When an NHL team signs a new player, they are depending on that player becoming a reliable player for them, whether he be a first-line sniper or a fourth-line bruiser. The hope is that they earn all the money that they gave the player in his new contract. The problem is, not all players end up earning their new contract.
These players and their contracts become unwanted by their teams and inevitably everyone in the city wants them gone. It gets to the point where they will give him away for nothing if they could. Sure, they would like to get some value in return, but getting rid of $7 million in cap space is value by itself.
Almost every team in the NHL has one player they would like to get rid of to free up cap space. The teams that don't are either the best at spending money wisely or it's practically impossible that they can have a player like that.
Here are the players that would be unemployed if their general managers could find a way to dump their contract.
Cap Hit: $5.1 million
Bobby Ryan has been hearing his name in trade rumors almost non-stop, with this offseason looking like he will finally get moved. The Ducks might not want to trade Ryan, but with Ryan Getzlaf and Correy Perry becoming unrestricted free agents next summer, they might have no choice.
Cap Hit: $5 million
With Tim Thomas taking next season off, Boston doesn't want $5 million sitting around doing nothing.
Cap Hit: $4 million
Last season, Christian Ehrhoff had is worst offensive season since the 2007-08 season. In a season where he was making $10 million, it was a very disappointing season. Making $8 million this year, another bad season will be unacceptable and Ehrhoff's spot on this list will be justified.
Cap Hit: $6.68 million
When the Calgary Flames acquired and signed Dennis Wideman to a five-year deal, Jay Bouwmeester's career with the Calgary Flames appeared to be numbered and it might still be.
If Jay Feaster can find a suitor that will give him a good deal in return, getting rid of Bouwmeester's salary would do the Flames some good.
Cap Hit: $1.6 million
While Carolina doesn't have any cap problems by any means, if they are to get better and contend for the Stanley Cup once again they are going to have to get better players to play Jiri Tlusty's role.
I have nothing against him, but Tlusty is arguably still better known for his nude-photo scandal rather than his on-ice play. That's never a good sign.
Cap Hit: $3.5 million
Another case in which one player signing might cause another to leave is happening in Chicago. Johnny Oduya's re-signing meant that the Blackhawks will have $19 million going to their defense core.
Trading Niklas Hjalmarsson has been brought up in the past to shed cap space, but it's yet to be seen whether it will happen.
Cap Hit: $6.6 million
With last season's leading scorer Ryan O'Reilly still without a contract for next season, Paul Stastny's status is up in the air. If O'Reilly gets equal to or more than Matt Duchene got in his new contract, Stastny might be put on the trading block.
The Colorado Avalanche do not want a player making over $6 million playing on their third line.
Cap Hit: $7.8 million
This one's pretty much a given. He wants out, the team needs to trade him, it's as simple as that.
UPDATED AFTER TRADE: Told you so.
Cap Hit: $4.1 million
The signings of Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney aside, the Dallas Stars are becoming a younger team. Their captain might have to be moved to allow them to complete the transition.
No one spends money better than the Red Wings. They don't need to get rid of any players to free up cap space.
Cap Hit: $3.2 million
The contract that I thought the Edmonton Oilers to get rid of was that of Ales Hemsky. Since they brought him back, my fall back is Sam Gagner. Getting rid of him would not only free up cap space, but they could probably get a young defenseman out of the deal.
Cap Hit: $1.2 million
I know they just re-signed him this offseason, but I still think he should be sent packing. With Jacob Markstrom probably ready for the NHL and the fact that the Panthers are in on the Roberto Luongo sweepstakes should have signaled Clemmensen's departure.
Cap Hit: $1.25 million
Jonathan Bernier has made it clear that he wants out. The team should do everything possible to grant his request.
Cap Hit: $7.5 million
Is it just me, or does anyone think it's weird that Dany Heatley's contract is always a bad one that no one wants, yet for someone reason, he gets traded every few seasons?
Cap Hit: $7,357,143
Scott Gomez is the poster child for bad contracts everywhere.
If there's a contract that Nashville wants to get rid of, it's the offer sheet that Philadelphia signed Shea Weber to.
Cap Hit: $3.4 million
New Jersey has eight players becoming free agents next year. Among them are Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac and David Clarkson. After losing Zach Parise, the Devils won't want to lose Zajac and Clarkson for sure, so another free agent-to-be in Dainius Zubrus will have to go.
Cap Hit: $4.5 million
Is there any other choice?
Cap Hit: $4.2
If Brandon Dubinsky doesn't fully get himself out of John Tortorella's dog house, he will be sent packing as soon as possible. That is if he isn't sent to Columbus in a deal for Rick Nash before then.
UPDATED AFTER TRADE: Told you again.
Cap Hit: $5.5 million
The Ottawa Senators have been trying to get rid of Sergei Gonchar's contract for a while. Trade deadline after trade deadline, offseason after offseason. You can be sure that you will here that the Senators are shopping Gonchar at some point in the season.
Cap Hit: $4,921,429
If Nashville doesn't match the offer sheet Shea Weber received, Philadelphia might have to trade Chris Pronger and his contract to a team trying to get to the cap floor.
I'm pretty sure a team run by the league can have a player with a bad contract. It's because they don't get the chance to overpay for players.
Cap Hit: $5 million
On July 1, 2010, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed both Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin. To this date, those signings have not worked out as Michalek has been traded back to the Phoenix Coyotes and Paul Martin has been surrounded by trade rumors since the Penguins were eliminated from the playoffs.
Cap Hit: $6.9 million
Patrick Marleau has had a love-hate relationship with the San Jose Sharks for some time. He's been captain, then stripped of the role. He's been on the trade market, and then pulled off. Now, his contract might be too much for a team to take on if they wanted to get rid of him.
Cap Hit: $3,362,500
Just as in the case of Carolina, Alex Steen isn't a detriment to St. Louis, but they could do better.
Cap Hit: $7,727,273
When the Tampa Bay Lightning were talking to Vancouver about Roberto Luongo, they said they would only take on Luongo's contract if the Canucks took Vincent Lecavalier. That's a sign they wouldn't mind getting rid of that contract.
Cap Hit: $4.5 million
Leaf fans have been saying it for years. Mike Komisarek needs to go. While he performed better last year, he still didn't justify that contract he has.
Cap Hit: $5,333,333
The entire situation with Roberto Luongo shows why he is on this list. There might not be a bigger mess in the NHL right now.
If the Washington Capitals continue playing like they did last season in their defensive-minded system, the man to the left might be on this list.
Cap Hit: $4,062,500
If the Alexei Ponikarovsky experiment doesn't work to get Nik Antropov back on track, Antropov might be sent packing before his contract runs out at the end of the season.