NHL Free Agents: Worst Fool's Gold NHL Signings Ever

Amy StreiferCorrespondent IAugust 3, 2012

NHL Free Agents: Worst Fool's Gold NHL Signings Ever

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    There are many players that are expected to succeed in the NHL, but serious injuries very often can ruin a hockey player's career. Other times, a player will do well pre-signing and then not produce on a professional level.

    Here's a list of some players that can be considered some of the worst fool's gold NHL signings ever.

Rick DiPietro

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    On September 12, 2006, Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract with the team. Not only was the contract way overpriced, but DiPietro's injuries in recent years have made it almost impossible for him to play. In the past eight months he has been on injured reserve, and he was only taken off of IR yesterday.

    DiPietro was expected to contribute to the Islanders struggling franchise, but he has spent more time off the ice than on, and his contract is one of the biggest disappointments in NHL history.

    When the Islanders signed DiPietro, he was 24-years-old, with a 58-62-13 record and a 2.85 GAA in 143 NHL games. Those numbers are decent, but definitely don't apply to a $67.5 million deal. DiPietro will get paid $4.5 million every year until 2021 whether the Islanders owners like it or not.

    His injuries have kept him sidelined, but there might be a glimmer of hope for him next season if he doesn't land himself back on the injured reserve list.

Todd Bertuzzi

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    Todd Bertuzzi was signed to the Anaheim Ducks before the 2007-2008 season. His new contract was for two years and $8 million.

    When the Ducks signed Bertuzzi, they expected bigger numbers than they got. He scored 14 goals in 68 games, and the Ducks organization wasn't happy. General manager Brian Burke waived Bertuzzi after one year.

    Since the release from the Ducks, Bertuzzi played for the Calgary Flames and the Detroit Red Wings. He was successful on both teams, but compared to his stint on the Ducks he played very well.

    Bertuzzi was a bust for the Ducks, but thankfully his bad luck didn't follow him to other teams.

Ryan Smyth

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    Ryan Smyth signed a $31.25 million contract for five years with the Colorado Avalanche in 2007. This deal will go down as one of the most disappointing contracts in NHL free-agent history. Smyth never lived up to the hype, despite the Avalanche's organization believing this would be a fantastic contribution to their team.

    During Smyth's first year with Colorado, he only scored 14 goals and had 37 points. This can be attributed to the fact that he suffered from multiple injuries, but the Avalanche were already beginning to doubt Smyth's abilities.

    After two years with the team, and finishing minus-15 in his second season in Colorado, the team decided to trade Smyth before his contract was up. They sent Smyth to the Kings in return for Kyle Quincey, Tom Preissing and a fifth-round draft pick.

    Smyth is a prime example as to how injuries can affect the way you play.

    Despite being 36-years-old and injury prone, Smyth is still in the NHL and not putting up terrible numbers. Last year, Smyth had 19 goals with 27 assists for the Oilers. If Smyth would have been healthier in his first year with the Avalanche, who knows how things would have turned out for the Canadian-born left winger.

Sean Avery

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    Sean Avery was not only disappointing on the ice during the majority of his career, but he was also borderline embarrassing off the ice. In 2008, the infamous agitator was signed for four years and $15.5 million to the Dallas Stars. He was signed to add grit to a squad that could use more toughness and offensive pressure.

    Rather than getting a tough player who could lead with his teammates on the ice, they got a hard-headed guy who was suspended shortly after the signing because he made negative comments to the public about his former girlfriends.

    On the ice, Avery might have been worse. He scored only three goals in 21 games and he gave the Dallas Stars a bad image. He was put on waivers in March of 2009, only to be claimed by the New York Rangers. The Dallas Stars still owed Avery's salary, but it seems as though they were happy enough just to be able to get rid of him from their roster.

    Avery was a bad egg, and Dallas spent a whole lot of money for no production. In March of 2012, Sean Avery announced he was officially retiring from the NHL, and it's clear that most NHL fans who like classy players, will not be missing this confrontational thug.

Scott Gomez

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    Scott Gomez will always be known as a good player, but more than that, he will be known as one of the most overpaid players during free agency. In 2007, the New York Rangers signed the former New Jersey Devil to a seven-year, $51.5 million contact. To say that he wasn't worth the money is an understatement. 

    It's not that Gomez wasn't good, believe me he was, but $51.5 million was a bit much. During his first year with the Rangers he totaled 70 points, with 58 and 59 in the two years following. However, these are numbers that players earning $2 or $3 million a year receive, not $7 million. To put it frankly, the amount of money Gomez was given was a bit absurd.

    Despite putting up decent numbers, the Rangers decided to trade Scott Gomez to the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal was now forced to pay an extremely high salary to a player that was continuing to get older and lose valuable skill.

    Now, still with the Canadians, Gomez's appearance in the NHL is decreasing. During the past two years, Gomez has only scored nine goals in 188 games with Montreal. At 32-years-old, he should still be able to have a few years left in the tank in the NHL, but he will need to improve if he wants to keep his image as a goal-scoring player.

    Gomez was paid way too much to sign with the Rangers, and his contract is one of the worst NHL free agency signings ever.