The 2009-2010 All-Overpaid Team

With the NHL season set to begin tomorrow I was looking around at each teams final rosters and noticed that some players are being paid way too much for what they bring to the ice. That inspired me to compile a roster of the most overpaid players in the league.

Here’s how it will work. An active NHL roster has 20 players on it (12 forwards, six defenseman and two goalies) and that’s what I’ll put together here. I’m going to select four centers, eight wingers, six defenseman and two goalies who I believe are being paid much more than their talents and skills deserve.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not a slam on the players at all. These guys were offered a salary and they accepted it just like any of us would have done. This is more a reflection on the GM’s that signed these players to these contracts. So, without further ado, here is the 2009/2010 All-Overpaid Team!

Centers:

– Scott Gomez ($7.357 million)

Gomez is the highest paid player on the All-Overpaid team and what does all that cabbage get us? 16 goals and 58 points, apparently. Gomez was a huge disappointment with the Rangers and was dealt to the Canadiens over the summer. He’s one of many players that could play his way off of this team this season but until he does he’s a no-brainer pick for this squad.

– Chris Drury ($7.05 million)

Making just a little less than Gomez is another Rangers disappointment – Chris Drury. He put up a whopping 22 goals and 56 points last season which are not terrible numbers, but they are not worth more than $7 million a year, either. Drury is allegedly a great leader in the locker room though we haven’t seen that impact the Rangers on the ice yet and when you are making the 15th highest salary in the league you’d better be higher than 81st in the league in scoring.

– Shawn Horcoff ($5.5 million)

Compared to Drury and Gomez, Horcoff seems like a bargain at just $5.5 million a year! But when you realize that he put up 53 points last season and that the Oilers paid him more than $100,000 per point…he doesn’t seem like much of a bargain anymore.

– Michal Handzus ($4 million)

Handzus is a good third line center for the Kings but third line centers should not be paid $4 million. He was the Kings highest paid forward last season and, again, for a guy that plays on the third line that is absurd.

Total spent on centers: $23.907 million

Left Wingers:

– Paul Kariya ($6 million)

Paul Kariya had 15 points in 11 games last season and ended up missing most of the year due to injuries. But before that his production had gone down three years in a row and he’s become more of a passer than a sniper. $6 million seems a bit steep for a veteran playmaker coming off a major injury and who has never been confused for a Selke candidate.

– Martin Erat ($4.5 million)

Erat is not quite in the Horcoff “$100,000 per point” club but he did make $90,000 per point last season and supplemented that by being a -7. He’ll have to play better this season to find his way off the squad next season.

– Dustin Penner ($4.25 million)

Penner was another no-brainer for this team. I remember when he went to the Oilers many Edmonton fans were thrilled about getting a big man with such soft hands. Then they watched him play and the excitement wore off…quickly. Penner is big, but plays like he’s either fragile or tiny as he does not use his size to his advantage nearly enough, and he’s prone to taking entire shifts, periods, games and weeks off with lazy efforts. Maybe Pat Quinn can get through to him and tap his potential but until he does he will be welcome here on the All-Overpaid Team.

– Ryan Smyth ($6.25 million)

Ryan Smyth is one of my favorite NHL players and has been for a long time. I love the way he plays the game and the sacrifices he’s willing to make for his team. But $6.25 million a year for a guy that averages 58 points a year? That seems like a bit much to me.

Total spent on left wings: $21 million

Right Wingers:

– Brian Rolston ($5.062 million)

Rolston’s salary is an example of paying a guy for what he’s done and not what he will do. He used to be a great scorer for the Wild but last year he put up just 32 points in 64 games with the Devils and at 36 years old I don’t think his best years are ahead of him. (By the way, he made more than $158,000 per point last year! Think about that the next time you get your paycheck).

– Joffrey Lupul ($4.25 million)

Lupul is a good young player but he’s fairly one-dimensional and he seems to be settling into a career as a second line winger. He’s only scored 50 points twice in his career and has never reached 30 goals in a season. When you’re one-dimensional you’d better be really good at that one dimension and Lupul is not. He’s good, but not great, and he’s not worth $4.25 million a year in my opinion.

– Pavol Demitra ($4 million)

Like Rolston, Demitra is being paid for what he’s done. However, getting paid $4 million for 20 goals and 53 points is a bit excessive. He’s not the most overpaid on this team, and might be one of the players that least deserves to be here, but he’s here none-the-less.

– Jonathan Cheechoo ($3 million)

We all know that Cheechoo once scored 56 goals in a season but we also all know that he’s become a shell of his former self offensively. I don’t care what role he was asked to play for the Sharks last season he put up 29 points in 66 games and is part of the elusive “$100,000 per point” club. He’s got a new chance in Ottawa and perhaps he can find his scoring touch. If he does, he could play his way off this team.

Total spent on right wings: $16.312 million

Defenseman:

– Jeff Finger ($3.5 million)

Finger could be the captain of the overpaid team. I remember when it was announced that he had signed a four-year, $14 million deal last summer my first reaction was, “Who?” Finger did nothing to prove the doubters wrong last season and could very well be the most expensive healthy scratch in the NHL this season. I’m still not sure what Finger does well but I know for sure that he’s not worth $3.5 million a season.

