The Worst Contracts in the NHL This Season

Simply put, there are some terrible contracts in the NHL this season.

These horrendous deals tend to pay particular players far too much for the skills and production they bring to the ice. As a result, these players are typically the front runners to be traded, or in desperate scenarios, have their entire contract bought out by their respective club.

In this, the 2014-15 season, there is no shortage of players who are enjoying massive contracts yet who are struggling heavily on the ice. This inability to perform up to both expectations and pay grade justify the following players as those with the worst contracts in the NHL this season.

Alexander Semin – Carolina Hurricanes -$7 Million Dollar Cap Hit

Carolina Hurricanes Alexander Semin - Photo By Andy Martin Jr
Photo By Andy Martin Jr

For the Carolina Hurricanes, both Semin and his contract have been a train wreck this season. Semin was signed by the Hurricanes to his current contract, a five year, $35 Million Dollar extension in the spring of 2013.

At an average cap hit of $7 Million Dollars per season, Semin has failed to justify his huge salary with his play on the ice, especially so this season.

Through 30 games, Semin has only scored two goals and eight assists for a total of ten points! This amount of offensive production is hardly worth $7 Million Dollars and is a ghost of the player Semin was while with the Washington Capitals, where he typically scored at a near point per game pace.

Signed through the 2017-18 season, Semin needs to find his game in a hurry if he hopes to live up to his huge contract.

David Clarkson – Toronto Maple Leafs – $5.25 Million Dollar Cap Hit

The David Clarkson as a Toronto Maple Leaf saga has been well documented, and it has taken yet another turn for the worse this season.

Signed as a free agent by the Leafs prior to the 2013 season, Clarkson rakes in a huge salary with an average cap hit of $5.25 Million Dollars per year. Based on his pay, Clarkson has failed to bring any value whatsoever to the Leafs on the ice.

Clarkson was brought to Toronto because it was thought that he could provide depth scoring alongside a gritty and physical style of play. However, after an abysmal five goals and 11 points in his first season, Clarkson has failed to improve on his play. Although he has improved very little offensively, scoring 10 goals and 15 points, his overall game has been widely ineffective, a reason why he has been a healthy scratch on occasion this season.

At the end of the day, Clarkson has the third highest cap hit on the Leafs this season. Based on what he brings to his team, he is nowhere near as valuable as his contract indicates, making his one of the worst in the NHL this season.

Vincent Lecavalier – Philadelphia Flyers – $4.5 Million Dollar Cap Hit

Vinny Lecavalier [photo: Amy Irvin]
[photo: Amy Irvin]
Just as Lecavalier’s days were numbered in Tampa Bay, they may also be in the “City of Brotherly Love”. For Vinny, his time in Philadelphia has been anything but enjoyable, a situation which has been exaggerated by his big contract and increasingly poor play.

Since signing a five year, 22.5 Million Dollar contract with the Flyers in 2013, Lecavalier has failed to resurrect his old form which made him one of the leagues most dominant players with Tampa Bay.

In his first season, Vinny scored 20 goals, but finished the season with a mere 30 points. This year, the struggles have continued as Lecavalier has 7 goals and 16 points, play which has made his hefty contract look increasingly regrettable.

Lecavalier’s cap hit is greater than both Marc Edouard Vlasic and teammate Jakub Voracek’s, yet his play is nowhere near the quality of these two NHL stars. As Vincent’s play continues to regress, his contract continues to be increasingly seen as one of the NHL’s worst this season.

Stephen Weiss – Detroit Red Wings – $4.9 Million Dollar Cap Hit

When Stephen Weiss signed with the Detroit Red Wings in 2013, many thought Detroit had finally secured a solid centreman who could add a new dimension to the Wings’ offence while playing a sound game defensively.

However, Weiss’ tenure in Detroit has been a anything but successful, as Stephen has failed to live up to his $4.9 Million Dollar price tag. In his first, injury plagued season in Detroit, Weiss managed just 26 games, in which he contributed a lackluster two goals and four points. This season has been slightly better, but still nowhere near deserving of his current contract, as Weiss has played 29 games, in which he has scored 6 goals and 17 points.

Averaging 11:30 per game, Weiss has been relegated primarily to a third and fourth line role with the Red Wings. When compared to others throughout the league, Weiss earns more than stars such Max Pacioretty and Ryan McDonagh.

Based on his cap hit in comparison to players of similar earnings, as well as his on ice contributions to the Red Wings, it is clear that Stephen Weiss is currently playing out of the worst contracts in the NHL this season.

Dave Bolland – Florida Panthers – $5.5 Million Dollar Cap Hit

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Remember this past off season when Dave Bolland was one of the biggest fish on the free agent market? A five year, $27.5 Million Dollar contract later, Bolland was the newest, second highest paid player on the Florida Panthers.

Yet, like the other players mentioned here, Bolland has far from lived up to his pay which comes in at an average cap hit of $5.5 Million Dollars per year. In his first year with the Panthers, Bolland has scored just two goals and 11 points in 30 games while averaging 16 minutes a night, not exactly production worth his current contract.

Bolland’s salary is equal to NHL stars such as John Tavares and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, while he is earning more than both David Krejci and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Although he has never been a huge offensive threat at the NHL level, Bolland is known as a solid faceoff man and a player who is smart in his own zone. It is these qualities which Bolland will have to rely upon in order to justify his huge contract, as a sudden jump in Bolland’s offence is less than likely. Unless Bolland can become the player he was in his first few years with the Chicago Blackhawks, his contract could become one of the NHL’s worst in recent history.

Honourable Mentions:

Travis Zajac – $5.75 Million Dollar Cap Hit

Deryk Engelland – $2.91 Million Dollar Cap Hit

Bryan Bickell – $4 Million Dollar Cap Hit