With the top marquee free agents officially signing, now it is time to go ahead and look forward to the 2017-18 season. There has been some signings this off season that made you excited as a hockey fan, and then there has been other signings that made you shake your head and say I don't understand why that player got paid as much as he did, or shake your head to the reason why he signed there over somewhere else. The off season has been exciting so far to say the least, and it is making the upcoming NHL season look to be one of the better ones in recent memories.
Some teams went for the approach of what do we need to do in order to beat Pittsburgh next season. Other teams went for the approach of it not being our time, so we will not go all in just yet. With the Pittsburgh Penguins being the two-time reigning defending Stanley Cup Champions and every team not only has the mindset of beating the two-time champs, but they need to make sure that they do not let Pittsburgh get an opportunity at going after a third straight Stanley Cup Title.
Some of the free agent signings that teams got in order to get better came at a price, and others got bargains on the player that they signed. Some players could have made more money else where, and others got overpaid to go play for a team. With that being said here are the 8 NHL players who got over paid this summer and the 7 that were bargains.
18 Overpaid - Karl Alzner
Karl Alzner is a former fifth overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft, and got overpaid this summer. Alzner signed a five year $23.125 million dollar contract with the Montreal Canadiens, which doesn't seem like a lot, but for a guy like Alzner it is a big overpay by the Canadiens. The Montreal Canadiens are going to pay an annual cap hit of $4.625 million for Alzner, which is definitely not worth his style of play.
In Alzner's career he has played in 591 games while tallying 19 goals to go along with 98 assists for a total of 117 points. The nine year veteran had the best year of his career in 2016-17, and immediately got paid for it. Alzner has never been a good defenseman offensive wise, but his work in the defensive zone is very good. Karl Alzner should have gotten paid around $2.5 to $2.9 million per season, due to the fact that Montreal needs help on offense from the blue line, they don't need any more defensive defenseman patrolling their blue line.
17 Bargain - Scott Hartnell
Scott Hartnell is a veteran that signed a very huge bargain deal this summer. He signed a one year $1 million contract with the Nashville Predators, who he was drafted by at the beginning of his career. The former sixth overall selection in the 2000 NHL Draft, has been a solid winger in the National Hockey League, and is definitely worth more than $1 million even if it is for a year.
In Hartnell's career he has played in 1,187 games while tallying 314 goals to go along with 369 assists for a total of 683 points. Nashville got a really good bargain by signing Hartnell for only $1 million next season. Hartnell is a veteran that can help a young Nashville team out, and can help be a part of the reason why they can make it back to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017-18. Look for the Hartnell signing to pay off not only for him, but for Nashville as well.
16 Overpaid - Brendan Smith
Brendan Smith is a good, solid defenseman that has been in the National Hockey League for six seasons, the majority of was spent with the Detroit Red Wings. Smith was traded during the 2016-2017 season, and this summer has signed a four year $17.4 million dollar contract, which is an overpay. He has not been effective on the offensive end, but that is not what he gets paid to do. Brendan Smith gets paid to make the plays in the defensive zone to help the goaltender not allow the puck to be put into the net.
In Smith's career he has played in 309 games while tallying 16 goals to go along with 55 assists for a total of 71 points. Again Smith doesn't get paid to add on the stat sheet, he gets paid to not let the other team add on the stat sheet. Smith is not worth a $4.35 million cap hit per season, and the Rangers will regret paying him that in the near future.
15 Bargain - Justin Williams
Justin Williams has been one of the more clutch players in hockey today, especially when it comes to the playoffs. Williams had a stretch where he would score in every game seven, and helped lead the Kings to not one, but two Stanley Cup Titles in his career. The former 28th overall selection in the 2000 NHL Draft, signed a 2 year $9 million dollar contract with the Carolina Hurricanes this off season. Justin Williams was a huge reason why the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup Title during the 2005-06 season.
In his career Williams has played in 1,080 games while tallying 273 goals to go along with 409 assists for a total of 682 points. His $4.5 million cap hit is a bargain for the Hurricanes, as they get an solid veteran winger, but they get a winger that can help them score. Williams is a solid pickup for the Hurricanes, and Carolina should be excited with the bargain that they got him for.
14 Overpaid - Marc-Edouard Vlasic
The San Jose Sharks and Marc-Edouard Vlasic agreed to a eight year $56 million extension this summer, which is a big over pay by the Sharks. The former second round pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, has been in San Jose his entire career, and is a solid defenseman. However, he is not worth the $7 million cap hit that San Jose will have to deal with after the 2017-2018 season for eight years. Vlasic will be 31 years old when his new contract begins, and will be 39 years old when it finishes.
