Top 10 Worst Contracts
Ah, cap leagues. The place where your dream of being able to run a successful NHL franchise goes to die.
See, we all think we could be an NHL general manager, but we can’t even help ourselves when it comes to our fantasy squads. Some of us will draft or trade for overpriced players, and of course, it never works out.
Below are 10 players who have the worst NHL contract for fantasy hockey purposes. Some of these guys might be worth it in terms of their real-life impact on hockey games, but the contracts aren’t good for fantasy hockey. These 10 players have a total cap hit of $89 million this season, and every one of them is at a minimum of $8 million.
Just a few ground rules:
We’re looking at current contracts, not contracts that are signed but don’t start until next season. So, Andrei Vasilevskiy wouldn’t count for this list as his cap hit is $3.5 million, not the $9.5 million cap hit that begins in 2020-21.
We’re also looking at NHL rostered players, so contracts buried in the minors, such as Karl Alzner, won’t be found on this list.
Finally, when I first starting compiling this list, I came up with an easy list of 50 overpaid players. To whittle it down, I focused on players who are more likely to be selected in most hockey pools. Keep that in mind before asking where Kyle Turris and Bryan Little is.
10. Phil Kessel
We all knew there was going to be a production drop for Kessel, moving from Pittsburgh to Arizona, but we didn’t think it was going to be this severe. How bad has it been? As of today, Kessel has on-pace numbers of 16 goals, 45 points, a minus-42, 199 shots, 21 hits and 26 power-play points. Definitely not worthy of a cap hit of $8 million until 2021-22. Props to anyone who was able to trade him away last summer for anything of value.
When this season expires, Johansen will still be owed $8 million for five more years. That’s a lot of money for a player that hasn’t broken 65 points since 2014-15 when he was in Columbus. This year, with 19 points in 31 games, he is on pace for only 50 points. One of the biggest issues with Johansen in fantasy hockey is that you don’t roster Johansen for any other reason except for points, and maybe PIM if your league counts that category. He isn’t a great plus/minus contributor, doesn’t shoot, hit or block shots. So, if he’s not getting points, he’s worthless in cap leagues.
8. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
OEL is one of those players that everyone always expects to have a great breakout season, but aside from 2015-16, it never happens. OEL is pretty much a 40-point defenseman, and should always be treated as such. Now he is on pace for 26 points this season, although he is also on pace for 169 shots, 148 hits and 91 blocked shots, so there is still value depending on your league settings. Just not enough value for $8.25 million for the next five-and-a-half seasons.
7. Matt Duchene
Regular readers of this column will know I am not the biggest fan of Duchene, as I think he is overrated for what he brings to the table. My theory is that he only steps up in contract years, and that he’s really a 55-to-60-point player. This year is proving that to be correct once again. After signing a six-year, $48-million contract with the Preds in the offseason, he is now on pace for 57 points, 178 shots, a minus-13 and 41 hits.
With a cap hit of $8.25 million for the next 4.5 seasons, Voracek is simply too inconsistent for most salary cap leagues. The most troubling aspect of his season is the fact he’s on pace for only 144 shots going into Sunday’s game, much lower than the 210 he had last year, which was also low for him. His ice time is down two minutes per game and he’s no longer guaranteed top power-play time, which is probably going a long way to explaining why he is only on pace for 55 points.
5. P.K. Subban
Subban’s fall from grace has been widely documented, including on this site and in this column, but it bears repeating how bad his contract is. At a cap hit of $9 million per year for two more years after this one, it’s a lot of money for such an unproductive player. Subban is now pointless in 12 games, has only five points in 32 games (a 13-point pace) and seems to be far down the totem pole when it comes to power-play time for Devils defensemen. It seems unfathomable how far he’s dropped considering he was a finalist for the Norris trophy a year-and-a-half ago.
4. Jamie Benn
With the way that his play has dropped off the last few years, it’s tough owning Benn’s $9.5 million cap hit, payable for another five years after this one. Even though he is on pace for only 39 points, he does at least contribute significantly in other categories, as he’s on pace for 200 shots, 193 hits and 77 blocked shots. However, you don’t draft the guys on this list for the peripherals, you draft them for the points.
3. Jeff Skinner
What makes Skinner’s contract that will see him have a cap hit of $9 million until 2024-25 a tough one to roster is how quickly he fell off the top line. If he was guaranteed to keep playing with Jack Eichel, the deal wouldn’t look as bad. Instead, he’s stuck on the second line at both even strength and on the power play. This year, he’s down to 18 points in 34 games, which puts him on pace for 43 points and he only has three power-play points. Not a great scenario for fantasy general managers.
Don’t be fooled by Toews’ 81-point campaign last year: At this stage of his career, Toews is a 50-to-60-point producer. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not great for cap leagues when you have $10.5 million tied up in 50 to 60 points. Going into Sunday’s action, Toews was on pace for 52 points, minus-15, 211 shots, 62 hits and seven power-play points. There’s a bonus is your league counts faceoffs, but not enough of a bonus to make him worth $10.5 million.
1. Carey Price
I’m a Habs fan, and I understand how important Price is to that team. That being said, in today’s NHL (and in your fantasy cap league), stay away from netminders who are making $10 million a season. Predicting the top netminders every season is such a fickle exercise. There are much better options out there for much cheaper, especially when you consider that Price has posted average numbers the last couple of years. This year he has a 13-10-3 record with a 2.92 GAA and a .905 SV %, and his cap hit of $10.5 million runs until 2025-26.
No data at this moment.