The 20 most overpaid NHLers making more than $3.5M per year

One month into the 2010-11 NHL season, it’s time to have a look at the most overpaid NHLers who don’t contribute as much as their team and the general manger who signed them would like. I have not included players whose contract is buried in the AHL or oversees such as Jeff Finger, Wade Redden, Sheldon Souray, Michal Nylander and Cristobal Huet. Players are listed by team alphabetical order.

1. Jason Blake, Anaheim – $4,000,000 cap hit Signed as a free agent by Toronto in 2007-08 and the traded to Anaheim last season, Blake has only 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 pts in 12 games this season.

2. Tomas Vanek, Buffalo – $7,142,857 cap hit Signed to an offer sheet in 2007-08 by GM Kevin Lowe, Buffalo GM Darcy Regier decided to match the offer. Since then Vanek’s play has regressed. He has 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 pts in 13 games this year.

3. Jay Bouwmeester, Calgary – $6,680,000 cap hit Acquired from Florida by the Flames before the 2009-10 season, Bouwmeester’s offence has always been overrated, having never broke the 50-point barrier in a single season. So for this year, he has only 1 goal and 3 assists for 4 pts in 12 games.

4. Brian Campbell, Chicago – $7,142,875 cap hit Coming as a free agent before the 2008-09 season, Campbell’s huge salary has caused many headaches to recently appointed GM Stan Bowman, who had to get rid of many key players following the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory. Campbell has only played two games this season due to injury, scoring one goal.

5. Scott Hannan, Colorado – $4,500,000 cap hit Signed as a free agent by Colorado in 2007-08, Hannan has only scored five goals in 255 games with the Avalanche. This campaign, Hannan has 2 assists in 12 games.

6. Mike Commodore, Columbus – $3,750,000 cap hit Signed as a free agent by Columbus in 2007-08, Commodore has never been known for his offensive talents. However, Commodore has been injured more often than not since coming to the Blue Jackets, playing only 2 games this season and scoring zero point.

7. Nikolai Khabibulin. Edmonton – $3,750,000 cap hit Signed as a free agent by Edmonton in 2009-10, the veteran netminder has been horrendous for the Oilers on the ice. He also got charged with DUI in Arizona, making things even worse for him. This year, the Bullin Wall has only three wins and a 3.45 GAA in nine games.

8. Scott Gomez, Montreal – $7,357,143 cap hit Acquired prior to the 2009-10 season by Montreal, Gomez had an average year last season, recording 59 points in 78 games. However, so far this campaign, Gomez is off to a horrendous start with only 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 pts in 12 games for the Habs.

9. Jaroslav Spacek, Montreal – $3,833,333 cap hit Signed as a free agent by Bob Gainey in 2009-10 to jumpstart the power play, Spacek has been steadily declining in a Hab uniform. This season, Spacek has been a turnover machine while notching only 2 assists in 12 games for Montreal.

10. David Legwand, Nashville – $4,500,000 cap hit Prior to the 2008-09, Nashville re-signed Legwand to a multi-year contract hoping for leadership and offensive production. Well, after two seasons of only 42 and 38 points respectively, Legwand has only scored 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 pts in 11 games this season.

11. Brian Rolston, New Jersey – $5,062,500 cap hit Signed as a free agent prior to the 2008-09 season, Rolston has been unable to reach the 40-point mark with the Devils. Rolston is currently on the LTIR for New Jersey, recording zero point in two games this season.

12. Rick Dipietro, NY Islanders – $4,500,000 cap hit Re-signed to a 15-year contract prior to the 2006-07 season, Dipietro’s career has been marred with injuries. This season, Dipietro has been healthy, but he’s also been mediocre posting a 4.21 GAA and a pathetic .854 save %.

13. Chris Drury, NY Rangers – $7,050,000 cap hit Signed by Glen Sather as a free agent in 2007. Drury’s offensive production has steadily declined in the past four years and his leadership qualities have also been questioned. He has only played one game this season, battling injuries.

14. Alexei Kovalev, Ottawa – $5,000,000 cap hit Signed as a free agent prior to the 2009-10 season by Ottawa, Kovalev has been a big disappointment so far for the Senators. As streaky as they come, Kovalev has only 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 pts in 13 games this year.

15. Andrej Meszaros, Philadelphia – $4,000,000 cap hit Acquired from the Lightning before the season by the Flyers, Meszaros’ offensive production has gone AWOL since leaving Ottawa for Tampa Bay. And things haven’t changed in Philadelphia, Meszaros notching only 2 assists in 12 games in 2010-11.

16. Eric Brewer, St. Louis – $4,250,000 cap hit Re-signed as a RFA by St. Louis in the summer of 2006, Brewer has never reached the 30-point plateau in his career. Moreover, he has been bit by the injury bug the past two seasons, missing 77 games due to injuries. This season, Brewer has recorded zero point in ten games for the Blues.

