Every NHL Team's Most Overpaid Player

Franklin SteeleAnalyst IIAugust 15, 2013

Every NHL Team's Most Overpaid Player

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    Overpaid players have just become part of the NHL landscape since the salary cap was implemented in 2005. General managers are quick to lock up their own top talent, and they sometimes overspend and over-term to keep certain guys in the fold.

    So what makes one player overpaid and another worth the money?

    A big part of it is steady performance. Oftentimes a player will have an outstanding year right before their contract expires, and they'll sign on as if those numbers will remain consistent. Sometimes there's a drop off, and sometimes there isn't.

    While managers typically take their time when negotiating with their own players, they don't have that same luxury during free agency. It's on those first few days of free agency that GMs and owners just can't help themselves, throwing money and term around like it grows on trees.

    It obviously doesn't, and some of these marriages are doomed to fail right from the get go.

    The main thing that all these players have in common is that they under-produce for the money that they make.

    For the purposes of this slideshow, we're not looking at the cap hit for individual players. Instead, we're examining who is making way too much actual salary for the upcoming season 2013-14 season.

    All cap information appears courtesy of Capgeek.com, while all statistical data has been taken from Hockeydb.com.

Anaheim Ducks: Jonas Hiller

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    2013-14 Salary: $4.5 million

    Salary Comparables: Martin Brodeur, Marc-Andre Fleury, Cory Schneider

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: It's not that Jonas Hiller isn't worth $4.5 million a season. He is. It's just that he isn't worth that much if the Anaheim Ducks are going to continue to employ him as only a part-time starter.

    He shared duties with Viktor Fasth in 2013, and the Ducks re-signed Fasth to a two-year deal this summer. So is Hiller expendable at this point?

    If Anaheim thinks so, then that's a lot of dough to spend on a guy that you'd ship out if you could.

Boston Bruins: Chris Kelly

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    2013-14 Salary: $3.5 million

    Salary Comparables: Dustin Brown, Derick Brassard, Matt Moulson

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: The Boston Bruins have done a remarkable job at not aggressively overpaying any of their core players. Looking at that group, they all seem to be making exactly what they should be—no small feat in today's NHL.

    Only Chris Kelly sticks out as a guy who is making maybe a touch more than he should be. While he's an important part of the leadership group for Boston, he only had nine points in 34 games last season.

    While the Bruins get more from Kelly than just points, he's the one that stands out on a team that is structured incredibly well.

Buffalo Sabres: Ville Leino

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    2013-14 Salary: $4 million

    Salary Comparables: Brad Marchand, Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: There's some stiff competition when it comes to being the most overpaid player on the Buffalo Sabres, but Ville Leino's ludicrous deal truly stands out as awful. The good news for Buffalo is that he's no longer making $6 million in salary like was in each of the last two seasons.

    The bad news is that they're paying a guy $4 million that only played in eight games last year and has only posted more than 50 points once during a six-year NHL career.

Calgary Flames: David Jones

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    2013-14 Salary: $4 million

    Salary Comparables: Drew Stafford, Jiri Hudler, T.J. Oshie

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: As tempting as it is to list Mike Cammalleri's $7 million salary here, at least he manages to produce some points for the Calgary Flames. While David Jones didn't initially sign this contract with the Calgary Flames, he came over in the Alex Tanguay deal.

    To shed a bad contract in the NHL these days, you usually have to take a little bit of money back, and that's exactly what Jones is. He scored all of nine points in 33 games last season, and while not far removed from his career-best year (45 points in 2010-11) his contract still doesn't look too good on the ledger for a rebuilding Flames team.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner

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    2013-14 Salary: $4.35 million

    Salary Comparables: Tyler Seguin, Mike Ribeiro, John Tavares

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: Jeff Skinner was once the golden boy for the Carolina Hurricanes. Now he's the poster boy for inconsistency and injury problems. This year is the last at this stomach-able $4.35 million salary until it jumps to $6 million.

    The 'Canes are paying Skinner now based on the promise that he showed three seasons ago. When they inked him to this deal, they were assuming that 63 points was only the beginning, and that bigger seasons would follow.

    So far they haven't, and Carolina is on the hook for a lot of dough while waiting for the young Skinner to find his game again.

