Thursday, October 12, 2017

Winnipeg Jets 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Winnipeg Jets 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. There is also some tongue in cheek humour below, but if you can’t spot what it is, I’m not going to tell you.

BEST

1- Dustin Byfuglien, Feb 11 2011, 5 years $26M: This was a huge signing for Winnipeg Jets GM Rick Dudley. He scored 53 PTS the season before signing this contract and hovered around that range for the duration.

2- Ilya Kovalchuk, Oct 8 2005, 5 years $31.9M: Signed by Jets GM Don Waddell. I’ll never forget how dangerous Kovalchuk was in a Winnipeg Jets jersey. He surpassed 50 goals twice and 40 goals 3 times in those 5 years in Winnipeg.

3- Mark Scheifele, July 8 2016, 8 years $49M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. $6.1M AAV may not feel like a bargain, but 82 PTS from a 23 year old in year one is exciting. At 8 years they will get to keep him at a relatively cheap price right through his prime. That’s an A.

4- Blake Wheeler, July 26 2013, 6 years $33.6M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. Through 4 years Wheeler has not scored less than 61 PTS and reached as high as 78. Solid numbers for under $6M AAV.

5- Bryan Little, July 22 2013, 5 years $23.5M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He’s been playing in Winnipeg ever since his career began and is up to 205 PTS in 268 GP on this contract with a year left.

6- Andrew Ladd, July 5 2011, 5 years $22M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He scored 258 PTS in 367 GP, with 980 shots and 695 hits. He got ridiculously overpaid on his next contract as a UFA, but provided great value for Winnipeg at $4.4M AAV.

7- Blake Wheeler, July 15 2011, 2 years $5.1M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He scored 105 PTS for $5.1M. That’s a win.  He got his AAV more than doubled on his next contract.

8- Bryan Little, Aug 24, 2010, 3 years $7.1M: Signed by Jets GM Rick Dudley. This was perhaps a better bargain than Little’s 5-year contract, but the other ranks higher up the list because he had greater production in those seasons.

9- Jacob Trouba, Nov 7 2016, 2 years $6M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. There was some hard ball required to squeeze Trouba into this contract. They could get a decent return if they traded him, and eventually that will probably become necessary as I suspect he’ll bolt at first chance as a UFA.

10- Maxim Afinogenov, Sept 29 2009, 1 year $800K: Signed by Jets GM Don Waddell. He scored 61 PTS that season in Winnipeg. That was a real bargain for the Jets.

WORST

1- Zach Bogosian, July 29 2013, 7 years $36M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. The Jets rushed Bogosian into the NHL and wound up giving him an expensive extension at age 23. In the first four years of this contract he hasn’t played more than 64 games. Hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He also had problems staying healthy before this contract, so the Jets got what they paid for.

2- Ron Hainsey, July 2 2008, 6 years $22.5M: Signed by Jets GM Don Waddell. This was just way too much money for what Hainsey provides and was not a solid investment for the Jets organization.

3- Ondrej Pavelec, June 25 2012, 5 years $19.5M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He had one good season under this contract with 50 GP and 2.28 GAA, 0.920 SV%. His 2nd best of those 5 seasons had a 2.78 GAA and .904 SV%. He was not an elite starting goalie and made too much money at the position for the team to bring in a legit veteran starter.

4- Bobby Holik, Aug 2 2005, 3 years $12.75M: When you account for salary cap inflation that AAV is nearly $8M in 2017 numbers. Not a great investment for Jets GM Don Waddell. That’s a bit expensive for an average of 32 PTS. I will always fondly remember Holik’s days in Winnipeg but not every does.

5- Mark Stuart, Mar 5 2014, 4 years 10.5M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He got worse each year under this contract before being bought out. He’s currently playing in Germany.

6- Niclas Havelid, Jun 7 2006, 3 years $8.1M: Signed by Jets GM Don Waddell. That’s a bit pricey for 54 PTS over 3 seasons, with an AAV closer to $4.5M after adjusting for cap inflation. Not the worst contract ever, but a solid D-.

7- Grant Clitsome, July 3 2013, 3 years $6.2M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He scored 12 PTS in 32 GP in year one and had played 24 games with 4 PTS before a back injury ended his career. While there may be an injury asterix on this one, he was also at his lowest career points per game at the time of the injury.

8- Jim Slater, June 23 2012, 3 years $4.8M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. He scored 21 PTS the season before signing this contract, then proceeded to score 17 PTS in 135 GP over 3 seasons.

9- Shawn Matthias, July 1 2016, 2 years $4.2M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. In year one he had 12 PTS in 45 GP, which is not what the Jets were hoping for when they signed him.

10- Randy Jones, July 2, 2011, 1 year $1.2M: Signed by Kevin Cheveldayoff. You’d be forgiven if you’ve forgotten the Randy Jones era in Winnipeg. 39 GP, 2 PTS and he hasn’t played a single NHL game since.

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