Friday, November 3, 2017

Phoenix Coyotes 10 Best/Worst Contracts of Salary Cap Era

What are the Phoenix Coyotes 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- Oliver Ekmanlarsson, Mar 15 2013, 6 years $33M: Signed by Don Maloney. He is such a good defenseman on such a bad team. He’s averaged around 25 minutes of ice time per game and twice eclipsed 220 shots on goal in a season. Year three produced his best individual season at 55 PTS.

2- Mike Smith, July 1 2011, 2 years $4M: Signed by Don Maloney. This contract included a run to the Conference finals. These might have been the best two seasons of Mike Smith’s career. Way to capture “Peak Smith” at a bargain price. Scroll down to see his next contract.

3- Ilya Bryzgalov, Jan 22 2008, 3 years $12.8M: Signed by Don Maloney. Over the last 2 seasons of this contract, Bryz had a win-loss record of 78-40. Anytime you get a winning % that high for that price, it must be considered a bargain. He was good. His next contract however, is on the all-time terrible contracts list.

4- Keith Yandle, July 17 2009, 2 years $2.4M: Signed by Don Maloney. He scored 30 PTS in 69 GP in the last year of his entry level before signing this contract. He jumped up to 41 PTS in year one and 59 PTS in year two. That’s a bargain at that price.

5- Martin Hanzal, Oct 8 2011, 5 years $15.5M: Signed by Don Maloney. He ran into some injury issues on this contract but still managed to produce 167 PTS in 276 GP with 657 shots, 676 hits, and 4755 face-off wins. That’s good.

6- Radim Vrbata, July 1 2011, 3 years $9M: Signed by Don Maloney. In year one of this contract he jumped up to 35 goals and 62 PTS, finishing with 141 PTS in 191 GP. He earned his $9M with that production.

7- Ray Whitney, July 1 2010, 2 years $6M: Signed by Don Maloney. Ray put up 77 PTS in year two at 39 years old. He’s on the list of best performing assets over age 35 in the modern NHL.

8- Radim Vrbata, Aug 16 2016, 1 year $3.3M: Signed by John Chayka. This was signed as $1M base salary and $2.3M in bonuses. He hit all his bonus clauses with 81 GP, 20 goals, 55 PTS. Good season at a fair price.

9- Eric Belanger, Sep 14 2010, 1 year $750K: Signed by Don Maloney. That’s a great price for 40 PTS. This season earned him a big UFA deal with Edmonton that ended in a buyout. For 2010/11 at least, he was good.

10- Martin Hanzal, Sep 10 2010, 2 years $3.6M: Signed by Don Maloney. That’s a good price for 60 PTS. He also contributed 386 hits and over 1000 face off wins.

WORST

1- Mike Smith, June 30 2013, 6 years $34M: Signed by Don Maloney. In years two, three, four of this contract he had 48 wins, 81 loses, 2.95 GAA, .910 SV%, and zero playoff games. That’s not elite goaltending. Perhaps you can blame it on the team, but there were still some good defensemen playing in front of him. He was shipped of to Calgary with 2 years remaining.

2- Ed Jovanovski, July 1 2006, 5 years $32.5M: Signed by Mike Barnett. He was a good defenseman for the first half of this contract, but declined significantly towards the end. His average ice time shrank each year, which is not unexpected on a 5-year deal given to a 30-year-old player. Remember that adjusting for cap inflation that AAV is closer to $10.7M.

3- Alex Goligoski, June 21 2016, 5 years $27.4M: Signed by John Chayka. It may be a bit soon to put this contract here, but they gave a 5-year deal to a 31-year-old defenseman. That often turns out badly, especially when their value is attached to offensive production.

4- Mike Ribeiro, July 5 2013, 4 years $22M: Signed by Don Maloney. He played 1 season scoring 47 PTS and was bought out. What had to happen for a team bleeding money to buy out an expensive contract getting nothing in return? There were some shenanigans in his personal life.

5- Shane Doan, Sep 15 2012, 4 years $21.2M: Signed by Don Maloney. A 4-year deal for a 34-year-old player is a big risk. He scored 157 PTS in 268 GP, which isn’t terrible, but at that price is still expensive.

6- Jamie McGinn, July 1 2016, 3 years $10M: Signed by John Chayka. He had a career year with 39 PTS in 84 GP the season before signing this contract. The Coyotes paid him a good wage to score 17 PTS in 72 GP in year one, then shipped him to Florida for Jason Demers.

7- Nick Boynton, June 28 2006, 3 years $8.9M: Signed by Mike Barnett. The only thing he was good at in Phoenix was taking penalties. That AAV is closer to $5M when accounting for salary cap inflation.

8- Wojtek Wolski, June 24 2010, 2 years $7.6M: Signed by Don Maloney. The Coyotes picked a bad time to invest in the 24-year-old Wolski, who saw his production fall by almost half in year one. They managed to trade him to the Rangers for a 3rd round pick before the bottom really fell out, which was a smart move.

9- Antoine Vermette, July 1 2015, 2 years $7.5M: Signed by Don Maloney. The Coyotes bought out this contract after just one season, and that never made sense to me. Vermette was just as good in 2015/16 as he was in 2014/15, maybe even better. There may be more to this story that we didn’t hear.

10- Zbynek Michalek, July 1 2015, 2 years $6.2M: Signed by Don Maloney. That’s a bit pricey for 7 PTS in 73 GP. There was an injury in there to consider, but he still wasn’t much good when he was healthy.

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