3.7M: Signed by George McPhee. Another veteran squeezed into a team friendly deal coming out of the lockout. He scored 117 PTS, which is still a bargain after adjusting for cap inflation.

10- Eric Fehr, Apr 24 2013, 2 years $3M: Signed by George McPhee. Getting 64 PTS for $3M is good value. He also chipped in 165 hits. His next contract gets a little more dicey.

WORST

1- TJ Oshie, June 23 2017, 8 years $46M: Signed by Brian MacLellan. TJ is still good. The problem is he’s already 30 years old in just the first year of this contract. It may be too soon to put him on a “worst contracts list”, but talk to me in 2023 and he’s 35 with three years remaining.

2- Brooks Orpik, July 1 2014, 5 years $27.5M: Signed by Brian MacLellan. They paid way too much to steal a player from their number one rival. This hasn’t translated to playoff success for Washington. It didn’t exactly hurt the Penguins to lose Orpik as they’ve won 2 Stanley Cups since he left. Addition by subtraction, some might argue.

3- Brooks Laich, June 28 2011, 6 years $27M: Signed by George McPhee. He was effective in year one with 41 PTS, he missed most of the lockout shortened season with a groin injury, in year three he turned 30, and by year five he was playing exclusively in the AHL. That’s how it goes sometimes.

4- Michael Nylander, July 2 2007, 4 years $19.5M: Signed by George McPhee. He dropped to 33 PTS in 72 GP by year two and by year three was demoted to the AHL where he would finish this contract. Never played NHL games again.

5- Tom Poti, July 1 2007, 4 years $14M: Signed by George McPhee. He was 30 years old when he signed this contract and immediately experienced a large decline in point production, which is tough when he’s expected to be a point producer. When accounting for cap inflation, that AAV is closer to $5M.

6- Jeff Schultz, July 7 2010, 4 years $11M: Signed by George McPhee. He scored 23 PTS the season before signing this contract then never approached that point total again, eventually being bought out in year three.

7- Brian Pothier, July 1 2006, 4 years $10M: Signed by George McPhee. That AAV is closer to $4M when adjusting for cap inflation. He was decent for the first year of this contract when he averaged 24m per game of ice time, but his production and playing time plummeted after that.

8- Jose Theodore, July 1st 2008, 2 years $9M: Signed by George McPhee. I have to imagine if you asked Capitals fans to recount the Jose Theodore years in Washington, you would not get a pleasant response. His regular seasons were slightly below average, and he started 3 playoff games letting in 11 goals (zero playoff wins). When you account for cap inflation, that AAV is closer to $6M.

9- Roman Hamrlik, July 1st 2011, 2 years $7M: Signed by George McPhee. A multi year contract to a 37-year-old defenseman is a huge risk. He scored 34 PTS the season before signing it, then in year one dropped to 13 PTS, year two he had just 1 point in 16 games.

10- John Erskine, Feb 24 2013, 2 years $3.9M: Signed by George McPhee. Yes, a neck injury did end his career before this contract expired, but it was still too much money to give a big slow defenseman with little offensive upside.

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