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!
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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.