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NHL: 20 Worst Player Performances for the Dollar So Far This Year

Scott WeldonCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2011

NHL: 20 Worst Player Performances for the Dollar So Far This Year

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Over the years there has been a long list of NHL players who haven't provided value for the money they have been paid.

    Alexander Daigle and Rick DiPietro, pictured above, were two players who, through lack of talent in Daigle's case and because of injury in DiPietro's, were not able to provide value for the money that had been squandered on them.

    Some of these guys, like Wade Redden, Cristobal Huet and Sheldon Souray, have been hidden in the minors with their bloated contracts. Maybe sometime soon the players on this list will be joining them.

    The obvious answer to who is providing the worst value for the money paid him this year is, of course, Alexei Yashin. Yashin will earn $4,755,067 this year, making him the highest paid player on the New York Islanders. He hasn't played for the Islanders since the 2006-07 season. That's bad value for money spent. 

    I've tried to limit my list to guys who are still in the league and who have played at least 20 games this season. There are still a lot of players on this list because of injury, but I've eliminated most of the players who are out on long-term disability and aren't siphoning off cap room from their teams.

    Using my criterion, you won't see Marc Savard, Andrei Markov, Chris Drury, Kyle Okposo, Zach Parise, Matthew Lombardi, Mark Streit, Peter Mueller or Rick DiPietro on this list.

    This slideshow takes a look at the players who are still in the NHL and contributing, but in my estimation are not contributing enough for the cap hit they represent.

20. Jason Blake, LW: Anaheim Ducks

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    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    GP 49 G 9 A 8 PTS 17

    Cap Hit: $4,000,000

    Dollars Per Point: $235,294.12

    Jason Blake is a 37-year-old veteran who got paid by the previous Leaf management for the 40-goal season in 2006-07. While in Toronto, Blake's career was slowed by a bout with a highly treatable form of leukemia. Jason is in the second to last year of the contract he signed then.

    He is at this point in his career a half-point a game forward at best. That's not worth the $4 million he's earning this year or is scheduled to earn next year.

19. Martin Brodeur, G: New Jersey Devils

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    GP: 33 W: 9 L: 18 OT: 2 SO:4

    GAA: 2.87 SvPCT: .894 Saves: 705

    Cap Hit: $5,200,000

    Dollars Per Save: $7,375.89

    Martin Brodeur is one of the greatest NHL goalies of all time. His contract is a result of that and the fact he's been the best goalie in the league for the last decade as well.

    Unfortunately, cracks that started to appear after the lockout have become gaping holes. His .894 save percentage is the worst of his career. Among goalies in the league who have played at least 20 games, he stands 33rd out of 36. Only Jonas Gustavsson, Dan Ellis and Nikolai Khabibulin have worse numbers than Brodeur this year.

    It's a sad end for a certain Hall of Famer. He's been marginally worse behind the same team as journeyman Johan Hedberg.

    His four shutouts are a bright spot in an otherwise dark year. Hopefully he can play out this season and next with dignity.

18. Rostislav Olesz, LW: Florida Panthers

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    GP 29 G 3 A 9 PTS 12

    Cap Hit: $3,125,000

    Dollars Per Point: $260,416.67

    Rostislav Olesz is symptomatic of what was wrong with the Florida Panther organization prior to the hiring of Dale Tallon.

    Olesz was the Panthers' seventh-round pick in the 2004 entry draft. The talented young Czech has yet to manage to do anything significant at the NHL level. His best season was 2006-07, when he managed 11 goals and 30 points in 75 games. Last year he had 14 goals and 29 points in 78 games.

    Somehow, while being a young player who wishes he was a half-point a game guy, he managed to get re-signed by Florida for six years at $3.125 million a year. He currently has three seasons left to go on that contract after this year.

    Still only 25, he has time to improve, but right now Rostislav is all potential and no performance. A quarter of a million dollars a point is too much to pay the best defensive forward in the league. Olesz isn't that.

17. Scott Hannan, D: Washington Capitals

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    GP 46 G 0 A 6 PTS 6

    Cap Hit: $4,500,000 

    Dollars Per Point: $750,000

    Scott Hannan is a career defensive defenseman at one point considered one of the best shutdown players in the league. These guys obviously are impossible to evaluate by looking at the points they generate.

    Hannan has played 46 games and has six points to show for it. Hannan was brought in as a defensive defenseman to be a counterweight to a strictly offensive defenseman like Mike Green.

