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Dater’s Daily Links: Why history is littered with terrible NHL free-agent contracts



Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons

Great tweet this morning from @nickquebec:

Let me add a few more here: Martin Lapointe, Boston, four years, $20 million; Mike Ribeiro, four years, $22 million, Arizona; Matt Beleskey, five years, $19.8 million, Boston; Christian Ehrhoff, 10 years, $40 million, Buffalo; Dennis Wideman, five years, $26.5 million, Calgary; Cristobal Huet, four years, $22 million, Chicago; Nathan Horton, seven years, $37.7 million, Columbus; Scott Gomez, seven years, $51.5 million, Rangers; Bobby Holik, five years, $45 million, Rangers; Stephen Weiss, five years, $24.5 million, Detroit; Dave Bolland, five years, $27.5 million, Florida; Zach Parise, 13 years, $98.5 million, Minnesota; Mike Cammalleri, five years, $30 million, Montreal; Anton Volchenkov, six years, $25.5 million, New Jersey; Paul Stastny, four years, $28 million, St. Louis; Wade Redden, six years, $39 million, Rangers; Ilya Bryzgalov, nine years, $51 million, Philadelphia; Mikkel Boedker, four years, $16 million, San Jose; David Clarkson, seven years, $37.5 million, Toronto; Darius Kasparaitis, six years, $25 million, Rangers; Jeff Finger, four years, $14 million, Toronto; Ryan Smyth, five years, $31.2 million, Avalanche.

The point here: Free agent day, which is tomorrow, is a day with a history littered with terrible contracts that teams often deeply end up regretting.

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Sure as rain in Seattle, there will be teams that end up deeply regretting the kinds of contracts some will hand out tomorrow, contracts that will be albatrosses that they’ll desperately try to pawn off on others for pennies on the dollar or just quietly end up buying them out.

  • If what I’m reading is true – that Sergei Bobrovsky might get $10 million a year from the Florida Panthers, for instance – well, there’s one contract they might sorely regret giving out. $10 million a year for a goalie? Did we not just see in the playoffs that it doesn’t take a big-name, expensive goalie to win a Stanley Cup? He’s a fine goalie and all, but…
  • By the way, Bobrovsky’s career playoff record: 11-18, .902 saves percentage.
  • I’m told by a source that there have yet to be any talks with Tyson Barrie and the Avs toward an extension. He can be UFA after next season. Tick-tock, tick-tock.
  • Ryan Dzingel could be an option for Avs, coming off a 26-goal season. I have a strong feeling that was a “contract year” performance, however, and some kind of five-year, $25 million-plus deal might be one of those contracts that winds up on that list above, for the future. Dzingel’s numbers in the playoffs with Columbus after being a trade-deadline rental: Nine games, one goal, zero assists. Career playoff stats: 24 games, three goals, one assist.
  • Agents don’t care about that, though. If their guy scores 26 goals, what they do is look around at other guys who scored similar numbers, look up what they’re making and tell teams “That’s the comparable. That’s what my guy’s worth. Pay us.”
  • And, the truth is, there’s always one team that gives in.
  • And you wonder why this league has had three lockouts in the last 25 years, including one that cancelled an entire season.
  • You gotta remember another thing too, about free agency: GMs get to have a fun day at the press conference after making a shiny new acquisition. It’s called “winning the press conference”, and GMs love that. They want to be seen as hard-working, proactive guys unafraid to take risks to win Stanley Cups. When the honeymoon period is over and it’s time to look around for a sucker to take the contract off their hands and the whole thing was a disaster? Well, they’re already on to their next batch of signings and they hope everybody will forget it.

See you tomorrow.

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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Geoff Heim

Jeff Finger!

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