Now for the really fun article.
I already looked at who made the All-Star Value roster, but what we all really want to know: who has the worst contracts in the NHL? After all, is there a better part to the offseason than being smug and saying “I told you that was a bad idea” to the GM who can’t actually hear you? I’d say no, but then again I’m kind of a jerk.
The methodology behind this valuation can be found here. But if you’re not interested in reading an entire article about stats, Primary P60 per Million (PP60$) measures offensive value, and Weighted Inverted FA60 per Million (InvFA60$) measures defensive value. Because this methodology prefers smaller Average Annual Values (AAVs) most of these guys will have higher salaries.
Just like the All Star roster, there are two rules to make this squad.
- No Entry Level Contracts (though those are unlikely to show up here anyway)
- The players must have played at least 70 games last season.
While you can argue that it’s easy for a contract to be a bust when a skater can’t play the game, I’m not going to penalize guys for things outside of their control. For context, I have 719 players ranked, and the higher the number, the worse they did.
Last, because my methodology doesn’t account for goaltending, feel free to argue over which goalie makes this squad in the comments. My pick is Ryan Miller, though Kari Lehtonen might put up a good fight for that starter spot.
- Cody Hodgson, Sabres –
Overall Rank: #709, PP60$ Rank: #638, InvFA60$ Rank: #719, AAV $4.25
- Shawn Horcoff, Stars –
Overall Rank: #685, PP60$ Rank: #619, InvFA60$ Rank: #693, AAV $5.5m
- Antoine Vermette, Coyotes/Blackhawks –
Overall Rank: #664, PP60$ Rank: #652, InvFA60$ Rank: #593, AAV $3.75m
- Travis Zajac, Devils –
Overall Rank: #653, PP60$ Rank: #590, InvFA60$ Rank: #629, AAV $5.75m
To describe this line up in one word, it’d be “oof.” Or maybe “ouch.”
Or whatever the opposite of the Heart Eyes emoji is. The good news is that there’s hope, at least for Hodgson and Horcoff. The Sabres bought out Hodgson and he signed with the Predators at a much lower rate, and Horcoff is now on a much more reasonable contract with the Ducks.
Vermette and Zajac on the other hand…well, we look forward to seeing them on this list next year.
- Tuomo Ruutu, Devils –
Overall Rank: #715, PP60$ Rank: #677, InvFA60$ Rank: #694, AAV $4.75m
- Nikolay Kulemin, Islanders –
Overall Rank: #637, PP60$ Rank: #461, InvFA60$ Rank: #705, AAV $4.19m
- Bryan Bickell, Blackhawks –
Overall Rank: #628, PP60$ Rank: #491, InvFA60$ Rank: #664, AAV $4m
- Jeff Skinner, Hurricanes –
Overall Rank: #627, PP60$ Rank: #524, InvFA60$ Rank: #630, AAV $5.73m
The only name in this group I find out of place is Jeff Skinner. He had a down year, and just wasn’t able to meet the expectations of his high salary. I do expect him to bounce back this season, but the other guys have a much steeper hill to climb.
Ruutu, 32, is on the last year of his contract, but Kulemin and Bickell have a couple more years at that price. Look for them to make this squad again.
- Chris Stewart, Sabres/Wild –
Overall Rank: #711, PP60$ Rank: #648, InvFA60$ Rank: #713, AAV $4.15
- Drew Stafford, Sabres/Jets –
Overall Rank: #687, PP60$ Rank: #627, InvFA60$ Rank: #689, AAV $4m
- Phil Kessel, Maple Leafs –
Overall Rank: #641, PP60$ Rank: #493, InvFA60$ Rank: #688, AAV $8m
- Dustin Brown, Kings
Overall Rank: #637, PP60$ Rank: #559, InvFA60$ Rank: #607, AAV $5.86
The Sabres strike again, this time with two right wings they traded away at the deadline. Both Stewart and Stafford should have better season this year, as they’re no longer on a tanking team, but while Stewart has dropped to a $1.7m AAV, Stafford was re-signed for even more–$4.35m–which will hamper his climb back into “good value” territory.
Brown was easily the second worst contract for the Kings last year, and will be expected to really step up his game to keep his team relevant.
Kessel’s inclusion on this list is the fault of the overall terrible Leafs’ defense last year. His PP60$ rank is actually better than any other RW here, despite having double the salary. Remember, Toronto retained some of his salary in their trade with Pittsburgh, so he’ll definitely be a great deal for the Pens.
- Dion Phaneuf, Maple Leafs –
Overall Rank: #699, PP60$ Rank: #644, InvFA60$ Rank: #691, AAV $7m
- Tyler Myers, Sabres/Jets –
Overall Rank: #695, PP60$ Rank: #689, InvFA60$ Rank: #634, AAV $5.5m
- Brooks Orpik, Capitals –
Overall Rank: #690, PP60$ Rank: #641, InvFA60$ Rank: #678, AAV $5.5
- Jay Bouwmeester, Blues –
Overall Rank: #672, PP60$ Rank: #640, InvFA60$ Rank: #628, AAV $5.4m
- Jonathan Ericsson, Red Wings –
Overall Rank: #671, PP60$ Rank: #569, InvFA60$ Rank: #698, AAV $4.25m
- Keith Yandle, Coyotes/Rangers –
Overall Rank: #666, PP60$ Rank: #675, InvFA60$ Rank: #578, AAV $5.25m
Phaneuf said, amirite?
Puns aside, there was never any doubt he would top this list. Orpik, whose huge contract was derided from the start, is another no brainer for this squad. Bouwmeester also had a down year, so it’s unsurprising to see him here, though he does have the chance to bounce back this season.
For a team that prides itself on defense, Ericsson sticks out from the Red Wings roster like a sore thumb, putting up a worse InvFA60$ than Phaneuf–who makes almost $3m more.
Myers and Yandle are an interesting additions. Their numbers on each team had one good metric and one terrible metric, so after weighting by games played, the averages of their PP60$ and InvFA60$ ranked worse overall.
All said and done, my All-Bust Squad had a combined cap hit of $92.83 million. I don’t know if it’s possible to do less while spending more, but I’d love to see you try.