Here are the worst NHL contracts of 2009. This list was compiled in 2017 based on their performance during the 2008/09 season. Free agents signed that summer are eligible for next year’s list, so everyone nominated here has played at least 1 full season under the contract. There is preference given to contracts with more term remaining.
1) Chris Drury, NYR, 3 more yrs @ $7M AAV: He followed up his 58-point season with a 56-point season. Was he the highest paid player with a point total in the 50’s? No, that honour went to teammate Scott Gomez, but Drury was 2nd, paid $800K more than Ryan Smyth.
2) Scott Gomez, NYR, 5 more yrs @ $7.3M AAV: For the 1st year of his mega contract, Gomez was pretty good. Then in 2009 he fell back to 58 PTS, which is not an acceptable total for a player with this price tag.
3) JS Giguere, ANA, 2 more yrs @ $6M AAV: Old JS ain’t what he used to be, and nobody wants to pay $6M for 19 wins, a 3.10 GAA, and a .900 SV%. Anaheim is probably stuck with him, because nobody would be dumb enough to trade for that contract....
4) Daniel Briere, PHI, 6 more yrs @ $6.5M AAV: He was close to a point per game when healthy, but that was the problem. He suffered an abdominal injury and a series of groin pulls. He was eligible for an injury exemption, but often groin pulls in non-goalies can be a signal of poor conditioning.
5) Cristobal Huet, CHI, 3 more yrs at $5.2M AAV: Playing second fiddle to Khabibulin, Huet won 20 games, with a 2.53 GAA and .909 SV%. Khaby started most of the team’s playoff games, leaving the Hawks spending $5.2M on a back-up goalie.
6) Nick Schultz, MIN, 5 more yrs at $3.5M AAV: His production fell from 15 PTS to 11 PTS in 2009, probably was the worst year of his young career.
7) Brian Rolston, NJ, 3 more yrs at $5.1M AAV: His production fell from 59 PTS in 81 GP to 32 PTS in 64 GP in 2009. That’s an expensive price tag on a 36-year-old whose production is falling fast.
8) Vesa Toskala, TOR, 2 more yrs @ $4M AAV: Welcome to Toronto! His first season in TO saw him post a 3.26 GAA and.891 SV%, which had to be considerably below expectations. The pressure to deliver on expectations in Leaf Nation can be soul crushing.
9) Jochen Hecht, BUF, 3 more yrs @ $3.5M AAV: He is over 30 years and has seen his production drop from 49 PTS to 27 PTS. The decline has begun, and he is locked into a rich contract for 3 more years.
10) Jonathan Cheechoo, SJ, 2 more yrs @ $3M AAV: The fall continues. He has gone from 56 goals, to 37 goals, to 23 goals, to 12 goals over 4 seasons. It is bad, really, really bad. I won’t speculate as to what happened to him, but it wasn’t good.
11) Jay Pandolfo, NJ, 2 more yrs @ $2.5M AAV: At age 33 he dropped all the way down to 10 PTS in 61 GP, even had a 45% Corsi if you’re into the analytics. He got old immediately after signing this contract.
12) Rostislav Olesz, 5 more yrs @ $3.1M AAV: He could have been given an injury exemption for 2009, except that he was terrible in the 37 games that he did play, scoring just 9 PTS.
13) Scott Hannan, COL, 2 more yrs @ $4.5M AAV: He made very little contribution to success (or lack thereof) on a team that sucked.
14) Michael Nylander, WSH, 2 more yrs @ $4.9M AAV: His PTS per game took a deep nose dive at age 35, scoring just 33 PTS. Ice time declined to 14m per game avg.
15) Georges Laraques, MTL, 2 more yrs @ $1.5M AAV: Not much value here anymore at age 31. Scored 2 PTS in 33 GP with a -6 and 61 PIMs. He’s done.
Honourable Mentions: Ryan Whitney, Ryan Smyth, Colin White, Sam Pahlson Rick DiPietro (Injury exemption), Jeff Finger, Marco Sturm, Robyn Regehr, Sean Avery, Tom Poti