There are some very bad contracts around the NHL. Here’s a look at every team’s worst deal as the 2019-20 season slowly approaches.
In most professional sports, bad contracts aren’t the end of the world. You can just trade them, hide them in the minors, or they’ll be gone in about four or five years anyway. If worst comes to worst, you can always just buy them out. It’s not that easy in the NHL.
As the only one of the four major sports with a hard salary cap ceiling that isn’t skyrocketing every year, bad deals can ruin you in hockey. Unlike the NFL, which also has a hard cap, unless you buy out a player, their deal is still guaranteed. You can hide them in the minors, but that only gives you minimal relief.
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Bad deals in the NHL can cost teams for years. Not just in terms of money. It could also make them get rid of players because they can’t afford them because they have to give some third-pairing defenseman $6 million. And unless that player on a bad deal suddenly become allergic to hockey equipment, you’re stuck with them. Unless you can find a bad general manager to take on your mistake.
For this exercise, I took a look at a player’s production, their likely career trajectory, age, market value, and any no-movement clauses or no-trade clauses. Signing bonuses don’t really matter to me because you’ve got to pay players one way or another. A signing bonus just makes you do it a little bit earlier. Since owners are very wealthy, I don’t think that’s an issue.
I’ve already taken a look at the best contracts. If you prefer happy things, that’s the article for you. For the rest of you misery-loving hockey fans, here’s each team’s worst contract entering the 2019-20 season.