Edmonton Oilers: The 7 Worst Signings Since 2000

Adam Bowen@truknorrisContributor IIISeptember 19, 2012

Edmonton Oilers: The 7 Worst Signings Since 2000

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    Since 2000, the Edmonton Oilers have suffered through mediocrity and have struggled to stay competitive in the NHL.

    With exception to the miraculous run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, the Oilers have been near the bottom of the standings year after year and a main reason behind their struggles has been poor signings.

    From overpaying for local players to ridiculous offer sheets, fans of the Edmonton Oilers have been left scratching their heads over some of the contracts handed out by Kevin Lowe and company over the years.

    Here are a few of the worst contracts handed out by the Oilers since the beginning of the new millennium. 

Dishonorable Mention: Chris Pronger

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    When the Oilers signed Chris Pronger from the St. Louis Blues in the summer of 2005, many heralded the signing as one of the best moves ever made by the franchise.

    A six-year pact worth $6.25 million annually was a steal for the perennial Norris Trophy candidate, and the move paid immediate dividends with the team making it within one game of capturing their first Stanley Cup since 1990.

    However the jubilation was short-lived as the Oilers and their fans were rocked by a Pronger trade demand only one year into his contract.

    Though the team received some valuable pieces in return, it can be argued that his departure was the beginning of the rebuilding phase in Edmonton. The team was blindsided by the demand and to date has never really recuperated from the sudden loss of their star defenseman.

7: Fernando Pisani

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    For some reason or another Fernando Pisani had one of the best playoff performances of recent memory as his 14 goals in 24 games almost single-handedly won the Edmonton Oilers the Stanley Cup.

    Thanks to his impressive outing in the playoffs, Pisani was awarded a four-year contract extension with the Oilers worth $2.5 million per season.

    Unfortunately for the Oilers and for Pisani, the gritty forward was never able to duplicate his playoff heroics and never really lived up to the hype he had generated for himself during the 2005-06 season.

    Two years into the deal, Pisani was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which caused him to miss significant portions of the next few seasons and hindered Pisani for the remainder of his time in Edmonton.   

6: Joffrey Lupul

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    One of the main pieces in the Chris Pronger trade to Anaheim, Joffrey Lupul never really looked comfortable in an Edmonton Oilers uniform. 

    After registering 28 goals and 53 points in only his second full season in the NHL, there was much fanfare surrounding the young forward, and he was signed to a modest three-year deal worth $6.935 million. 

    Here was a kid who grew up idolizing the Oilers, and now he had the opportunity to play for the Oilers which should have guaranteed success.


    In his lone season with the Oilers after signing the three-year extension, the much-maligned Lupul managed a meager 28 points and never realized the potential that the Oilers had seen. After one season Lupul was shipped off to the Philadelphia Flyers the next season.  

5: Taylor Hall

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    Perhaps the most controversial addition to the list, but the Oilers took a huge gamble when they signed Hall to his lucrative long-term contract.

    When healthy, Hall has proven to be a dynamic player and is a crucial part of the talented young stable of forwards that the Oilers are building, but in his first two seasons in the NHL, Hall has had a hard time staying on the ice.

    Whether it be his ankle, a concussion or a freak skate accident, Hall has missed significant portions of his first two seasons in the league and often plays the game with a type of reckless abandon that could come back and haunt the young star.  

    The Oilers made a significant investment in Hall and could be hindered by his big contract in the future, and with needs on defense and in goal still to be addressed, it could be safe to say that the money spent on Hall could have been better invested elsewhere.

4: Sheldon Souray

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    Sheldon Souray was supposed to be the power-play quarterback the Edmonton Oilers lost when Chris Pronger left the team, but boy were they wrong. 

    After coming off a 64-point season in Montreal, the Oilers signed the free-agent Souray to a five-year contract worth $27 million and, aside from a great 2008-09 season, saw little return for their large investment. 

    Much like Joffrey Lupul, Souray was a hometown boy coming in to play for the Oilers, and much like Lupul, he never panned out.

    Be it a shoulder injury or a broken hand, Souray couldn't stay on the ice, and it soon became apparent that the Oilers had made a mistake in giving Souray such a big contract.

    However, it is the way the situation played out toward the end of his tenure in Edmonton that Oilers fans will always remember. 

3: Dustin Penner

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    Kevin Lowe took a big gamble when he offered then-free agent Dustin Penner a five-year offer sheet worth $21.25 million in 2007.

    Sure Penner was a big-bodied forward who had just won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks, but other than that there was little to warrant such a ridiculous offer for a relatively unproven player. 

    It was a pretty unprecedented move for Lowe to utilize the offer sheet to lure Penner, a restricted free agent at the time, to the Oilers. It was one that was met with scrutiny from the public and from his peers in the NHL. 

    It turns out Burke was right.

    The Oilers may have identified a need in Penner, but did not pay him accordingly, and the compensation for Penner was far too steep a price to pay for a player who had one strong season under his belt at the time. 

2: Nikolai Khabibulin

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    For some reason or another the Oilers deemed Dwayne Roloson too old to re-sign after his tremendous stint in Edmonton, and yet in 2009 Edmonton offered the then-36-year-old Nikolai Khabibulin a four-year deal worth $15 million.

    Desperate for a true No. 1 goaltender, the Oilers handed out big money to the aging Khabibulin and are now paying the price for such an albatross of a contract. 

    'The "Bulin Wall" has yet to play more than 50 games for Edmonton due to various injuries and, at 39, is too old and too overpaid to trade at this point. 

    Devan Dubnyk has supplanted the aging veteran as the starting goalie for the Oilers, so Edmonton is now stuck paying $3.75 million for an old backup goaltender.

1: Shawn Horcoff

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    By far the worst contract that the Edmonton Oilers have handed out in the new millennium has to be the six-year, $33 million contract awarded to Shawn Horcoff in 2009-10.

    Shawn Horcoff is a good captain for the Oilers and is willing to do whatever the team asks of him, but it is impossible to justify paying on average $5.5 million per season for a third-line centre who will barely crack the 50-point plateau. 

    This is a deal that the Oilers will have to ride out for the remainder of its length, as no one will absorb the ridiculous contract in a trade.

    If the Oilers were to buy out Horcoff's contract, it would hurt for a season or so, but would provide them with more financial flexibility going forward.

    But unfortunately it looks as though No. 10 will be in an Oilers uniform for quite some time still.