– Rob Scuderi ($3.4 million)

Scuderi had a phenomenal Game 7 against the Red Wings last year and he’s a big reason the Penguins won the Stanley Cup. However, he’s a defensive defenseman who blocked 164 shots last season – and that’s a nice number, but it’s more than 100 less than the 271 blocked shots that the Coyotes Zbynek Michalek had last season. Anyone think Michalek is worth $3.4 million a year? Me either. Scuderi was a +23 last season but he was also a -18 four years ago and is a +13 in his career so I’d say that was a bit of an aberration last year. A defensive defenseman coming off a career year and a Stanley Cup championship are frequently overpaid and Scuderi is no different.

– Wade Redden ($6.5 million)

Redden could play his way off of this team if he has a good season but based on last year he’s a no-brainer for this squad. $6.5 million bought the Rangers three goals, 26 points and a -5 rating. Woof. There are 68 other defenseman that scored as many, or more, points as Redden did last season including our old friend Zbynek Michalek. (I’m actually making a great case for Michalek to be given a sizable raise!) But at least Redden came through with 99 hits last season – good for 166th in the league. Welcome to the squad, Wade, practice begins at 10am.

– Kim Johnsson ($4.85 million)

Johnsson and Redden are two peas in a pod as both got paid a lot of money to put up similar numbers last season. Johnsson had two goals and 24 points last year and was a -3 on a team coached by Jacques Lemaire with a Vezina Trophy finalist in net behind him. Woof. In his three years with the Wild Johnsson has averaged three goals and 24 points per season and is a -11. Johnsson is a UFA after this season and my guess is that he’ll be taking a paycut.

– Andrej Meszaros ($4 million)

Having already spent $18.25 million on my first four defenseman I was feeling good about my squad but I wanted to add a couple of more names to really round out the group and see if we couldn’t get that number up over $20 million. Enter Andrej Meszaros! Meszaros had some injury problems last year and only played in 52 games but in those games he put up two goals and 16 points. Projected out over an 82 game season that’s equivalent to three goals and 22 assists. Sound familiar? If not, go read the comments about Wade Redden and Kim Johnsson again. Having an offensive defenseman score less than five goals and 30 points a season is a sign you have a bad offensive defenseman. The All-Overpaid Team now has three such players.

– Mike Komisarek ($4.5 million)

I gave thought to giving this last spot to Andy Sutton ($3 million) or Ruslan Salei ($3.025 million) but in the end it was too tough to pass up Mike Komisarek and his $4.5 million salary. Komisarek is the 88th highest paid player in the NHL which doesn’t sound too impressive until you think about it. If you took the top three players from each team that would be 90 players and I doubt Komisarek would make that group. Yet, he’s among the 90 highest paid players in the league. Komisarek is a good player and he’s big but $4.5 million should be reserved for very good, if not great, defensive defenseman. He brings very little offense to the team and is not exactly a shut-down defenseman when it comes to neutralizing the other teams’ top players. I would also argue that Francois Beauchemin, his new teammate with the Leafs, is the better defenseman of the two and yet Beauchemin makes $700,000 less and got two less years on his deal.

Total spent on defense: $26.75 million

Goalies:

– Cristobal Huet ($5.625 million)

Paying a 34-year old goalie who has never started more than 42 games in a season, never won more than 21 games in a season and who has a career playoff record of 6-10 with a 2.73 GAA in the postseason, over $5 million a year is ridiculous.

– Ilya Bryzgalov ($4.25 million)

Bryzgalov was claimed off waivers by the Coyotes and then signed a big contract after a decent season with them. Last year was a step back as he was 26-31-6 with a 2.98 GAA. Jose Theodore was considered for this spot but when you have a Hart Trophy and a Vezina Trophy on your mantle you get the benefit of the doubt.

Total spent on goalie: $9.875 million

Total spent on entire 20-man roster: $97.844 million (a mere $41.044 million over the salary cap!)

And what do I get for that money? Not one player scored 60 points last season – not one player had 30 goals last season and my goalies are average, at best. This is a roster that only Glen Sather could love.

So what do you think? Do you agree with these picks? Think a player that’s on my team should be off of it? Think a player not on my team should be on it? What about your picks? Who would you select for your All-Overpaid Team? Post your thoughts for all of us to enjoy and discuss.

About Doug Stolhand 26990 Articles
Doug Stolhand is one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the Puck Podcast and has been a member of the NHL media since the show's inception in 2006.

13 Comments

  1. I agree with pretty much everything, except for Horcoff who is grit and backchecking and very valuable. Instead I would put Michael Nylander at $4.875 million, 33 points and no backchecking.

    I also wonder if Lupul is the I-have-to-pick-a-Duck-not-too-seem-biased pick?

    It would be interesting to see the All-Underpaid team too.

  2. The All-Bargain Team (or All-Underpaid team as you put it) will be posted on Sunday.

    Joffrey Lupul is not the token Ducks player to remove accusations of bias, he is one of the most overpaid players in the league who just happens to play for the Ducks. Glad to hear that you agree with most of the picks and you make a good point about Horcoff and Nylander. I’m sticking with my list but thanks for the post.

