This week's Capped reviews some of the disappointing big-money players of the season.
When things go wrong in your salary cap league, it can be due to not having enough low-cost support players, but it almost always means that your big stars just didn’t perform. This year was no different in that some players with sizeable contracts had even larger expectations that they failed to live up to. Let’s take a walk through some names and go over what went wrong for these big-name players.
Max Pacioretty (LW) – Montreal Canadiens
Cap Hit – $4,500,000 UFA as of July 1st, 2019
Max Pacioretty has carried the weight of this dismal Canadiens team square on his shoulders; and it is getting to him. Based on both what can be seen watching him in game, and in media scrums, the Montreal captain needs a break; and a break he has. Getting the full offseason to recharge leading into a contract year, could be just what the doctor ordered for the 29-year-old. Mind you, he probably also needs some better line mates, a healthy team, and a happier fan base, but you can’t have everything.
Patches came into the season having scored 30 goals in each of the last five full seasons (2012 lockout year excluded). His results before being shut down for the season (with a knee injury) pale in comparison to what was expected based on his draft/acquisition cost. As disappointing as the season may have been for Pacioretty, he was still a bargain for his $4.5 million contract. He should be back next year to providing value as one of the best LW options in terms of bang-for-your-buck. It can’t get worse, can it?
Shea Weber (D) – Montreal Canadiens
Cap Hit – $7,857,143 UFA as of July 1st, 2026(!)
Sticking with the “it can’t get worse” point of view with the Canadiens, Weber’s season also left something to be desired, though maybe it wasn’t completely his fault. Brought in to be a steady leader and anchor the blueline, Weber’s presence made a positive impact when he was healthy. Unfortunately, a nagging foot injury really took the wind out of his sails when he tried to play through it. Weber will be recovering from surgery on his injured foot throughout the summer, and barring any setbacks, should be ready to start the season. If he can come back at full health, maybe he can pick up where he left off with his 51-point pace and excellent peripheral stats.
However, there is also bad news. Weber was already looking a little slower out on the ice, and if this surgery doesn’t correct an outstanding issue that was causing mobility issues, then it means the rugged defenceman isn’t going to be able to carry a team on defence the way he used to. This leads to the question, does Weber seem primed to fall off a cliff a-la Brent Seabrook? I wouldn’t be putting money on it, but it wouldn’t be all too surprising either.