In today’s salary cap world, it only takes one bad contract to handcuff your management team. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance for clubs to know exactly what to expect from a player before putting pen to paper, but that’s more easily said than done.
Sometimes, if a team has signed a mediocre-to-poor player to a fat contract with term attached, it’s in the club’s best interest to buy the player out. It takes a GM who’s willing to swallow his pride and admit his mistakes, assuming that it was he who signed the rotten contract in the first place.
Today we’re going to look at 15 players who are still costing their former clubs’ owners financial headaches. In most of these cases they’re causing cap issues as well, as buyouts count against the cap and most of the entries in today’s list are players who were bought out.
Other players appearing on the list are there because they have sustained serious or career-threatening injuries, and thus have been inactive for a long period of time. In these cases the team’s insurance would be on the hook for these salaries. In any case, neither situations are ideal for clubs that thought they were acquiring useful pieces for the future. Enjoy:
15. Stephen Weiss – Detroit
The Detroit Red Wings signed UFA center Styephen Weiss to a five year deal during the 2013 offseason, and it didn’t end well for them. After struggling through two injury-riddled seasons in Motor City, the Red Wings saw a buyout as their best option moving forward with Weiss, and they pulled the trigger on that decision on June 30, 2015, the day before free agency was set to open.
Weiss had shown promise early in his career when playing with Florida, but his regression had already begun by the time he went to Detroit. He never re-discovered the touch that made him successful in the infancy of his career, and as a result he’s now unemployed, yet still collecting a paycheck from the Wings (and he will be until 2020-21).
14. Rich Clune – Nashville
Most people will remember that Rich Clune couldn’t play well enough in the 2015-16 season to stick on the Toronto Maple Leafs roster, playing most of the season with the Marlies of the AHL. That’s where he is today as well, as the Maple Leafs have him buried in the minors. It’s possible that Clune has already played his last game in the league, which is a shame.
Clune’s inclusion on this list isn’t for his time in Toronto though, but rather Nashville. The Predators decided that a buyout was the best course of action after the 2014-15 season. Clune had just one year left on the deal, but as buyouts work the Preds are still paying him for the remainder of this season as well.
13. Brad Boyes – Florida
Brad Boyes is a veteran of 822 games, yet he never really seemed to get the respect he deserved while playing in the world’s best hockey league. The Florida Panthers bought out the final year of Boyes’ contract after the 2014-15 season, despite the relatively cheap $2.6 million cap hit and his decent production (he’d just registered 38 points in 78 games, in addition to having solid underlying numbers).
Boyes hasn’t officially hung up the skates yet, but he is without a contract right now, and the later it gets in 2016-17, the more unlikely it is to happen. Boyes has had a nomadic NHL career, playing for seven different teams so far. His best seasons were spent as a member of the St. Louis Blues, where he put up consecutive seasons of 43 and 33 goals.
12. Cody Hodgson – Buffalo
Cody Hodgson’s pro career looked extremely promising from the outset. The Vancouver Canucks draft pick was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres before the end of his rookie year, despite putting up 33 points in 63 games with Vancouver. The Canucks had a great team at this point, and Hodgson was having trouble finding a permanent spot in the top six, which is what he so desired.
Hodgson continued to develop with the Sabres, and things were going so well that the club decided to ink him to a six-year, $25.5 million contract extension. Hodgson had one more decent season with Buffalo before falling off a steep cliff production-wise. The Sabres exercised the buyout option on Hodgson after 2014-15, a season in which he put up only 13 points in 78 games. The Sabres will pay him through 2022-23.
11. P.A. Parenteau – Montreal
P.A. Parenteau signed a contract this past offseason with the New York Islanders, but was placed on waivers before the season began after not making the team out of camp. The New Jersey Devils took a chance on the 33-year-old, and the winger has already chipped in seven goals—not bad for a waiver wire pickup. With all this going on with Parenteau, some fans probably forget that he still collects a paycheck from the Montreal Canadiens organization.
After a disappointing 2014-15 season, the Canadiens decided they’d seen enough from Parenteau and felt it was necessary to buyout the final year of the winger’s contract. This is the last season in which the Habs are still on the hook for Parenteau, who has spent time on three different clubs already since departing the province of Quebec.