In 2016 there were lots of huge moves made by the teams in the NHL. From trades to free agent signings, a lot of big players and big money were passed around the league. Some of these moves paid off and some of them were epic failures. We will be counting down the "worst" of these moves here today.
The Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils trade along with the Blockbuster trade between the Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators shocked the NHL. One of the players involved in these trades will make the list. The fun part of moves like these is looking back on it and judging who exactly won the move. One year may be too early to call for some of these but impacts were definitely made for some clubs
Some moves are more regrettable because of who the team's let get away. Most however were free agent signings that just did not pan out like any team expected it to. This list will count down the 15 NHL moves made in 2016 that teams already regret. So buckle up, grab a box of tissues and let's get this bad boy started.
15 Habs Signing Andrew Shaw To Six-Year Extension
Andrew Shaw did not have a horrible season with the Canadiens based on his history in the NHL. The problem is he was expected to do much more on a Canadiens team that offered him much more ice-time. When he played with the Chicago Blackhawks he played fewer minutes but scored more points. Shaw plays a very agitating and gritty game that sometimes bites him and his team in the butt. Shaw was suspended once this season for a dirty hit. It is not the first time he has been suspended by the NHL and I doubt it will be the last.
Shaw only scored 12 goals and added 17 assists in 29 games this season. He will need to learn to toe the line and chip in more offensively. He also suffered multiple concussions which is concerning for the Habs who are on the hook for five more years at $3.9 million a season.
14 Boyd Gordon
Now I am sure the Flyers didn't expect much from Boyd Gordon but I'm sure even they expected more than they got. Gordon only played 13 games this season for the Flyers. He scored 1 goal all year and struggled to stay healthy. Gordon was brought in for his defensive and faceoff ability but he couldn't even stay in the lineup. The Flyers struggled all year, Gordon only cost them $950,000 but it is safe to say his time with the Flyers is over. Thankfully, this was a low risk deal for the Flyers to make. Gordon was a vet in the league and this is his worst ever season. I will be surprised if he plays another game in the NHL ever again.
13 The Devils trading for Taylor Hall
Okay, this wasn't a huge failure for the New Jersey Devils based on just Taylor Hall's production. The problem wasn't just his offensive output. The team could not survive the loss of Adam Larrson. Despite having the same top goalie Cory Schneider, The Devils allowed 39 more goals this season without Larsson. To top it off Taylor Hall did not light the league on fire like the Devils thought he would. Hall only scored 20 goals and added 33 assists in 72 games with the Devils. He struggled at times during the season due to having no offensive players to help carry the load. The trade worked out great for the Oilers but the Devils struggled. Perhaps winning the draft lottery will help them find a top center to play with Hall.
12 The Stars Giving Up On Jack Campbell
Poor Dallas Stars. They drafted Jack Campbell 11th overall way back in 2010. He made his debut for their AHL team in 2011 and he struggled mightily. It got so bad he played more games in the ECHL in 2015-16. The Stars gave up on Campbell as he signed a deal with the L.A. Kings. A shocking injury to Jonathon Quick opened up the starting spot in the AHL for Campbell and he dominated. He finished the year 32-15-0. It was his best season by far. If this is a sign of what is to come then the Stars are going to be kicking themselves as their overpaid goaltenders continue to drag their team down to the bottom of the standings. This will be a pivotal offseason for the Stars.
11 The Blues trading for Nail Yakupov
I don't think many people were surprised by the struggles of Nail Yakupov with the St. Louis Blues. The former #1 overall pick will go down as one of the biggest busts in recent NHL history. He scored a total of 17 goals in his rookie season, which was only a 48-game lockout shortened season, but he has struggled mightily since then. The Blues were hoping they could reinvigorate the struggling Russian. Boy were they wrong. Yakupov was a healthy scratch for most of the season. He only played 40 games where he scored an astonishingly bad 3 goals and added 6 assists. That's truly pathetic and it will be hard to see him get a shot in the NHL again. Odds are we'll see him in the KHL very soon.
10 Oilers signing Jonas Gustavsson
What happened to The Monster?!?! after a solid 2015-16 NHL season with the Bruins, Gustavsson was signed by the Edmonton Oilers to compete with Cam Talbot or at the very least be a solid backup. Jonas was neither of those. Gustavsson only got into seven games with the Oilers and had a record of 1-3-1 with a GAA of 3.10 and a pathetic .878 save percentage. The Oilers leaned heavily on Talbot this season and would rather have untested rookie Laurent Brossoit. Brossoit proved to be a much more capable backup appearing in eight games with a record of 4-1-0 with a GAA of 1.99 and an acceptable .928 save percentage. Gustavsson was sent down to the minors where his struggles continued. I bet Gustavsson will be tending the net overseas next year.
9 Ottawa Trading For Derick Brassard
Derick Brassard was acquired from the New York Rangers in exchange for Mika Zibanejad. The Senators wanted a bit more experience so they traded their young up and comer for the 29-year-old Brassard. Brassard had two long playoff runs with the New York Rangers and hoped to bring that experience to a young Senators squad. This season was a disappointment for Brassard. He struggled to get his offense going and ended the season with just 14 goals and 25 assists in 81 games. The fact they gave up Mika Zibanejad and a 2nd round pick, the Sens expected more from Brassard than what they got. He makes $5 million a year and he needs to bounce back big next season.