Chicago Blackhawks: Bryan Bickell

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    2013-14 Salary: $3 million plus a $1 million signing bonus

    Salary Comparables: Wayne Simmonds, Jaromir Jagr, David Perron

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: Paying playoff heroes can be tricky business sometimes. The Chicago Blackhawks, fresh off a Stanley Cup victory, didn't waste much time is re-signing Bryan Bickell to a deal to keep him in town.

    He scored 17 points in 23 games as the 'Hawks won the Cup, garnering consideration for the Conn Smythe trophy while playing out of his mind.

    Bickell is a solid player, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can maintain that torrid scoring pace. He flexed some muscle in 2013 during the regular season as he scored 23 points in 48 games, but it's tough to feel like everything wasn't inflated a bit during Chicago's insane unbeaten streak.

Colorado Avalanche: Paul Stastny

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    2013-14 Salary: $6.6 million

    Salary Comparables: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Pavel Datsyuk

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: There was a time when Paul Stastny was considered the future of the Colorado Avalanche. He erupted onto the NHL scene with a 78-point rookie season, and followed that up with a 71-point sophomore year. The sky seemed to be the limit for the young scoring machine, and the Colorado Avalanche paid a hefty sum to keep him around.

    Stastny posted 79 points in 2009-10, the first year of this contract. Since then he hasn't made it back to the 60-point plateau, much less flirted with 80. His name has been popping up in trade rumors (like this one from Adrian Dater of The Denver Post) for the better part of two years now, and barring a miracle comeback season, Stastny is set to see a hefty reduction in salary on his next deal.

Columbus Blue Jackets: James Wisniewski

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    2013-14 Salary: $6 million

    Salary Comparables: Duncan Keith, Niklas Kronwall, Tyler Myers

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: This salary wouldn't be as outstandingly bad if James Wisniewski could manage to stay out on the ice and prove that he's worth the money. Injuries have plagued him since arriving in Columbus, making his $6 million salary atrocious at this point.

    While he possesses the potential to be one of the better offensive-defensemen in the NHL, a string of bad luck has prevented Wisniewski from ever really getting near his ceiling. A strong season in 2013-14 would make this amount of money look much better, but right now Wisniewski is overpaid.

Dallas Stars: Shawn Horcoff

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    2013-14 Salary: $4 million

    Salary Comparables: Travis Zajac, Evander Kane, Jeff Skinner

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: When the Dallas Stars traded for Shawn Horcoff over the summer, they knew they were getting a relatively nasty cap hit in return. While he'll only make $4 million in actual salary, Horcoff's cap hit is a hefty $5.5 million.

    Even after taking that difference into consideration, it's tough to justify paying $4 million to a player that is seven years beyond his best season and hasn't cracked the 50-point barrier in four years.

    The Stars needed depth down the middle badly, so they're willing to overpay Horcoff for his services. Intentionally overpaid or not though, this is still a guy that is making more than he's worth.

Detroit Red Wings: Kyle Quincey

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    2013-14 Salary: $4 million

    Salary Comparables: Eric Brewer, Cam Fowler, Christian Ehrhoff 

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: The Detroit Red Wings aren't typically in the business of overpaying players, but Kyle Quincey's salary is a bit on the ugly side. Brought to the Wings to shore up the blue line, he's been inconsistent at best through one and a half (kind of) seasons with the Wings.

    Three points in 36 games is disappointing for a guy that is billed as a solid puck-moving defenseman, and he isn't all that great in his own zone either.

    He's improved defensively over the last year, but it's tough not to think about who else the Wings could be spending $4 million on.

Edmonton Oilers: Ales Hemsky

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    2013-14 Salary: $5.5 million

    Salary Comparables: Bobby Ryan, Jeff Carter, Jamie Benn

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: $5.5 million is above-average top-six forward money, and Ales Hemsky just isn't one at this stage of his career. He's seven years removed from his career-best season, which was 2005 when he scored 77 points.

    That also happened to be Hemsky's rookie year, and he has been fighting inconsistency and injuries ever since then. He's four years removed from posting even respectable numbers, and he only scored nine goals while adding 11 assists for the Edmonton Oilers last year.

    The team has too many top-end offensive weapons now, and Hemsky could be relegated to the third line as his contract expires with Edmonton after this year.