    Unfortunately, Scott Hannan probably reached the apogee of his career in 2003-04, just before the lockout. A slow, gritty defensive defenseman, Hannan hasn't adapted well to the hooking, tripping-light NHL. A former All-Star and member of the gold medal-winning Canadian team in 2004, Hannan has proven too slow for the interference-free NHL.

    He has been dumped first by San Jose and then Colorado since then and has had trouble competing against small, fast forwards. Hannan is in the last season of his $4.5 million a year contract and has that long to prove he's worth it in Washington.

    His grittiness on defense is certainly something Washington was lacking. His plodding pace makes him overpaid for what he provides even at the relatively young age of 31.

16. Sergei Gonchar, D: Ottawa Senators

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    GP 49 G 5 A 15 PTS 20

    Cap Hit: $5,500,000

    Dollars Per Point: $275,000 

    Sergei Gonchar at 36 is an aging offensive defenseman who signed a three-year, $5.5 million a year contract with the Ottawa Senators. His numbers this season are a far cry from what he managed playing on a power play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

    This seems like a lot of money to invest in an admittedly talented player who is this old.

15. Alex Kovalev, RW: Ottawa Senators

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    Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    GP 43 G 8 A 10 PTS 18

    Cap Hit: $5,000,000

    Dollars Per Point: $277,777.78

    Alex Kovalev at 37 deserves a critique that is practically a duplicate of the one I used for Sergei Gonchar. As a forward you'd expect a little more production out of him than Gonchar.

    Kovalev has the virtue of only being signed for one year. If he manages to get a contract next year, it will be for a lot less money.

14. Chris Phillips, D: Ottawa Senators

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    Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    GP 49 G 0 A 3 PTS 3

    Cap Hit: $3,500,000

    Dollars Per Point: $1,166,666.67

    Chris Phillips has been one of Ottawa's best defensive defensemen since he joined the team in 1997 as a 19-year-old. At 32 he has been slowing down. He is making no offensive contribution on a rapidly declining Senator team.

    He's making $3.5 million a year, and that's too much for what he provides at this point in his career. He's playing second pair minutes in Ottawa and doesn't seem quite up to it.

13. Michal Rozsival, D: Phoenix Coyotes

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    GP 35 G 3 A 12 PTS 15

    Cap Hit: $5,000,000

    Dollars Per Point: $333,333.33

    Michal Rozsival is a middling defenseman with some pretensions of offensive capability. For that he receives $5 million a year for this year and next. Glen Sather somehow managed to dump this ridiculous contract and pick up a semi-useful player in exchange.

    The only way Michal Roszival makes $5 million a year is if he plays on a team where Wade Redden makes $6.5 million a year.

12. Joffrey Lupul, RW: Anaheim Ducks

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    GP 23 G 4 A 8 PTS 12

    Cap Hit: $4,250,000

    Dollars Per Point: $354,166.67 

    Joffrey Lupul has been plagued by injury since coming to the Ducks. He had more success with the Flyers, but in Anaheim he's been barely a half-point a game forward. There are a lot of younger, cheaper alternatives out there than this 27-year-old.

11. Ron Hainsey, D: Atlanta Thrashers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    GP 51 G 1 A 5 PTS 6

    Cap Hit: $4,500,000

    Dollars Per Point: $750,000

    Ron Hainsey was at one time a highly regarded young defensive prospect with fearsome offensive skills. When he was signed away from the Montreal Canadiens, he was for a time the best defenseman in Atlanta. This proved to be less a tribute to his skills and more a condemnation of the skill on defense the Thrashers had at the time.

    The emergence of Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien, the development of Zach Bogosian and the signing of Johnny Oduya has relegated Ron to the third pairing in Atlanta. He puts in roughly 16.5 minutes a game, and his offensive numbers have evaporated. The 29-year-old Hainsey is the most highly paid defenseman in Atlanta, and he's locked up for this season and two more.

10. Nikolai Khabibulin, G: Edmonton Oilers

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    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    GP: 31 W: 8 L: 21 OT: 2 SO: 2

    GAA: 3.46 SvPCT: .892 Saves: 852 

    Cap Hit: $3,750,000

    Dollars Per Save: $4,400.41

    Nikolai Khabibulin for periods of his career in Winnipeg and Tampa Bay was one of the best goalies in the league. He parlayed the Stanley Cup win in Tampa Bay into being that highly sought-after hired gun of a goalie. His success in that role has been spotty at best, and now he's hitting rock bottom.

    Khabibulin has the third worst save percentage among starters in the league. His goals against average is the worst among all goalies who have been in at least 20 games. The only thing keeping Nik from being the worst bargain for the buck in the league is his relatively "low" salary.

