Welcome back to Part 2 of this mini series where we will continue to take a look at every NHL teams worst contract for the 2021-22 season. As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, this series does not take into account the term left on the contract. It is instead just the worst cap hit any one team has on their books for this upcoming season. With that being said, let’s take a look!
Mikko Koskinen, $4.5 million AAV
With the Oilers recently buying out James Neal, the worst contract on their books now belongs to goaltender Mikko Koskinen. The 33-year-old has gotten somewhat of a bad rap from fans due to his $4.5 million cap hit, a contract which he certainly didn’t prove he was deserving of, but he has still been able to provide league average goaltending for the majority of his tenure with the team.
After a solid 2019-20 season in which he posted a respectable 2.75 goals against average (GAA) along with a .917 save percentage (SV%), he took a major step backwards with a cringeworthy 3.17 GAA and a .899 SV%. He should be able to bounce back in 2021-22, but that doesn’t change the fact that his AAV of $4.5 million is too high.
Sergei Bobrovsky, $10 million AAV
The Florida Panthers, aside from one deal, truly have no bad contracts on their roster. Unfortunately, the one bad deal they do have may be the worst in the entire NHL in Sergei Bobrovsky. The 32-year-old had a number of great seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets including two Vezina Trophy winning campaigns and was considered by many to be the best goalie in the entire league. Unfortunately, things have changed in a big way since signing a ridiculous seven-year, $70 million deal with the Panthers during the 2019 offseason.
In his first season with the Panthers, Bobrovsky struggled to a 3.23 GAA paired with a .900 SV% over 50 games. The hope was that it was just an off year and he would get back to elite level status in 2020-21, but that proved not to be the case. In 31 games this past season, he recorded an unimpressive 2.91 GAA along with a .906 SV%, and was outplayed in a big way by Chris Driedger. With Driedger now a part of the Seattle Kraken, Bobrovsky will get another shot at being the teams number one goaltender, but rookie Spencer Knight could replace him in a hurry if he isn’t able to revert back to his old self.
Jonathan Quick, $5.8 million AAV
Many will look at this and claim that Drew Doughty is the Kings worst contract. Considering he has an AAV of $11 million, it is a fair argument. However, he has still been able to maintain a reasonably high level of play, whereas goaltender Jonathan Quick in recent years has not. The 35-year-old is a shell of his former self, having recorded a SV% below .900 in two of the last three seasons.
In 2020-21, Quick saw himself relegated to the backup position behind Cal Petersen, who outperformed him all season long. In just 22 games, Quick posted an ugly 2.86 GAA along with a .898 SV%. It would be an incredible story for him and fantastic news for the Kings if he were able to turn back the clock and play like his old self in 2021-22, but based on what we’ve seen the past three seasons it feels safe to say his best days are well behind him.
Victor Rask, $4 million AAV
Before Bill Guerin took the job as GM in Minnesota, the Wild were prone to making some very questionable decisions, including when they chose to trade forward Nino Niederreiter in exchange for Victor Rask. Niederreiter had been inconsistent during his time in Minnesota but it was clear that trading him for a player who was struggling as bad as Rask was at the time was a poor decision.
This past season, Rask was able to provide some secondary scoring for the Wild with 10 goals and 23 points in 54 games. Those numbers aren’t horrible, but they aren’t nearly good enough for a player with a cap hit of $4 million. He simply hasn’t worked out during his two and a half reasons in Minnesota and there is little reason to expect that to change moving forward.
Jonathan Drouin, $5.5 million AAV
Much like the Kings situation, many will likely suggest that Carey Price should have been included on this list. It is a fair argument given that he hasn’t been at his best the past two regular seasons, however given how he played in the playoffs this year I believe he is capable of bounce back 2021-22 regular season. One player I’m not so convinced on being better is Jonathan Drouin.
Prior to leaving the team for personal reasons, the 26-year-old Drouin was really struggling with just two goals and 23 points in 44 contests. Obviously the most important thing here is his health, and hopefully the time he took off has been beneficial to him. While a terrific 2021-22 season would be a great story however, it doesn’t seem all too promising. His play throughout his entire NHL career has been extremely inconsistent and his lack of goal scoring makes his AAV at $5.5 a tough pill to swallow.
