The Worst Contracts of the 2018 NHL Offseason

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote my first post about what I believe are five of the best contracts signed this offseason. Surprisingly, no one argued with me on my opinions.

Of course, with every "best of" post comes the "worst of." Since my last post, a few players - namely have signed contracts and others - William Nylander, Darnell Nurse and Sam Reinhart - remain unsigned for the upcoming season.

Even though there have been players that have received new deals over the last couple of weeks, I'm going to talk about my original list of the worst contracts of the offseason. Keep in mind, not all of them are necessarily awful, but they're not exactly good, either. The deals I have listed are on a wide scale of bad, ranging from "meh" to "YIKES."

Without further ado, in no particular order, here's a list of the five worst deals of the offseason.


Source: USA Today

Evander Kane - Left Wing, San Jose Sharks

7 years, $7 million AAV

2018 Stats: 78 GP, 29 G, 25 A, 54 P

Career Stats: 652 GP, 215 G, 193 A, 408 P

When this deal was signed in May, I didn't think too much of it, probably because the playoffs were happening and I couldn't concentrate on much else. And then even throughout the summer, I never paid a considerable amount of attention to this deal. Then I scrolled through CapFriendly to pick out the best and worst contracts from this offseason. I spotted the Evander Kane deal, looked at the Sharks' page, and said out loud, "Oh, no."

Look, it's not awful, but it's pretty bad. Considering the Sharks still needed to resign Logan Couture, Joe Thornton and Martin Jones, this deal doesn't make a ton of sense. The numbers aren't there to support this type of money, especially because Kane's a winger. He had the second-best season of his career last year, with his best prior to that being 57 points in 2011-2012 with Winnipeg. Additionally, he has only hit 30 goals once and has never surpassed 30 assists. His possession stats are decent (50.8% Corsi-for overall), but it's nothing that stands out.

Doug Wilson does a lot of good things - just take a look at the Karlsson trade, flipping Hoffman to the Panthers, the Joe Thornton trade from way back when, etc. But sometimes, a deal that's bad enough can come back to bite (no pun intended). If Kane got less money and maybe a year less, this wouldn't look so bad. Did I mention he has a modified no-trade clause as well?

Source: The Hockey News & Getty Images

Mark Stone - Right Wing, Ottawa Senators

1 year, $7.35 million AAV

2018 Stats: 58 GP, 20 G, 42 A, 62 P

Career Stats: 307 GP, 95 G, 154 P, 249 P

This contract is on the list not because Mark Stone is a bad player that doesn't deserve this money, but actually because he's a fantastic player that deserves more than this. But then again, it's the Ottawa Senators. No one's expecting a lot from them anymore.

Stone's an established player in the NHL, and yet somehow these negotiations went to arbitration. Since he entered the league in 2013, he's 2nd on the Senators in points behind Erik Karlsson. Even with his injuries last year, he scored 1.06 points per game and led the team - along with Karlsson - in points. If he played 82 games, he would've scored roughly 87 points, which would've slotted him into the top 20 in the league for scoring. Stone is also a great possession guy. He's never had below 50% Corsi-for in his career.

Like I said, this contract is on the list not because of Stone himself, but because of Ottawa's poor management skills. Unless they figure out a way to sign him during the season, I can't see Mark Stone staying in town past this upcoming year. Teams will bet on him during free agency, and he'd probably make a ton of money. Keep an eye on this team to see if the Senators keep him in their "plans to rebuild" or not.

Source: Five For Howling (SBNation)

Christian Dvorak - Center/Left Wing, Arizona Coyotes

6 years, $4.45 million AAV

2018 Stats: 78 GP, 15 G, 22 A, 37 P

Career Stats: 156 GP, 30 G, 40 A, 70 P

Since John Chayka took over as general manager, I've liked a lot of what the Coyotes have done. They've managed to build up their roster via trade and free agency. Their last few drafts have been decent, as well. The Coyotes are heading in the right direction and could definitely be in playoff contention within the next couple of years.

