In the salary cap era of the NHL, money matters— in a big way.
Every extra penny saved or spent can drastically alter the way a team's general manager structures his team each season. Some contracts can hurt a team more than others and others have strings attached to them that make them a bit unmovable.
This slideshow will take a look at the worst contract currently on each team's books.
Sheldon Souray had all of 21 points last season and somehow he found a way to ink a three-year deal for a haul of $11 million.
He may be a veteran defenseman with a slap shot that will improve the Ducks power play but Souray is also 35 years old, so under the current CBA, his cap hit will count even more if he can't fulfill his contract.
Signing a player to a sizable over-35 contract was not a wise move by Bob Murray.
Tim Thomas is getting paid $5.0 million to do absolutely nothing next season.
It is the worst contract currently on Boston's books. They could do a lot with that $5.0 million in cap space if they didn't have to pay the absentee Thomas.
The Buffalo Sabres drastically overpaid for Leino. Leino was coming off a solid season for the Philadelphia Flyers and Paul Holmgren wasn't going to meet Leino's demand.
Can someone please explain to me how a player with 30 regular season goals earns a contract of almost $5.0 million per season?
This is one contract that impacts the Calgary Flames' payroll.
Bouwmeester has an annual cap hit of $6,680,000 and he has failed to reach the 30-point plateau in the last three series. He is overpaid and he has severely underperformed during his time in Calgary.
In terms of bad contracts, the Carolina Hurricanes do not have many that stick out. Even though Alex Semin's one-year $7.0 million dollar deal is one that loses value as the season goes on, it is the worst one on their roster.
This is the case because after two down years with the Washington Capitals, Semin still found a way to get a raise by signing in Carolina.
Marian Hossa's contract is only bad because of the length.
The cap hit of $5,275,000 a season for Hossa is a fair price but his contract has nine more years on it. He is a talented player and goal scorer but he is currently 33 years old and his best days are not ahead of him.
Hossa's numbers have been a bit below average the last three seasons and when you consider that he has just resumed skating after taking a cheap shot from Raffi Torres, you wonder what impact Hossa will have in 2012-13.
When I looked at the Colorado Avalanche roster I didn't know who really had the worst contract. I deferred to fellow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Kevin Goff:
@brgbrigadekevin worst contract on the Avalanche and why?— Tom Urtz Jr (@TomUrtzNYR) August 6, 2012
@tomurtznyr Matt Hunwick. plays less than half the games at $2million a year.
— Kevin Goff (@BrgBrigadeKevin) August 6, 2012
Kevin later clarified that the exact cap hit was just under $2.0 million —$1,600,000 to be exact— but when you consider that Hunwick only appeared in 33 games during the 2011-12, it is understood why he is their worst contract.
Brandon Dubinsky had fallen down the depth chart for centers and left wingers as a member of the New York Rangers so they dealt him when they could for Rick Nash.
He makes $4.2 million dollars and is paid primarily for his defense and penalty-killing specialties.
He is going to be expected to put up major points in Columbus and Scott Howson will ultimately find out that he made a mistake in considering Dubinsky as adequate recompense for Nash.
The former Buffalo Sabres' top center has not been the same since returning from injury. The Sabres traded Roy and received Steve Ott and Adam Pardy back in June in a move that received mixed reactions.
Roy has underperformed and not brought much to the table despite his annual cap hit of $4.0 million. Even though his contract is up this offseason, the Stars would have been better off keeping Mike Ribeiro instead of trading him to Washington.
When looking at the Detroit Red Wings' salary cap situation, they have many contracts that are low cost, long term and overall bargains, which allow them to spend money on big names like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.
The worst contract on their books is probably Mikael Samuelsson for the simple fact that he earned a raise in a down year in which he battled injury. It is a 35-plus contract and Samuelsson's best days are behind him.
The Wings probably could have signed him for less, considering the market for players of his caliber is pretty slow right now.
Shawn Horcoff is the captain of the Edmonton Oilers and he also has the team's worst contract. Horcoff is making $5.5 million a season and his point production and overall minutes have decreased.
Given the fact that Tom Renney is no longer the head coach, odds are that the Oilers' youthful contingent of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle,Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Sam Gagner will all have an increased role with the team in 2012-13.
Horcoff is a grizzled veteran who is a good character guy but unfortunately no longer lives up to his contract.
Brian Campbell is a talented defenseman who won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Despite Campbell's success, his deal is Florida's worst because because there isn't much consistency associated with his point totals. His cap hit and overall contract length is costly.
The Florida Panthers' defender averages around the 40-45 point mark, and had a then career-best in 2008-09 with 52 points.
Since then, Campbell has slipped to 38 and 27 points with a resurgence to 53 points this past season.
The trade to Florida did give Campbell a refreshing jolt of energy but his contract amount and term is what makes his contract bad.
Campbell will be 36 at the end of his current contract and possesses a limited no-trade clause in his contract.
To have a defenseman making over $7 million dollars a year is quite exorbitant considering his lack of consistency at a high rate of play.
When the Los Angeles Kings acquired Simon Gagne, they did not envision that they would be dishing out dollars for a player who would be impacted by injury.
Gagne was a very skilled player in Philadelphia and Tampa Bay who could use his speed to impact a game, but injuries have hindered his time in LA.
His contract is bad because of what L.A. is paying him and the value he is giving them.
Ryan Suter was the top defenseman on the market and he is a solid overall defenseman but he is not worth a contract that will pay him $98,000,000 over 13 years.
The cap hit of $7,538,462 is just over the top and it could go down as a contract that the Minnesota Wild end up regretting.