17. Brad Boyes, St. Louis – $4,000,000 cap hit Coming off a career-year during which he scored 43 goals and 22 assists for 65 points in 2007-08, the Blues re-signed Boyes to a multi-year contract hoping for offense. While Boyes scored 72 points in the first one his contract, his offensive production declined steadily last season, Boyes scoring only 14 goals and 42 points. This year, he has only 1 goal and 3 assists for 4 pts in 10 games.

18. Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay – $7,727,273 cap hit Lecavalier was signed to a 11-year contract extension by Tampa Bay before the 2009-10 season. Lecavalier rewarded the Lightning with a paltry 70-point campaign in 2009-10, not enough for the offensive leader of this franchise. This season, Lecavalier has struggled, scoring only 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points in 11 games.

19. Ryan Malone, Tampa Bay – $4,500,000 cap hit Signed as a free agent before the 2008-09 season by the Lightning, Malone’s production has been sub-par so far in Tampa Bay. Malone only recorded 45 and 47 points the past two seasons with his new team. This campaign, Malone has played on the third line and has only managed 1 goal despite adding 6 assists for 7 points in 11 games.

20. Mike Komisarek, Toronto $4,500,000 cap hit After flourishing as a bruising defenseman in Montreal, Komisarek joined the Maple Leafs as a free agent in 2009. Last season, he missed 48 games due to injuries in a season to forget. This year, Komisarek has 1 goal and 4 assists for 5 pts in 12 games.

If you think I missed an overpaid NHLer, please let me know in the comments section.

The above general managers should also take the following notes: 7 ways to (legally) circumvent the NHL salary cap 101 and avoid throwing money out the window at overrated players.

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About the Author: Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 33, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he's also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TB Lightning Feed and Fred Poulin, Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay Lightning said: NHL TBlightning The 15 most overpaid NHLers making more than $3.5M per year [...]

  2. wb philp says:

    Great list Fred, but where’s the Lightning contingent? Vinny Lecavalier makes $10 million (Cap hit of $7,727,27) for the next eight years! Last season, the former 52 goal Stanley Cup winner managed only 24 goals and 46 assists and was a -16 while achieving a paltry shooting percentage of 8.1! Yikes! His numbers have declined rapidly over the last three seasons. This year he has three goals and six points in 11 games.

    Ryan Malone is another example of a lame Lightning player with a big contract. “Bugsy” makes $6 million (Cap hit of $4,500,000). Last season he had 21 goals and 26 assists and was a -8 while playing in a low 89 games. He didn’t score a goal after early January! This year he has one goal in 12 games and is a -6! Ouch!

  3. J. OzVath says:

    I’ll be honest. There is someone making 8.7 mil on the Pens roster who only has 3G 6A in 12 games. For most people that would be really good, but at that pricetag?

    Making it look like last year was not a fluke is Evgeni Malkin who is hugely overpaid for how he has played the last season +12 games.

    I hope he puts my shoe in my mouth, but if he is still slumping in February the Pens have to consider lifting the load off their salary.

  4. Fred Poulin says:

    I’m pretty sure Malkin will turn things over once fully healthy. As for Vinny and Malone, I could have included them in my list, I agree. I’m fairly confident Lecavalier will start producing when he has better wingers than Mattias Ritola and Sean Bergenheim.

  5. Al Cimaglia says:

    Here’s a winner from the Central Division.

    David Legwand… 38 pts over 82 games….4.5 mil. through 2013-2014

  6. Fred Poulin says:

    I added five players to the list: Brian Campbell, David Legwand, Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Malone and Brad Boyes!

  7. StairBob Spongepants says:

    How can you leave Kovalchuk off the list? If he scored a goal every game, he’d still have to be considered overpaid, because the Devils can’t put a full roster on the ice due to his hit on the cap. It is certainly not his fault, but an 80 goal scorer on a last place team is overpaid. They could come in last place without his 80 goals.

  8. Fred Poulin says:

    I left Kovalchuk out, because he has only played a few games under his new contract, so it’s too early to judge. I do agree that his contract will likely be a burden for years to come in New Jersey.

  9. Al Cimaglia says:

    Campbell is similar to Lecavalier…

    Overpaid yes…But the team would not be the same without him.

  10. Scott Hannan may be overpaid but he saved the Avs from having to make any kind of significant move over the summer. With out that salary they wouldn’t have made the salary floor. It’s not JUST about points scored!! :)

  11. Christian says:


  12. Fred Poulin says:

    I left Roszival out because he has a strong start of the season and his veteran presence is vital to a young defensive corps in New York with Redden’s demotion to the AHL.

  13. [...] You can follow me here on Twitter. Find which defensemen are overpaid in the above list here The 20 most overpaid NHLers making more than $3.5M per year [...]

  14. Oddmott says:

    I used to always push for Mike Fisher’s inclusion on such lists, but I think that next to Kovalev on Ottawa, Michalek is absolutely useless for his contract… and it only increases in cost over its final 3 seasons.

  15. Fred Poulin says:

    The problem with Michalek is that he’s always been inconsistent (in San Jose too) and now with his knee injuries, he’s been playing a tentative hockey game.

  16. samTHEman says:

    Add to list:

    1. Roman Hamrlik – 5.75M/year
    2. Dion Phaneuf – 6.5M/year