Each NHL team’s worst contract heading into the 2019-20 season

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Anaheim Ducks – Ryan Kesler

Contract: $6.875 million cap hit over three years; NMC for the next two seasons, modified NTC for the third season.

When the Anaheim Ducks signed Ryan Kesler, they signed the deal knowing it probably wasn’t going to end well. The Ducks were hoping they would win a Stanley Cup in his early years, which would distract everyone from his long-term deal. They did not win a Stanley Cup and their optimism that Kesler would be good in his early years was misguided.

The first season (2016-17) of his deal actually went well. Kesler had 58 points, his most productive season since the 2010-11 season with the Vancouver Canucks. Since then, his production has fallen off a cliff, mostly due to injuries and old age.

  • 2017-18: 44 games, 14 points
  • 2018-19: 60 games, 8 points

There’s a good chance Kesler won’t play during the 2019-20 season. It’s plausible he will never play another game in the NHL. You could argue the Ducks can put him on the long-term injured reserve list so his cap hit magically disappears during the season. And you might be right. But what does it say about his contract if him not playing might be a good thing for the team?

Dishonorable mentions: Cam Fowler has been awful since signing his long-term deal. That said, I’m not sold he’s done quite yet. Very few players did well in Randy Carlyle’s system. It wouldn’t surprise me if new head coach Dallas Eakins helps Fowler bounce back.

Patrick Eaves has only played nine games since signing his big deal, but to be fair, it’s largely because he has a serious health condition. It’s hard to blame the Ducks either, as they didn’t know about it before he signed.

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