Is it just me, or have some of the contracts that free agents have received are absolutely ridiculous? With the salary cap shrinking, one would assume that GMs would be cautious at the length and amount of money included in players’ contracts. However, this is obviously false. Just take a look at some of this year’s top free agents. A lot of average players were overpaid, and I will now examine some of these contracts.
Nathan Horton: 7 years/37.1 Million
It was nice to see the Columbus Blue Jackets land a big name player; however, they substantially overpaid for it. In Boston, Nathan Horton was on one of hockey’s top lines alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Horton decided to leave a team where he had an abundance of success to make the most amount of money possible. The Blue Jackets took a huge risk locking up the often injured Horton for 7 years. I really question Horton’s decision to leave Boston, as it will be tough to beat the line he was previously on. In the end, the Blue Jackets dished out far too much money for Horton, and took a huge risk in signing him for 7 years.
David Clarkson: 7 years/37.1 Million
To say the least David Clarkson was a pretty solid player with the New Jersey Devils. He was a hassle for opposing Dmen, he was an effective agitator, and he could put the puck in the net. But let’s be serious. A player like Clarkson should not be making over 5 million dollars. I do believe Clarkson is a good player, and I believe most GMs would want him on their teams, but 5+ million for Clarkson is a little steep. Given the style that Clarkson play’s his game, he is a risk to get hurt, so 7 years is also too much. The Leafs did a nice job in signing a top six forward who can do a little bit of everything, but they paid way too much money in doing so.
Stephen Weiss: 5 years/24.5 Million
It was a little shocking to see the Detroit Redwings land two big name free agents within hours of free agency starting. Daniel Alfredsson signed a 1 year deal in Hockeytown, while Detroit dished out a monster contract to Stephen Weiss, who scored only 1 goal in 17 games this past season. Weiss was regarded as the Florida Panther’s best player for years, but really struggled in his final year with the team. Yet he is rewarded with a large contract for his below average play. I have always been a fan of the way Stephen Weiss plays the game, but 5 million dollars is too much for the undersized forward.
Ryane Clowe: 5 years/24.25 Million
What in the world were the New Jersey Devils thinking when they offered Ryane Clowe his contract? In my opinion, Clowe is one of the most overrated players in the NHL. He struggles mightily offensively, and has no speed whatsoever. It is evident that Clowe’s career is on the decline, and it blows my mind he got a five year contract. I understand the Devils were looking to replace David Clarkson, but I believe they chose the wrong guy, and definitely paid way too much.
Tyler Bozak: 5 years/21 Million
Tyler Bozak for some reason was one of the most hyped up free agents in the 2013 class. He was undrafted out of college, and went undrafted for a reason. Bozak is considered a top six forward; however, he has never scored over 20 goals in a year, never recorded more than 47 points and is a career minus 50. I have never understood why Bozak has received all the glory he has throughout his career. He is undersized and has done nothing to impress me, and I believe that Nonis and the Leafs made a big mistake by paying Bozak north of 4 million dollars per year.
To have a successful NHL team, you must build through the draft, and fill the remaining holes via free agency. We have seen a lot of teams do the opposite of this thus far. GMs are forking out large amounts of cash and overpaying players left, right and centre. We have seen in the past that signing the top available free agents to big contracts isn’t necessarily the right way to go. Hopefully for these teams, this is money well spent.