Florida Panthers: Ed Jovanovski

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    2013-14 Salary: $4.25 million

    Salary Comparables: Slava Voynov, Mark Giordano, Tim Gleason

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: There's very little (if any) gas left in the tank for Ed Jovanovski. His lockout-truncated 2013 season was cut even shorter by a season-ending hip surgery, and he was limited to only six games.

    2012 wasn't much kinder to the 37-year-old blueliner either. After being picked up by the Florida Panthers to shore up their defense, Jovocop only played in 66 games.

    $4.25 is just too much for an injury-riddled player like Jovanovski.

Los Angeles Kings: Jarret Stoll

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    2013-14 Salary: $3.2 million

    Salary Comparables: Patrik Berglund, Devin Setoguchi, Rich Peverley

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: You have to get really nitpicky with the roster of the Los Angeles Kings to find any sign of overpayment. If we could select no one, we would. Since that's not the name of the game here though, we'll roll with Jarret Stoll.

    He plays a very important role for the Kings when healthy, taking key faceoffs and providing depth scoring. His point total plummeted from 43 in 2010-11 to 21 in 2011-12, and he's been battling concussion issues as well.

    "When healthy" is the key phrase for Stoll, who is otherwise a productive member of this team.

Minnesota Wild: Dany Heatley

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    2013-14 Salary: $5 million

    Salary Comparables: Jason Spezza, Joe Thornton, Thomas Vanek

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: Once revered as one of the most electric talents in the NHL, Dany Heatley has fallen from grace in just about every way imaginable. His point total has dropped every year for the last four seasons, and his 11 goals in 2013 were the fewest he's scored since 2003-04, when he played in only 31 games.

    Maligned in Minnesota for his big cap hit and lack of production, Heatley is one of the most overpaid players in the NHL.

Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price

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    2013-14 Salary: $5.75 million

    Salary Comparables: Sergei Bobrovsky, Jimmy Howard, Henrik Lundqvist

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: If you look at Carey Price's cap hit ($6.5 million) and salary, you'd assume that he was an elite goaltender in the NHL. One glance at his stats though, and it becomes clear that he's just flat out overpaid.

    As we witnessed in the playoffs this season, as Price goes, the Montreal Canadiens go. When he's giving up softies and not on his game mentally, then the team just doesn't have the firepower to make up the difference.

    Price's GAA has increased in each of the last three seasons (2.35, 2.43 and 2.59) while his save percentage has fallen (.923, .916 and .905). Those aren't elite numbers. The 25-year-old needs to right the ship in a hurry before the Canadiens are paying him $7 million a season. That salary kicks in in 2015-16.

Nashville Predators: Mike Fisher

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    2013-14 Salary: $4.2 million

    Salary Comparables: Chris Stewart, Jakub Voracek, Andrew Ladd

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: The Nashville Predators are among the most frugal teams in the NHL, so finding a guy getting overpaid on their roster is like trying to find someone who hasn't seen Shawshank Redemption.

    Still, if we had to pick anyone it'd be Mike Fisher.

    Before posting 51 points in 2011-12, it had been two injury-filled years for the ex-Ottawa Senator. When he's healthy, Fisher is one of a handful of guys capable of being the top scorer for Nashville, but that isn't saying much considering the team is one of the worst offensive squads in the league.

New Jersey Devils: Anton Volchenkov

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    2013-14 Salary: $4.25 million

    Salary Comparables: John Carlson, Dan Hamhuis, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: $4.25 million doesn't seem like a lot to pay your anchor defenseman, but Anton Volchenkov just doesn't bring enough to the table to justify his price tag. While he's never been known as a prolific scorer, he only put up three points in 2013 and 11 points in 72 games the season prior.

    If he was an immovable force in the defensive end, perhaps the millions would make sense, but after being a plus/minus stud with the Ottawa Senators, he's since fallen off with the New Jersey Devils. He's only a plus-five as a Devil—not nearly good enough since preventing goals is what they're paying him to do.

New York Islanders: Alexei Yashin

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    2013-14 Salary: $2.2 million

    Salary Comparables: Josh Bailey, Matt Stajan, Artem Anisimov

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: We're taking the highroad with the New York Islanders. They are the lowest-spending team in the NHL and currently have over $15 million in cap space. They actually possess some of the best bargains in the league, and picking on one of them seems unfair.