8 Tampa Giving Up On Jonathan Marchessault
Oh, Tampa you gave up on a promising young center way too soon. After three seasons in the organization with very little opportunity, Jonathan Marchessault signed a two year deal with the Florida Panthers. Due to serious injury trouble, the Panthers gave Marchessault a chance on the top line and he paid off in a big way. Marchessault scored 30 goals and added 21 assists in 75 games this past season. He tailed off towards the end of the season but the fact this was his first real season in the NHL he did amazing.
Tampa struggled this year with injuries at center, and may lose some key players this year due to cap issues. It sure would have been nice having Marchessault sitting there waiting in the wings to pounce on the opportunity.
7 Detroit Overpaying Danny DeKeyser
The Detroit Red Wings are a team that rarely makes mistakes, but heading into this season they made two fairly big ones. Danny DeKeyser was an RFA heading into this season. Feeling the pressure to lock up their promising defenseman, The Red wings signed him to a six-year deal worth $30 million. DeKeyser rewarded them with the worst statistical season of his career. DeKeyser played all 82 games but struggled all season to get his game going. DeKeyser scored 4 goals and added 8 assists for only 12 points. A plus player his whole career, DeKeyser dipped to minus-22 this season. He is young and can still bounce back. The Red Wings need him to bounce back in a big way if they want to get back to the playoffs next season.
6 Dallas Signing Dan Hamhuis
Dan Hamhuis had a trying year this season with the Dallas Stars. Like the team itself, Hamhuis struggled to really get anything going. He didn't seem to gel with the team very well. Hamhuis is 34 and definitely not getting any younger. The Stars are on the hook for one more year with Hamhuis at a cost of $3.75 million. Hamhuis has definitely lost a step or two and there is no telling how well he will do next season.
Dallas needs Hamhuis to step up in a big way next season and chip in offensively like he always has. That may be too much to ask though, as Hamhuis is probably relied on a little too much in Dallas due to a thin blue line. In any event, Hamhuis needs to bounce back if he wants to earn one last big contract in the NHL.
5 Detroit Signing Frans Nielsen To A Big Deal
This was the first year of a six year contract that the Detroit Red Wings signed Frans Nielsen to. If it is any indication of his future performance than it could be a long five years. Nielsen was brought in to score goals and was given much more responsibility than he had with the Islanders. He responded with only 17 goals and 24 assists as the Red wings ended their legendary playoff streak. This was Nielsen's lowest point total in a full season since 2009-10. It could just be a case of him being on a new team but the Red Wings have to hope that Nielsen finds his game next season. The Wings now have to begin a rebuild and Nielsen just seems doomed to fail in Detroit over the next few seasons.
4 Islanders Letting Okposo Walk, Signing Andrew Ladd
Andrew Ladd was the big free agent signing in 2016 by the New York Islanders. He was signed to replace some of the production lost by Kyle Okposo. The team didn't make much of an effort to sign Okposo, They thought Ladd's leadership would be a great addition to the team. Ladd had a horrific season with the Islanders. In 78 games Ladd scored 23 goals and added 8 assists. Okposo actually had more points with the Sabres despite playing fewer games. This seems like a two-fold regret for the Islanders, as they sacrificed the chemistry Okposo had with Tavares and got an underperforming Ladd.
The Islanders gave Ladd a seven-year deal worth $38.5 million. If he doesn't improve this could be an albatross of a contract that holds the Islanders down for years to come.
3 Calgary Signing Brian Elliott
The Calgary Flames brought in Brian Elliott during the 2016 NHL Draft in exchange for a 2016 second round pick and a conditional third round pick in 2017. He had a horrible season between the pipes for the Flames. It got so bad that Calgary started journeyman netminder Chad Johnson.
Elliott started the year with a record of 3-9-1 and a 3.31 GAA. He bounced back somewhat ending the year with a record of 26-18-3 and a 2.55 GAA. Despite this, Elliott struggled in the playoffs as the Flames got swept in four. Look for Calgary to make a splashy addition that would become the new starter for the 2017-18 season. There are some big name goaltenders on the market, so the Flames could definitely find an upgrade this summer.
2 Five Years For David Backes
David Backes was the heart and soul of the St. Louis Blues for many years. After repeated failures in the playoffs, Backes moved on from the Blues and signed with the Boston Bruins. Backes signed a five-year deal worth $30 million on July 1st, 2016. This season was a huge failure for Backes. He had the lowest point total since his sophomore season in the NHL. Backes played 74 games for the Bruins and only had 17 goals and 21 assists. He lacked the physicality he showed as a leader on the Blues. The Bruins flamed out in round one and they have to hope that Backes will bounce back next season. There's a lot of hard miles on Backes so it's hard to see him getting better over the course of his contract.
1 Canucks Signing Loui Eriksson
Oh boy, what an epic failure this signing turned out to be. The thought was with all the experience Eriksson had playing with the Sedins would lead to great success for the team. That blew up in the Canucks' face spectacularly. Eriksson had the worst statistical year since his rookie season. That includes the 48 game lockout season. Eriksson only scored 11 goals and added 13 assists in 65 games. It was a truly pathetic showing and played a part in how bad the Canucks were this season. The Canucks need to do a full rebuild, and the fact they are paying Eriksson $6 million a year for the same production that a 3rd line winger could provide will hamper their attempts to rebuild. This was definitely a terrible move.
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