In Vlasic's career he has played in 812 games while tallying 53 goals to go along with 201 assists for a total of 254 points. San Jose paying Marc-Edouard Vlasic the $7 million cap hit up until he is almost 40 years old is a bad move. The gamble could pay off for the Sharks, but say it doesn't work and they want to trade him after two or so years, San Jose is going to be screwed.
13 Bargain - Trevor Daley
Usually if guys win not only one, but two Stanley Cups in a row they will tend to get paid more than expected in the following off season if they are set to become free agents. Thankfully for the Detroit Red Wings they got Trevor Daley at a bargain. The former second round pick in the 2002 NHL, signed a 3 year $9.5 million dollar contract with Detroit. The annual cap hit of $3.178 million is not what most people thought that Trevor Daley was going to get, but Detroit getting him at a bargain price is huge.
In Daley's career he has played in 894 games while tallying 78 goals to go along with 200 assists for a total of 278 points. Daley has helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals, and can help Detroit go back in the playoffs in 2017-18.
12 Overpaid - Dmitry Orlov
The Washington Capitals were the best regular season team in the National Hockey League a year ago, and some of their players have gotten overpaid because of it. One of them is the former second round pick in the 2009 NHL Draft Dmitry Orlov. Orlov and Washington signed a 6 year $30.6 million dollar contract this off season, which is a big over pay that Washington will get stuck with if it does not pan out.
In Orlov's career he has played in 283 games and has tallied 20 goals to go along with 73 assists for a total of 93 points. Orlov had his best season in 2016-17 and that is a big reason why he is getting paid as much as he is, but he is not worth it at all. Look for Washington to regret that signing, when they not only could have gotten him for cheaper, but if it doesn't pan out it will be tough to move his contract.
11 Bargain - Chris Kunitz
The Tampa Bay Lightning got one of the best bargains this summer by signing former four-time Stanley Cup Champion Chris Kunitz to a one year, $2 million contract. The former undrafted player in the 2003 NHL Draft, has been one of the better teammates that Sidney Crosby has had, and has played really well elite players. Adding him to play with Stamkos or possibly Kucherov is good for the Lightning especially at the price that they got him for.
In Kunitz's career he has played in 884 games while tallying 250 goals to go along with 330 assists for a total of 580 points. Kunitz has been a great talent throughout his career, and even though he seems to be on his last legs he is a great addition for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
10 Overpaid - Evgeny Kuznetsov
The Washington Capitals wanted to keep their core together, and they have overpaid some of their guys. One of their guys is none other than the former 26th overall selection in the 2010 NHL Draft Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov has been a solid center for the past two seasons, but to give him a 8 year $62.4 million dollar contract because of it is a serious overpay. I know Washington is trying to help get Ovechkin a Stanley Cup title before his career is over, but you are not going to do it by overpaying players.
In Kuznetsov's career he has played in 261 games while tallying 53 goals to go along with 129 assists for a total of 182 points. With Kuznetsov's cap hit being $7.8 million annually means that not only are they locked in with him for the next eight years, but if he wants out it is going to be hard to move that contract.
9 Bargain - Patrick Sharp
The Chicago Blackhawks are struggling with their cap room being so limited, yet they managed to get one of the better bargains of the summer so far. The Chicago Blackhawks signed Patrick Sharp for a one year $800,000 contract for the upcoming season. The Blackhawks have been trying to get some of their old players back to try and win another Stanley Cup and to try and compete with the likes of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sharp is a former third round pick in the 2001 NHL Draft, and has been a part of all three of Chicago's Stanley Cup championships since the 2010 season.
In Sharp's career he has played in 869 games while tallying 277 goals to go along with 322 assists for a total of 599 points. Sharp has not been healthy since he left Chicago, but he will look to prove that he still has what it takes to help bring a team to the Stanley Cup Final, and he can make more money next offseason by producing a great season in 2017-18.
8 Overpaid - Dmitry Kulikov
The Winnipeg Jets are looking to build a foundation and a good culture for all of the Winnipeg fans. One way that they are not doing that is the overpaying of defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. Winnipeg and Dmitry Kulikov agreed to a three year $13 million dollar contract this off season. Kulikov has struggled to stay healthy, throughout his whole career and I understand that it is only $13 million, but he is not worth that annual cap hit at all.
In Kulikov's career he has played in 507 games while tallying 30 goals to go along with 113 assists for a total of 143 points. The annual cap hit of $4.33 million for Kulikov is going to be a bad one for the Jets. Look for Winnipeg to regret that decision after this upcoming season.
7 Bargain - Martin Hanzal
The Dallas Stars got a center that can help in the faceoff dot, and can be an effective part of their offense. Martin Hanzal and the Dallas Stars signed a three year $14.25 million dollar contract, is one of the biggest bargains of the summer. The annual cap hit of $4.75 million is considered a huge bargain for a good solid top six forward like Martin Hanzal. The former 17th overall selection in the 2005 NHL Draft has been an all-around great top six forward the past three seasons.