Scott Gomez has been horrendous the past few years and the Canadiens could buy him out or amnesty his contract, if such a clause is included in the new CBA. The bottom line remains that Gomez needs to get out of Montreal.
There are likely no teams in the NHL that would be willing to accept Gomez no matter what was presented to them. It appears only a buyout or a mutual separation will get Gomez out of Montreal.
Shea Weber is the NHL's best defenseman and he deserves to be paid as such, but this deal was structured in a way by the Philadelphia Flyers to discourage Nashville from matching it.
The cap hit of $7,857,143 for 13 seasons is not a problem here. The problem with this contract is that in one calendar year, Weber will make $26 million dollars. That alone makes it a terrible contract because it has the potential to have a crippling effect on the team's finances.
Bryce Salvador had an amazing playoff run and that enabled him to earn a lucrative, and very sizable, new contract. Salvador signed a three-year deal worth $3,166,667 a season and it will take Salvador to age 38.
This plus-35 deal is a risky one because if for any reason Salvador can not fulfill his contract, the cap hit will stay on New Jersey's book until the deal comes to completion.
This contract could go down as the absolute worst deal in the history of pro sports. Rick DiPietro was once a very young and promising goaltending prospect who even went No. 1 overall in the NHL Entry Draft.
However, signing DiPietro to this contract was not very wise. After appearing in 63 and 62 games in the 06-07 and 07-08 seasons, DiPietro has appeared in only 51 games when you combine seasons 08-09 to the present.
If this team ever gets a new arena in Long Island, it will be tough to make the team competitive when bogged down with a $4.5 million cap hit for the next nine seasons.
This contract has the potential to be regrettable because Brad Richards would turn 40 at the completion of this contract.
Richards is still one of the NHL's top playmaking centers and he has started to adjust to New York, but one has to wonder if his play will have a steady decline in years 2017-18 to the end of his contract.
While this isn't an issue now, it could be towards the end of the decade.
Sergei Gonchar is overpaid by the Ottawa Senators.
Gonchar was once a 50-point defenseman with a booming point shot, but his overall game has regressed with age.
What makes matters worse is that Gonchar carries a $5.5 cap hit on an over-35 contract.
Ilya Bryzgalov— a.k.a. Mr. Universe— signed a humongous contract last offseason. He may only make $5,666,667 million per year but it is for the next nine seasons.
It is never wise to sign a goaltender for an extended period of time due to the nature of the position. Goalies can get hurt and it becomes hard to replace them unless you have the necessary space. Philadelphia has been plagued with unstable goaltending for the past few seasons.
Zybnek Michalek is one defenseman for the Phoenix Coyotes who happens to make a lot of money. Michalek was reacquired by the Coyotes in a trade with the Penguins and his deal lasts until 2014-15.
There aren't really any terrible contracts on Phoenix but for $4.0 a year, Michalek could stand to increase his overall production.
Paul Martin makes $5 million a season and he is a bit overpaid. He is a veteran defenseman with Stanley Cup experience but he shouldn't command such a high salary.
The Penguins tried to dump him this offseason and that should indicate how bad his contract is.
Martin Havlat has had one season in which he scored 77 points, Besides that season, Havlat has not had very impressive numbers. He has also battled injuries and they have had an impact on his overall production.
At the end of the day, Havlat's $5,000,000 cap hit for next three seasons is the worst contract on San Jose's books.
Chris Stewart made $3.25 million last season but he only tallied 30 points. He took a pay cut of $250,000 when he was resigned by the Blues but it is still a bad deal for a player who has not performed.
If he fails to perform again, St.Louis may regret signing him to the one-year-deal because they dedicated cap space that could have been used elsewhere.
There is no doubt that Vincent Lecavalier is a talented player. He has been the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning for quite some time and won a Cup with Tampa Bay in 2003-04.
However, signing Lecavalier to a deal with such a high cap hit for 11 years was not smart. His play is only going to decline over the length of the deal and that has become apparent sooner rather than later.
At the time the deal was signed, Lecavalier had recorded 70 points.
Last year he only hit the 54 point mark in an injury-riddled season.
Mike Komisarek is a defenseman who has a terrible contract. For almost $5 million a year, the Maple Leafs expected him to contribute more than an aggregate of 19 points over the last three seasons.
He is a player who the Leafs would love to get rid of very soon and he unquestionably is their worst player contract.
The Vancouver Canucks won the Presidents' Trophy last season on the heels of strong goaltending by Roberto Luongo. However, come playoff time, Luongo faltered in the first round to the point that Cory Schneider was given some starts, and should be given the starter's job, going forward
Roberto Luongo even requested a trade after weeks of speculation of what would happen to him during the 2012-13 season. Mike Gillis has been patient all summer.
It is the Canucks' worst contract, and the trouble with trading Luongo is the possibility of taking on any additional salary in a potential swap.
Mike Green is a talented offensive defenseman but George McPhee made a bad business deal. You don't give a player a significant raise when he has had declining numbers and when said player has become injury prone.
Mike Green is not worth $6,083,333 a season—for the next three years—when he hasn't played a full 82-game season since 2007-2008.
No matter how you try and justify this contract, it is still pretty bad.
Nik Antropov's play and production has declined the past two seasons.
Three years ago, Antropov scored 67 points. With a cap hit of $4,062,500 per year, Antropov needed to step up his game but it doesn't appear that that will happen anytime soon now that he is getting older and his game is no longer what it once was.
If he can learn how to use his size again, he can turn it around and be an impact player for Winnipeg.