The NHL is full of crazy moments during the year. The league also has its amazing moments during the offseason. This includes NHL contract negotiations with players who are in need of a new contract. Sometimes the contracts can be home runs while most of the time, certain contracts can be head-scratchers. This offseason was no different. Here, we break down the five worst contracts signed this offseason. This includes UFA, RFA, and extensions that were signed this offseason.
5. Seth Jones – Chicago Blackhawks
The hockey world was stunned on July 23rd when superstar defender Seth Jones was traded to Chicago. This deal was a monster blockbuster that involved a lot of picks and a promising defensive prospect. With this trade also came a contract extension with Chicago and Jones. This extension is a massive one.
The extension will start after this season, but the extension is for eight years with an average of $9.5 million. That is a lot of money committed to one defenseman. The Blackhawks just got rid of a few massive contracts from defensemen for Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. They seem to have a new contract to worry about. While Seth Jones is one of the better shutdown defenders in the league, this contract seems like a huge risk in terms of value and term. We will see how it plays out, but for now, it seems like a mistake.
🚨 TRADE ALERT 🚨
Chicago #Blackhawks acquire Seth Jones (agreement to sign 8 x $9.5M on July 28), 2021 32nd pick, and a 2022 6th RD pick from Columbus Blue Jackets for Adam Boqvist, 2021 12th pick, 2021 44th pick, and 2022 1st RD pick. #CBJ pic.twitter.com/LBwwtHnZK1
— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) July 23, 2021
4. Brandon Saad – St. Louis Blues
Brandon Saad was a fantastic hockey player during his first stint with the Chicago Blackhawks from 2012-2015. Ever since he was traded to Columbus back in 2015, he has been a solid player, but not the superstar he was becoming in Chicago. He was traded back to Chicago back in 2017 for Artemi Panarin. Fans hoped he would regain his confidence with Jonathan Toews again, but sadly, he didn’t.
After spending the season in Colorado last year, Saad became a UFA this summer. He proceeded to sign a five-year contract with the Blues with an average of $4.5 million a season. The value of this contract is fair compared to other NHL contracts signed this year. The term is what gets it on this list. Saad hasn’t produced a 50 point season since the 2016-17 season. If I am committing to an offense-based player for that long, I would want at least 50 each year. Saad is still only 28, but this contract seems a little far-fetched for what he has produced over the last few seasons.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) July 29, 2021
3. Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Carolina Hurricanes
Whether you like the contract or not, the rivalry between the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens has been a pleasure to watch grow. After trying to sign Sabastian Aho to a qualifying offer last offseason, the Canadiens got a taste of their own medicine with their own RFA. Jesperi Kotkaniemi was an RFA this year and the Canadiens owned his rights. The Hurricanes made it clear they wanted revenge for what Montreal did last year.
The Canes decided to offer sheet Kotkaniemi to a one-year contract worth $6.1 million for the season. This put the Canadiens in a position to either match the offer or let him walk and receive a first-round pick and a third-round pick as compensation from Carolina. The Habs chose to not match and take the compensation. While the revenge plan worked out for Carolina, they now have lost a first-round and third-round pick for a player that hasn’t reached his potential yet as a third-overall pick. Plus, they have to pay him over $6 million this season. The Hurricanes better hope Kotkaniemi performs this year of this might be one of the worst RFA NHL contracts signed in a long time.
We've tendered an Offer Sheet to Jesperi Kotkaniemi 👀 pic.twitter.com/4Mmw3n4DVr
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) August 28, 2021
2. Dougie Hamilton – New Jersey Devils
Dougie Hamilton was the best-ranked defenseman on the free-agent market this offseason. A lot of people suspected if he was to leave Carolina, he would go to a contender and get a massive payday. He got his payday, but he got it with a team that no one expected to be in the running. The New Jersey Devils swooped in and signed Hamilton to one of the biggest NHL contracts of the offseason. The contract is for seven seasons with an average of $9 million per season.
While Hamilton will be a great mentor for a young Devils team, the Devils are loaded with young talent at every position. That contract may be costly in the future if some of those young players flourish and are due to a massive pay increase. Statistically, Hamilton has only produced fairly in seasons where the team around him was fantastic. This Devils team is still far from being a contender, so Hamilton is going to need to step up big time to make this contract look great and to take the Devils to the next stage of their rebuild.
Dougie Hamilton – #NJD
$9M x 7
21-22: 750k + 5.55M SB
22-23: 3.3M + 3M SB
23-24: 10.6M + 2M SB
24-25: 10M + 2.6M SB
25-26: 1M + 10.55M SB
26-27: 1M + 7.4M SB
M-NTC in last 3 years: 10 team trade listhttps://t.co/2u8L7kFFsI
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 28, 2021
1. Darnell Nurse – Edmonton Oilers
This is not saying that Darnell Nurse is a bad hockey player at all. This contract just seems a little extreme in nature for what Darnell Nurse can bring to the table. On August 6th, Nurse and the Edmonton Oilers agreed on his next contract. Out of all the NHL contracts signed this offseason, this one seems like the most extreme in value. Nurse is coming off a career year last year where he posted 16 goals and 20 assists in 56 games.
This contract sees Nurse getting an increase in pay from $5.6 million this season to $9.25 million per season for the next eight seasons after this year. Nurse will be 35 when his contract expires. While this contract might not be so bad when the cap increases over time, Nurse is bound to have a decrease in production over time. With the Oilers already trying to make it work for Connor McDavid, this contract may not leave the Oilers much of a gap for any chance to help build a championship-caliber team.
8 years x $9.25M extension
2026-27: $2.0M + $6.0M SB
2027-28: $1.2M + $6.0M SB
2028-29: $1.2M + $6.0M SB
2029-30: $1.2M + $6.0M SBhttps://t.co/AlCuqEkbmu
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) August 7, 2021
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