In Hanzal's career he has played in 628 games while tallying 121 goals to go along with 205 assists for a total of 326 points. Dallas already having the likes of Jason Spezza, Jamie Benn, and Tyler Seguin adding a guy like Martin Hanzal to the fold is a big time upgrade and it is a big time move for a team looking to go back into the playoffs.
6 Overpaid: Carey Price
Carey Price is one of if not the best goalie in the NHL. No team relies on their goaltender as much as him and any chance the Canadiens have of contending in the coming seasons starts and ends with him. In terms of Price making $10.5 million beginning in 2018, there's nothing wrong with that, as that's what Price is worth on the open market. The problem is, where are the pieces around Price that could win a Stanley Cup? Building around a goalie who's making the most money on a team is not a recipe that's been proven to work, yet the Habs will be locked into their netminder for a long time.
The Habs already seemingly have a short window, as Shea Weber is in his early 30s and Pacioretty only has two years left on a bargain cap hit of $4.5 million. What's going to happen when Weber starts to decline? What about when Pacioretty gets a raise? With Price locked in, will there be enough money to go around to build a true Stanley Cup contender?
5 Bargain: Connor McDavid
What? How could a guy set to make $100 million over the course of eight years be a bargain? Well, this isn't any player. Connor McDavid just won a bunch of hardware in just his second NHL season and his first full season in the NHL, having played just 45 games last year. McDavid making $12.5 million a year isn't going to seem so crazy when he's in the prime of his career and the cap will (hopefully) climb making this deal even better for Edmonton. The McDavid contract actually could have been even more, but McDavid being the team player that he is reportedly took even less than he could have in order for the Oilers to take care of one of McDavid's teammates, Leon Draisaitl, who's set for quite a big payday as well this summer.
4 Overpaid: T.J. Oshie
The Capitals knew they wouldn't be able to keep their entire team intact. Everyone knew going into the season that it would be the last year their entire team would be together before having to part with some this summer. They decided T.J. Oshie would absolutely need to stay. The Caps in turn signed Oshie to an eight-year deal worth $46 million. Oshie just had his first 30-goal season this past year and while it's not crazy money to hand Oshie, giving him an eight-year deal seems a little excessive, given that Oshie is 30 years old and it's unlikely he's going to be worth that money a few years down the line. Perhaps the Caps realize this, but their window to win is now, so this had better pay off in the next couple of years.
3 Overpaid - Patrick Marleau
The Toronto Maple Leafs are poised to be one of the best teams in the National Hockey League as long as they play their cards right. Unforunately for them they needed a veteran presence, and this off season they overpaid for one. The Maple Leafs and Patrick Marleau agreed to a three year $18.75 million dollar contract, which is blasphemy to say the least. Marleau is a former second overall selection in the 1997 NHL Draft, and will be 40 years old when his contract with Toronto is over.
In Marleau's career he has played in 1,493 games while tallying 508 goals to go along with 574 assists for a total of 1,082 points. He has played his entire career with the San Jose Sharks, and this is the first time in his career that he will play for a different team. With all the miles on Marleau's legs it might be a bad idea to commit three years with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million especially if he does not pan out.
2 Bargain - Alex Galchenyuk
The Montreal Canadiens have been on the overpaid part of this list so far, but this summer they had the biggest bargain of the summer. They signed their restricted free agent Alex Galchenyuk to a three year $14.7 million contract. The Canadiens not only re-signed one of their big young pieces on offense to build around, but they got him at a price that nobody thought that they could get him for. They also managed to sign him without a no-movement clause meaning if he doesn't pan out, it'd be a lot easier to trade him.
In Galchenyuk's career he has played in 336 games while tallying 89 goals to go along with 115 assists for a total of 204 points. With Galchenyuk's $4.9 million cap hit being for the next three years, not only did Montreal steal Galchenyuk, but they signed him to one of the best deals in the National Hockey League. We have seen guys with the same talent as Galchenyuk get more money so for him to sign at Montreal for less than that is considered a big bargain for the Canadiens.
1 Overpaid - Alexander Radulov
The Dallas Stars have been on this list already for a great bargain, but unfortunately for them they had the biggest overpay of the summer. Alexander Radulov and the Dallas Stars agreed to a 5 year $31.25 million contract, and Dallas looks like they were desperate with that move. Radulov was an exceptional player for the Canadiens in his first year back in the NHL, but a five year deal which is alright for an annual cap hit of $6.25 million is a stretch.
In Radulov's NHL career he has played in 230 games while tallying 65 goals to go along with 91 assists for a total of 156 points. The Stars definitely got an upgrade by signing Radulov, but at the price that it cost them might not go their way in the long run.
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