Thursday, December 7, 2017

10 Best/Worst NHL Goalie Contracts in the Salary Cap Era

Which NHL goalies have signed the best and worst contracts since the salary cap was introduced in 2005?


1) Martin Brodeur, Jan 27 2006, 6 years $31.2M: Signed by Lou Lamoriello. He won a pair of Vezina trophies on this contract. The last two years were unspectacular, but you can live with that after 2 Vezinas. He put up a .915 SV% and 2.28 GAA over the 6 seasons.

2) Mikka Kiprusoff, Aug 13 2005, 3 years $10M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. He won a Vezina in year one at a bargain price. Averaged 40 wins per season, did start to decline in year three when he was over-30 years old. Still, he earned the whole $10M in year one with a .923 SV% and 2.07 GAA.

3) Carey Price, July 2 2012, 6 years $39M: Signed by Marc Bergevin. He won a Vezina and league MVP on this contract. Those are worth whatever you paid for them. Thus far he’s averaged a .925 SV%.

4) Jonathan Quick, Oct 23 2009, 3 years $5.4M: He won a Stanley Cup and was the playoff MVP. Bargain. Also posted a .919 SV% and 2.16 GAA in the regular season.

5) Henrik Lundqvist, Feb 14 2008, 6 years $41.25M: Signed by Glen Sather. This may not be a “bargain”, but he was one of the best goalies in the league over the span of this contract, winning the Vezina trophy in 2012. Almost every team in the league would have happily traded whoever their goalie was to acquire this contract.

6) Tim Thomas, Apr 3 2009, 4 years $20M: Signed by Peter Chiarelli. Thomas produced a Stanley Cup, a playoff MVP, and a Vezina trophy on this contract. That’s worth whatever you paid even if he sat out the last year.

7) Sergei Bobrovsky, Jan 11 2015, 4 years $29.7M: Signed by Jarmo Kekalainen. It’s hard to say that a contract with a $7.4M AAV is a bargain, but considering he won the Vezina trophy in year two, with a .931 SV% and 2.06 GAA.

8) Matt Murray, Oct 20 2016, 3 years $11.2M: Signed by Jim Rutherford. This kid won 2 Stanley Cups on his entry level contract. I don’t think any goalie in the salary cap era has managed to do that as the starter. Staying healthy seems to be a bit of a problem with this guy.

9) 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 in year one, and in my books, that’s always a win. He’s earning that money in the regular season with a .923 SV% and 2.14 GAA over the first 2 years.

10) Martin Jones, July 1 2015, 3 years $9M: They took a gamble on a guy who had mostly just been a really good back-up goalie and got a legit #1 who took them to a Stanley Cup final. Not bad.


1)  Ilya Bryzgalov, June 23 2011, 9 years $51M: Signed by Paul Holmgren. He played 110 games for Philly before being bought out after year two. Don’t feel bad for Ilya though, he’ll be collecting $1.6M per year until 2027. Human beings will probably set foot on Mars before Ilya’s Flyers cheques stop coming…

2) Nikolai Khabibulin, Aug 5 2005, 4 years $27M: Signed by Dale Tallon. Do the Blackhawks get Patrick Kane if they don’t sign Khabibulin? I’m not sure you change anything with the time machine. In 4 seasons he averaged a .904 SV% and 2.81 GAA.

3) Cristobal Huet, July 1st 2008, 4 years $22.5M: Signed by Dale Tallon. He finished this contract being loaned to Europe for salary cap circumvention purposes. Had a .902 SV% in the 2 seasons he played in Chicago.

4) Marc Denis, July 5 2006, 3 years $8.6M: Signed by Jay Feester. His best season had a 3.19 GAA and 0.883 SV%. He finished this contract in the AHL before being bought out. It’s even worse considering the size of the cap in 2006. This was an awful waste of money.

5) Anti Niemi, June 29 2015, 3 years $13.5M: Signed by Jim Nill. Niemi was never a good player for the Dallas Stars. His numbers significantly declined almost the moment he arrived. This contract was bought out after year two.

6) Rick Dipietro, Sep 12 2006, 15 years $67.5M: It could be argued that this contract is only bad because DiPietro could not stay healthy. At the same time, he had a 3.00 GAA and .900 SV% the year before signing this, so there were clues he wasn’t that good. He was eventually bought out after posting a .904 SV% over 7 seasons, but don’t feel bad for Ricky…he’ll be getting $1.5M per year from the Islanders until 2029. Humans will be flying around in starships, he’ll still be cashing Islanders pay cheques.

7) Vesa Toskala, July 4 2007, 2 years $8M: Signed by John Ferguson jr, traded away by Brian Burke with another bad contract for another bad contract (JS Giguere). Toskala was awful after signing this contract. In his last season in Toronto before being traded he had a 3.66 GAA and .874 SV% in 26 GP.

8) Dan Cloutier, Sep 27 2006, 2 years $6M: He played more AHL than NHL games on this contract. That’s way too much money for an .887 SV% and 3.44 GAA.

9) 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. That’s not what the Avalanche are paying for.

10) Roberto Luongo, Sep 2 2009, 12 years $64M: Signed by Mike Gillis. This contract sucks. That’s how Roberto Luongo himself described it. The part that still stings for Vancouver is they traded him away to Florida and are still paying a chunk of his salary. Lou is aging well and is a bargain for Florida, but is another tombstone in Vancouver’s goalie graveyard. I do need to point out, Luongo posted by far the best numbers during his “bad” contract than any other goalie on this list with a .920 SV%. Where this one gets bad is that he's 37-years-old and still has 5 more years left. There's something called the "cap recapture penalty" that's going to sting if he retires early.

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