Thursday, November 2, 2017

Colorado Avalanche 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Colorado Avalanche 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- Nathan MacKinnon, July 8 2016, 7 years $44M: Signed by Joe Sakic. Year one of this contract was a bit dissapointing, but by year two he has become a Hart Trophy candidate. This might be the best contract in the NHL right now.

2- Simeon Varlamov, July 2 2011, 3 years $8.5M: Signed by Greg Sherman. He was nominated for the Vezina trophy in year three and was rewarded with a monster contract you can see by scrolling down to the team’s worst contracts list.

3- Gabriel Landeskog, Aug 16 2013, 7 years $39M: Signed by Greg Sherman. As the salary cap continues to grow, this contract becomes more of a bargain. His production has risen in year 4 with the explosion of Nathan MacKinnon.

2- Matt Duchene, June 23 2012, 2 years $7M: Signed by Greg Sherman. So far, these 2 seasons of Matt Duchene’s career have produced the highest points per game of his career at age 21 and 22, where he scored 113 PTS in 118 GP. Then after this he signed a new big contract and his point production took a dive. He was a 41-point player by age 25.

5- Tyson Barrie, Sep 7 2014, 2 years $5.2M: Signed by Greg Sherman. They got 102 PTS from the blueline for $5.2M, that’s a win.

6- John Liles, Aug 18 2005, 1 year $450K: Signed by Pierre Lacroix. If you can get 49 PTS from the blueline for close to the league minimum, you have to take it. He did benefit from a whole bunch of extra power plays that year, but still that production at that price is a bargain.

7- Andrew Brunette, Aug 7 2005, 2 years $1.6M: Signed by Pierre Lacroix. If you can get 146 PTS for $1.6M, that’s a win. He peaked at 83 PTS in 82 GP in year two. That’s fantastic for under $1M AAV.

8- David Jones, July 6 2009, 2 years $1.7M: Signed by Greg Sherman. He scored 61 PTS in 100 GP for under $1M AAV. He only played 23 games due to injury in year one, but came back and scored 27 goals in year two. They rewarded him with a large contract you can see by scrolling down.

9- Erik Johnson, July 3 2012, 4 years $15M: Signed by Greg Sherman. He had some injury problems in year one, but put up a decent 39 PTS in year two. His next contract is going to be a monster and should probably be on the list below, but it’s still a little bit too soon to declare that one a complete failure. Certainly, when his AAV was at $3.75M, that’s a bargain.

10- Wojtek Wolski, July 2 2008, 2 years $5.6M: Signed by Francois Giguere. Colorado really harnessed the last two good seasons of Wojtek Wolski, where he scored 65 PTS in year two. He’s about to drop off a cliff when this contract expires, but for this contract at least, he was good.

Honorable Mentions:

*- Jeff Finger, May 23 2007, 1 year $475K: Signed by Francois Giguere. You may be shocked to see Jeff Finger’s name appear on a best contracts list given his spectacular failure with the Maple Leafs, but he returned decent value around the league minimum. This was the season (72 GP, 19 PTS, +12) that earned him that big contract with Toronto.

*- Andre Benoit, July 5 2013, 1 year $900K: Signed by Greg Sherman. Benoit had one good season in his entire career with 28 PTS, and this was it. Clearly nobody bought the hype though, since his next contract would also be one year but for even less money. Maybe the rest of the league learned a lesson from Jeff Finger.

WORST

1- Ryan Smyth, July 1 2007, 5 years $31.3M: Signed by Francois Giguere. Giving a 5-year contract to a 31-year-old is dangerous. Smyth was okay, but they weren’t paying for “okay”. Adjusting for cap inflation that AAV is closer to $9M.

2- Simeon Varlamov, Jan 30 2014, 5 years $29.5M: Signed by Greg Sherman. He had a career year and a Vezina Trophy nomination the season before signing this contract, and hasn’t been the same since. In year one his GAA was 2.56, year two 2.81, year three 3.38, and currently in year four is at 3.01. That’s not what the Avalanche are paying for. Maybe this contract only sucks because their defense sucks. I'll throw that possibility out there...

3- Carl Soderberg, June 26 2015, 5 years $23.8M: Signed by Joe Sakic. This contract wasn’t looking so bad after a career high 51 PTS in year one. Then suddenly in year two he plummeted all the way down to 14 PTS in 80 GP at 30 years old. That's bad.

4- Scott Hannan, July 1 2007, 4 years $18M: Signed by Francois Giguere. Hannan may have brought some intangibles to the ice that didn't show up on the scoresheet, but that's too expensive for a defenseman who doesn't provide much offense (58 PTS in 322 GP)

5- PA Parenteau, July 1 2012, 4 years $16M: Signed by Greg Sherman. He scored 67 PTS the season before signing this contract at age 29. In year one scored 43 PTS in 48 GP. Year two he scored 33 PTS in 55 GP before being traded to Montreal in the summer for another terrible contract (Daniel Briere). In Montreal in year three he scored just 22 PTS in 55 GP before being bought out.

6- David Jones, June 7 2012, 4 years $16M: Signed by Greg Sherman. He scored 37 PTS in 72 GP before signing this contract, then dropped down to 9 PTS in 33 GP in the lockout shortened season in year one. Colorado then shipped him off to Calgary where he had one good season out of three.

7- Francois Beauchemin, July 1 2015, 3 years $13.5M: Signed by Joe Sakic. In year one he played 25 minutes per game and chipped in with 34 PTS. Year two he played 21.5 minutes per game and dropped down to 18 PTS before the contract was bought out.

8- Brad Stuart, Sep 29 2014, 2 years $7.4M: Signed by Joe Sakic. The Avalanche overpaid (via trade) for a declining asset and then turned around and gave him a 2-year deal at age 35.  He lasted one season before being bought out.

9- Shane O’Brien, June 25 2012, 3 years $6M: Signed by Greg Sherman. They traded him to Calgary after one year with David Jones in an exchange of bad contracts (Tanguay and Sarich). He scored 7 PTS in 73 GP over 2 seasons before being bought out.

10- Darcy Tucker, July 1 2008, 2 years $4.5M:  Signed by Francois Giguere. The Avs signed him at age 33 coming off a buyout in Toronto, and the veteran scored 40 PTS in 134 GP. He was overpaid for how much he played (average 13 minutes per game).

Honourable Mentions:

*- Greg Zanon, July 1 2012, 2 years $4.5M: Signed by Greg Sherman. He played one season in Colorado and scored 6 PTS in 44 GP at age 32 before being bought out. That was the end of his NHL career.

*- Ryan Wilson, June 25 2012, 3 years $6.8M: Signed by Greg Sherman. That’s a lot of money to pay for 9 PTS and 43 GP. Yes, injuries did play a role in his decline, but it was still too much money for this particular player.

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