Ryan Johansen, $8 million AAV
It would have been easy to include Matt Duchene on this list for the Nashville Predators after a horrendous 2020-21 season, but he has been able to bounce back from down years in the past and is capable of doing just that once again. Instead, the selection for the worst contract on the Predators is Ryan Johansen, who’s play has really went downhill the past few seasons.
In 48 games last season, Johansen managed just seven goals and 22 points. Those numbers are obviously well below what is expected from a player making $8 million, and are quite concerning when matched with the fact he had just 36 points in 68 games the season prior. The one positive here is that he is still just 29-years-old, so hopefully for both he and the Predators sake he is able to get back on track.
New Jersey Devils
P.K. Subban, $9 million AAV
When the New Jersey Devils acquired P.K. Subban during the summer of 2019, they were expected to make a big jump and become contenders in the East. Instead, his play took a huge nosedive from the second he arrived, and the team has remained near the bottom of league standings.
This past season, Subban managed just five goals and 19 points in 44 games. As bad as that was, it was still an upgrade from the previous year where he recorded just seven goals and 18 points in 68 contests. Given that he is in the final year of his deal, it will be interesting to see if he is able to pick things up and return to the player he was with both the Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens. If he doesn’t and continues to play how he has the last two seasons, this contract will be one of the worst in the entire league for 2021-22.
New York Islanders
Leo Komarov, $3 million AAV
After being a relatively effective bottom six forward for quite some time as an NHLer, Leo Komarov’s game has started to fall off, making his cap hit of $3 million quite high. While he was able to make his way back onto the roster and suit up for all 19 playoff games, the 33-year-old was at one point assigned to the taxi squad this past season.
Komarov suited up for 33 games in 2020-21, scoring just a single goal while also tallying seven helpers. When put in the lineup he was used fairly scarcely, averaging just 12:50 minutes in ice time per game, though it was a slight uptick from the season prior. Given the style of game Komarov plays, it is no surprise that he is beginning to slow down. Thankfully for the Isles sake there is only one year remaining on his deal.
New York Rangers
Jacob Trouba, $8 million AAV
As a member of the Winnipeg Jets, Jacob Trouba was a well respected defenceman throughout the league and really had a coming out party in 2018-19 when he put up a career high 50 points. Shortly after that season, the New York Rangers not only traded for him but signed him to a massive seven-year, $56 million deal. The contract was met with skepticism from most at the time and it appears the reaction was warranted.
Through Trouba’s first two seasons with the Rangers, his offensive game has vanished, largely due to the fact that power play minutes are being given to other defencemen. While he hasn’t played poorly for them, it is hard to justify paying a player $8 million when he recorded just 12 points last season.
Matt Murray, $6 million AAV
After a fantastic start to his career in which he helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win back to back Stanley Cups in his first two seasons, Matt Murray’s play dropped off massively. That is why it came as a major shock that shortly after acquiring him the Ottawa Senators committed to him in a big way with a four-year, $25 million extension.
Had Murray reverted back to the goaltender he was early in his career during his first season with the Sens, many would have changed their stance and praised this contract. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as the 27-year-old had his worst NHL season to date, posting a 3.38 GAA and a .893 SV%. In his defence, the entire Senators team struggled in 2021-22, so it is possible that as they improve so will his stats. Still, those numbers are not anywhere near good enough for a goalie making $6 million per season.
Kevin Hayes, $7.14 million AAV
When the Philadelphia Flyers chose to sign Kevin Hayes to a seven-year, $50 million deal during the 2019 offseason, it was the perfect example of a GM having his total focus on acquiring a player and not thinking about the cost. While Hayes was a solid player with the New York Rangers, he had just once cracked the 50-point mark in his career and nothing suggested he was worth the $7.14 million per season the Flyers gave him.
Based off of what he had done in previous seasons, his first year with the Flyers was relatively successful as he scored 23 goals (two shy of his career high) and 41 points in 69 games. Again, for him personally that was a good season, but it is not a good year for a player making his salary. The 2020-21 season saw him struggle even when compared to years past, as he managed just 12 goals and 31 points in 55 games. He is a good player that any team would love to have, but not with the ugly contract he is on.
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