  3. Lupul is not overpaid…he may be on the Ducks top line this year and if he is then hes a 30-35 goal scorer.

    Smyth will also tally 70-75 pts if he plays the whole season.

  4. As a Blackhawks fan I couldn’t agree more with Cristobal Huet being on the list, it puts them in quite the bind financially and in the net at times.

    I’d also have to put Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell on this list at $7,140,000 he’s one of the highest paid Hawks.

    Don’t get me wrong he’s a solid defenseman and great with the fans, but he’s way over paid. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook do just as much, probably more, for a fraction of what he costs. I think the Hawks were expecting a little more out of him when they acquired him, let’s just hope this year he earns every penny!

  5. I definitely agree with all of the accusations Doug, but I have a few depth players that you could add. I won’t make a whole team, but here are a few defensemen to consider:

    Eric Brewer ($4.25 million)

    This team “captain” has not done anything since being acquired in the Chris Pronger deal after the lockout. His combined -59 plus/minus since putting on a Blues sweater is atrocious. To add to it, he was injured for 54 games last season, and is expected to not make a return this season until November or December.

    Barret Jackman ($3.625 million)

    A teammate of Brewer’s, Jackman has been nothing shy of horrible. His inability to skate to loose pucks and knack of getting out of position to make a minor hit are top reasons why he posted a Blues-worst -17 last season. Another reason why Detroit GM Ken Holland is correct; never sign a defensive defenseman to a contract over $2.5 million. Once signing this deal, Jackman has been worthless to a team that could use a #1 defenseman.

    Michal Rozsival ($5 million)

    Despite Rozsival’s 30 points from a season ago, he some times forgets that he is a defenseman. Rozsival is constantly caught skating too far up and leaving his defensive partner on an odd-man rush. His -7 from a season ago is nothing to boast about, considering he played an average of 22:30 a game for a playoff team. While Rozsival is still a good defenseman, $5 million may be a little steep for someone of his caliber.

  6. You have to consider adding Ed Jovanovski to the list of defensemen. His cap hit of $6.5M (through 2010/2011 season now) has made him untradeable; his production (9G/27A/36 pts) has been mediocre for an offensive-minded defensemen; he’s often a defensive liability; and generally ineffective on a power play that needs a lot of help. One of Mike Barnett’s remaining legacies out here in the desert…

  7. I think you’re missing two guys on here. I’d take Lupul off – he’s a great player and will rack up points on the Ducks top line. I’d also remove Komisarek – he’s a beast and will be a worthwhile contributor for the Leafs. Brian Campbell and Patrice Bergeron should be on here. Bergeron makes over $5 mil a season and hasn’t been the same since his concussion issues. His weighty contract made it impossible for the B’s to go after Kessel long term (although I still don’t think they would have paid him what Burke offered). I love his heart and his skill is undeniable, but $5 mil for 40 points a season is absurd and Bergeron is a 40-60 point per year producer at best. Campbell has been the 4th or 5th best defenseman on the Blackhawks and he makes more than almost any other defenseman in the league.

  8. As an Islanders season ticket holder, I am disappointed you left Rick DiPietro off this list. But wait, his rehabilitation is “ahead of schedule” according to our backup goalie GM. Just what this schedule is has never been revealed.

  9. I tried to leave guys that have missed a lot of time due to injury off the list. We don’t know what those guys would have done had they played so it’s tough to call them overpaid, in my opinion.

  10. I’d have to put Scott Hannan on the over-paid team. In 81 games, he had 1 goal and 9 assists going -21, but getting paid $4.5M. I know he is a defensive defenseman, but he didn’t show it last year. And the whole Avs team was in the negative, but even I could probably get 9 secondary assists in an NHL season! As an Avs fan, I would have rather pay Ryan Smyth the extra $1.75M for everything that he brings to the team over Hannan.

  11. “And the whole Avs team was in the negative, but even I could probably get 9 secondary assists in an NHL season! As an Avs fan, I would have rather pay Ryan Smyth the extra $1.75M for everything that he brings to the team over Hannan.”

    Preach on, brother! I know he is a defensive defensemen and maybe I should not have expected points, but in that case, I would expect a better +\-. The Avs Podcast that is linked to the show had a scathing report on Hannan a long time ago and I could not agree more. He is, by no means, a BAD NHL defensemen, but I need more to justify over $4 million a season!

  12. Doug: You state (reply #9) you did not placeplayers who missed significant time due to injuries on this list but did include Pavol Demitra.
    While his 2008-09 numbers left something to be desired; Demitra has only played 25 of the Canucks 79 games this year due to injury. He probably would have spent a lot of the missed games playing with the Sedins; both of whom are a +36 this year.
    With Demitra’s absence from the lineup, Alex Burrows and Mikael Samuelson have benefited from playing with Henrik and Daniel. Burrows has 35 goals, 65 points and a +33 while Samuekson has 30 goals 53 points and a +13.
    I say this not to hate on your selections, but perhaps to justify another player on the list than Pavol.

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