NHL is slowly approaching the 2019-20 season. With some significant contracts signed and sealed. New players are ready for the ice; there is also a fair share of bad deals which must be resolved. In NHL it isn’t as easy to get rid of a bad contract as in some of the other Major Leagues. You can’t hide them, and you can’t trade them unless you find a manager willing to take your mistakes on. With a hard cap salary, it will most probably cost you more than what you would like. So who are some of this season’s bad contracts?
Ryan Kesler for the Anaheim Ducks
With their focus set on winning the Stanley Cup, they probably knew the results of this deal working out well aren’t great, yet that wasn’t as important as the Cup at that time. The Ducks didn’t win the Cup, and they also realized that their enthusiasm regarding Kesler was overrated. During his first season, it still went well with him getting 58 points. From there though it took a nosedive to a mere 8 points during the 2018-19 season. Signed in on a $6.875 million contract, this one is going to cost them even more than just money. The assumption is that Kesler will probably not play this season and that the Ducks will give him a long term reservation on the injury bench.
Kyle Okposo at the Buffalo Sabres
NHL free agents signed deals all over during the 2016 summer. Very few of them turned out to be great. This was a lesson which the Buffalo Sabres also had to learn. They had hope for Kyle Okposo when signing him on, but they were wrong. During his first year, he did relatively spoken not so bad, with 65 games and bringing in 45 points. Then he went onto a gradual decline until reaching a low of only 29 points from 78 games. In his defence, Okposo did suffer some injuries which probably negatively affected his match. One of these had him hospitalized with signs of having a concussion. Currently, though, he is earning the salary and yet not delivering in return. His playing time also got dramatically cut, yet he is signed at a $6 million cap.
James Neal for the Calgary Flames
Last on this list, which can continue for many more pages, is the hope of the Flames which got extinguished. Neal had all the promise of being a great scorer when signed on. That was precisely what the Flames needed to fix a scoring issue. Even though Neal never scored less than 20 goals in one season before the Flames, he only managed to get out seven goals during the 2018-19 season with a mere 19 points. Maybe a bad year for Neal or maybe age catching up rudely, yet he is not contributing much to the Flames and their score concerns. Signed at a $5.75 million cap for four years, one can only hope for improvement.