    Now that Rick DiPietro is no longer employed by the Islanders, the only real glaring issue on their ledger is the $2.2 million that are paying Alexei Yashin to not play hockey for them. Of course he retired in 2011-12, so he wouldn't be lacing up the skates for New York anyway.

New York Rangers: Brad Richards

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    2013-14 Salary: $9 million

    Salary Comparables: Alex Ovechkin, Eric Staal, Steven Stamkos

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: The biggest no-brainer on this list, Brad Richards would need to have a pretty epic 2013-14 campaign to prevent himself from becoming just another punchline for the New York Rangers.

    Joining the laughable likes of Scott Gomez, Chris Drury and Wade Redden as players that the Rangers have severely overpaid in free agency, Richards will likely be bough out at the end of the season if he doesn't resurrect his game under new coach Alain Vigneault.

Ottawa Senators: Milan Michalek

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    2013-14 Salary: $6 million

    Salary Comparables: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Nicklas Backstrom (WAS)

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: $6 million for a guy that desperately depends on Jason Spezza to be successful is way too much. His best season with the Ottawa Senators came in 2011-12, when he posted 60 points in 77 games. That was the first time he'd hit the 60-point barrier in four seasons.

    Even if he tops that in 2013-14, $6 million for Michalek would still be a pretty big stretch. While his $4.3 million cap hit is much more fair, he's still one guy that'll be raking in way more than he's earned this season.

Philadelphia Flyers: Vincent Lecavalier

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    2013-14 Salary: $6 million

    Salary Comparables: Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Joe Thornton

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: Vincent Lecavalier is 33-years-old and won't be seeing his production increase as he's on the downward side of his career. His 2013 stats would have approached the 60-point mark throughout an entire season, but Lecavalier's point totals have dwindled in three straight years.

    Several sources, including USA Today, have indicated that the longtime center will move to wing with the Philadelphia Flyers.

    Position changes rarely lead to boosts in production, nor does the weight of age. Barring a 70-point season from Lecavalier, $6 million is just too much, especially considering his contract put the Flyers more than $2 million over the salary cap.

Phoenix Coyotes: Mike Ribeiro

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    2013-14 Salary: $4.5 million

    Salary Comparables: Evander Kane, Tyler Seguin, David Clarkson

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: If the Phoenix Coyotes think that Mike Ribeiro is going to come to the desert and score like he did with the Washington Capitals, they're going to be sorely disappointed. While he's still a perfectly decent center, Ribeiro isn't a point-per-game guy in reality.

    Of his 49 points last season, a whopping 27 of them came on the power play. The Caps have a pretty wicked power play, made all the more dangerous when Alex Ovechkin is scoring 14 goals a game. Ribeiro's stats were inflated big time due to the Ovechkin factor, and he's bound to fall off with the Coyotes.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury

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    2013-14 Salary: $5.75 million

    Salary Comparables: Jimmy Howard, Sergei Bobrovsky, Carey Price

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: Marc-Andre Fleury fell apart in the playoffs in 2013. There's no other way to describe what happened. He let his team down in a big way, giving way to Tomas Vokoun until the Pittsburgh Penguins were eliminated in the second round.

    The Pens had Stanley Cup aspirations and loaded up near the trade deadline to take a run at another banner. One of the major reasons Pittsburgh collapsed on itself was Fleury's unstable presence in net.

    He's being paid as a top-tier netminder in the NHL, but until he gets his mind right he'll continue to be a question mark for the Penguins.

San Jose Sharks: Martin Havlat

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    2013-14 Salary: $5 million

    Salary Comparables: Patrice Bergeron, James Neal, Tomas Plekanec

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: There isn't a version of the universe where Martin Havlat isn't overpaid at this point. He hasn't been worth $5 million since joining the San Jose Sharks two seasons ago. He hasn't really been worth much of anything as a Shark, actually.

    Once tabbed as one of the more talented forwards in the NHL, Havlat's game has gone to hell since moving to California. 2011-12 was chock-full of injuries, and when Havlat was out on the ice he wasn't noticeable.

    2013 saw him miss only eight games of action, but he was still invisible as a player. Teams pay forwards $5 million to produce points. So far Havlat has lit the lamp for the Sharks a total of 15 times over the last two seasons.