Moves like the Christian Dvorak extension leave me slightly worried about the way some things are being handled. Yeah, Dvorak's a pretty good center. At 22 years old, he's totaled 70 points in 156 games and has received decent ice time for a younger guy. But this team has a lot of centers, so where exactly does he slot in? If he ends up being Arizona's third-line center, should he be making almost $4.5 million a year?

As much as everyone hates bridge deals, this seemed like the perfect scenario for a bridge deal: get Dvorak to prove he can be consistent with a two-year bridge deal and then sign him long-term to buy UFA years. To me, that makes perfect sense. But then again, this is also the organization that continues to demote Dylan Strome, a third-overall pick, for "improvement."

This isn't a knock on Dvorak at all, by the way. I happen to think he's a great player and the Coyotes should hang on to him for as long as possible. He's a key piece to their puzzle. The Coyotes just managed these negotiations poorly, in my opinion, which hasn't happened all that often. Luckily, a lot of their past moves are so good it makes it easier to overlook the not-so-good deals. Truthfully, one bad extension won't kill the Coyotes' bright future.


Ryan Reaves - Right Wing, Vegas Golden Knights

2 years, $2.775 million AAV

2018 Stats: 79 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 P

Career Stats: 498 GP, 31 G, 30 A, 61 P

Don't get me wrong. General manager George McPhee has made some very brilliant moves in his short tenure with the Golden Knights. He handled the expansion draft exceptionally well with his selections and manipulation of teams through trades. However, just like any other GM, some of McPhee's decisions are questionable. Ryan Reaves' extension is most certainly one of them.

At 31 years old, Reaves has been in the NHL for eight seasons, spending seven of them with the St. Louis Blues. During his time there, he only scored more than 10 points twice. He averaged eight minutes of ice time and never played more than 711 minutes in a single season. With the Penguins and Golden Knights, Reaves recorded 10 points in 79 games. If he was the type of guy to be decent in the playoffs, I could see why McPhee signed him to this deal, but he's only scored three points in 49 career playoff games. You read that right.

Somewhere in the hockeysphere, there's a crowd willing to argue that Reaves deserves his money because he's a "hard-working guy" and "you can't measure grit in numbers." While I admire hard-nosed guys like Reaves and many other 4th-liners in the league, someone who almost never scores more than 10 points a season with poor possession numbers shouldn't be making almost $3 million.

Source: SBNation & Getty Images

Tom Wilson - Right Wing, Washington Capitals

6 years, $5.17 million AAV

2018 Stats: 78 GP, 14 G, 21 A, 35 P

Career Stats: 391 GP, 35 G, 69 A, 104 P

I bet you all have been patiently waiting for this name to pop up somewhere in here. Caps fans are probably getting ready to defend this move and come to general manager Brian MacLellan's rescue. And yes, I understand that after not being able to make it past the second round for 20 years, they did. Trust me, I am extremely happy the Caps finally won the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 44-year history. However, there's simply no way to defend this contract. At all.

Prior to last season, Wilson never scored more than seven goals and barely tallied more than 20 points in a season. His highest point total was 23 points in 2015-16. He wasn't very good in the playoffs, either, only picking up five points in 53 playoff games. He definitely had a much better season last year, setting career-highs in goals (14), assists (21) and points (35). In the Caps' Cup run, he had 15 points in 21 games. All of Wilson's last season shows signs of improvement on the offensive front.

With that being said, it's hard to improve your play on the ice when you're always in the penalty box. Since arriving in the NHL in 2013, Wilson has consistently been top five in the league in penalty minutes. One time, he finished out of the top 5: his rookie year, when he recorded 151 PIM, good for 7th in the NHL. He actually leads the league in penalty minutes since his NHL debut. While Wilson has only been suspended twice in his career, there are a surplus of incidents where he should've received discipline and didn't.

It's difficult to look at Wilson's career and think he's learned a lesson about playing by the rules. I can't figure out exactly how the Capitals handed him this contract. If this is where the two sides settled, I'm definitely interested to see the number Wilson and his agent aimed for in negotiations. For the Caps' benefit as well as his own, I genuinely hope Tom Wilson has an exceptional season so his contract is worth something.


Follow Juliana Nikac on Twitter: @juliananikac.

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