St. Louis Blues: Jay Bouwmeester

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    2013-14 Salary: $6.6 million

    Salary Comparables: Dan Boyle, Brian Campbell, Drew Doughty

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: While the St. Louis Blues didn't originally sign Jay Bouwmeester for this massive salary, they still decided to take it on when they traded for the defenseman at the trade deadline. There's one year left on that contract from the Calgary Flames before a much more reasonable $5.4 million cap hit sets in.

    For now though, Bouwmeester is brutally overpaid. Think St. Louis would like to free up a few of those millions to re-sign Alex Pietriangelo right now?

Tampa Bay Lightning: Valtteri Filppula

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    2013-14 Salary: $4 million

    Salary Comparables: Stephen Weiss, Sam Gagner, Evander Kane

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: The Detroit Red Wings aren't in the habit of allowing homegrown talent to walk for nothing if they think that the player is worth what they're asking for in salary. They also won't hesitate to allow a guy to leave if they aren't.

    Exhibit A is Ville Leino, who is now being grossly overpaid by the Buffalo Sabres. Exhibit B could very well turn out to be Valtteri Filppula.

    He always flirted with greatness with the Wings, showing flashes of genius and creativity before going into maddening slumps where he always found a way to do something stupid with the puck. Five years is a long time for what really amounts to a "prove it" deal, and the Tampa Bay Lightning could end up licking its wounds for the next half-decade over this free-agent signing.

Toronto Maple Leafs: John-Michael Liles

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    2013-14 Salary: $4.25 million

    Salary Comparables: Mark Giordano, Tim Gleason, Andrej Meszaros

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: While playing with the Colorado Avalanche, John-Michael Liles was one of the better offensive-defensemen in the game. He never scored less than 30 points across six years with the Avs, and produced more than 40 on three separate occasions.

    It's taken Liles nearly 100 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs to even come close to 40 points, total. In 98 games with Toronto, he's produced a grand total of 38 points. Not exactly what the team had in mind when they traded a second-round selection for him in 2011.

    He was scratched on occasion in 2013, and has been massively ineffective for the Leafs. Liles is clearly not worth the money that he's being paid.

Vancouver Canucks: Jason Garrison

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    2013-14 Salary: $6.5 million

    Salary Comparables: Niklas Kronwall, Braydon Coburn, Paul Martin

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: Want to get rich in the NHL? Just do what Jason Garrison did. He scored a career-best 33 points with the Florida Panthers before hitting free agency, and we all know how much general managers love to blow the bank on offensive-defenseman.

    Especially when they can delude themselves with the whole "if he scored 33 points on a weak Panthers team, imagine how many he could score with the Vancouver Canucks!" line of thinking.

    Garrison wasn't awful in 2013, posting 16 points in 47 games played, but he wasn't a difference maker every night like his salary would imply either.

Washington Capitals: Mike Green

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    2013-14 Salary: $6 million

    Salary Comparables: Kimmo Timonen, James Wisniewski, Erik Karlsson

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: Three years ago, Mike Green was almost as much fun to watch as Alexander Ovechkin. He was a scoring machine, putting up gaudy numbers that saw him contend for a spot among the top-10 scoring forwards in the NHL.

    Three years is a long time in hockey though.

    In 2009-10, Green put up 76 points. Since then, he hasn't posted 76 points total. Green's career has been devastated by injuries, and at this point the Washington Capitals are paying for a shadow of the player that he used to be.

Winnipeg Jets: Dustin Byfuglien

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    2013-14 Salary: $5.75 million

    Salary Comparables: Keith Yandle, Matt Carle, Tobias Enstrom

    Why We Think He's Overpaid: It's sad when sites like TheScore.com don't appear foolish by publishing a story about a player appearing to be in shape over the summer. When the player in question is Dustin Byfuglien though, the photo becomes a story.

    That's a testament to where his career is right now. The Winnipeg Free Press ran a story that claimed that Byfuglien weighed more than 300 pounds during the 2013 season. No one has ever confused Byfuglien with a professional swimmer or jockey, but 300 pounds is ridiculous even by his hefty standards.

    His play fell off in a big way last season, and the Winnipeg Jets don't seem quite sure how to handle weight situation. It's not something most professional athletes need to be reminded of. Since their being in shape is how they earn their living and all.