9. Kristian Huselius, LW: Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    GP 26 G 9 A 7 PTS 16

    Cap Hit: $4,750,000

    Dollars Per Point: $316,666.67

    Kristian Huselius has missed a good portion of the season so far in Columbus. He is a talented offensive player brought in to be a primary offensive threat. Really he is more of a secondary offensive threat and is playing second line minutes. Huselius needs to pick it up to justify the salary for this year and next.

8. Brian Campbell, D: Chicago Blackhawks

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    GP 36 G 2 A 15 PTS 17

    Cap Hit: $7,142,875

    Dollars Per Point: $420,169.17 

    Brian Campbell is a quality offensive defenseman who has some problems with the defensive end of his game. Injury this year has limited his playing time to the point where he is the third leading scoring defenseman in Chicago behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

    He's on pace to produce 30 to 40 points this year, which is pretty well his career average. Why this is worth what a Brad Park-Bobby Orr hybrid would deserve to be paid in this league is anyone's guess. $420,000 a point is too much to pay for offense from a defenseman.

    Hopefully he scores 100 points soon. Then Chicago would only be paying $71,428.75 a point, a much more reasonable number.

7. Scott Gomez, C: Montreal Canadiens

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    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    GP 47 G 6 A 20 PTS 26

    Cap Hit: $7,357,143.00 

    Dollars Per Point: $282,967.04

    Scott Gomez doesn't have the luxury of blaming his output on injury. Like Jason Spezza, he earns one of the league's highest salaries, and like Spezza he doesn't deserve it. He has six goals and 26 points because he has been on a bit of a scoring streak. Before that his numbers were really bad.

    He has been relegated to the second line. Despite that and his miserable offensive output, he still has 14 points on the power play and is fifth on the team in power play ice time.

6. Jason Spezza, C: Ottawa Senators

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    GP 32 G 9 A 11 PTS 20

    Cap Hit: $7,000,000

    Dollars Per Point: $350,000.00

    Jason Spezza is another incredibly talented offensive player who is struggling with injury. His $7 million salary is one of the highest in the league, yet his 20 points have him tied for 212th in league scoring. His nine goals have him tied for 165th in the league.

    That salary for this year and for the next four years demands at least a point a game from a player with his obvious defensive weakness. Right now he isn't even close to that.

5. Anton Volchenkov, D: New Jersey Devils

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    GP 33 G 0 A 2 PTS 2

    Cap Hit: $4,250,000

    Dollars Per Point: $2,125,000

    Anton Volchenkov is a hard-working defensive defenseman who gives you everything he has. He blocks shots fearlessly. He hits hard. He is always giving you his maximum effort.

    Unfortunately, he's slow on his skates. Smaller, faster players skate rings around him. Right now he's playing second to third pair minutes in New Jersey while earning first pair money. He has no offensive component to his game.

    He's a role player being paid like he's a sniper. He is the most expensive player per point produced in the league.

4. Shawn Horcoff, C: Edmonton Oilers

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    Abelimages/Getty Images

    GP 26 G 7 A 8 PTS 15

    Cap Hit: $5,500,000

    Dollars Per Point: $366,666.67

    Shawn Horcoff is the second Oiler to make this list. He's being paid like a veteran first line NHL center. He has scored over 20 goals in a season twice in his career and over 60 points once.

    I cannot imagine why anyone would give this player a $5.5 million a year contract. He's due to be paid this for the next four years.

3. Simon Gagne, LW: Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    GP 33 G 9 A 4 PTS 13 

    Cap Hit: $5,250,000

    Dollars Per Point: $403,846.15

    Simon Gagne has been one of the more talented left wingers in the NHL. Unfortunately for him, not only his Achilles heel has bothered him. He has been beset by a wide variety of injuries throughout his career. The latest has been a mysterious neck ailment that sounds a lot like some sort of concussion.

    Gagne has gotten into 33 games this year with one of the highest-scoring teams in the league. The 30-year-old has only managed to score nine goals and 13 points. He is producing little more than a third of a point a game and is costing his team over $400,000 a point.

    Gagne is an unrestricted free agent next year and at 31 will still be worth signing, but he will be making a much smaller salary.

2. J.S. Giguere, G: Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Abelimages/Getty Images

    GP: 23 W: 9 L: 9 OT: 3 SO: 0

    GAA: 2.82 SvPCT: .896 Saves: 515

    Cap Hit: $6,000,000

    Dollars Per Save: $11,460.49 

    J.S. Giguere is one of the most highly paid goalies in the league, behind only Cam Ward, Ryan Miller and Henrik Lundqvist. Meanwhile, he's losing the starting job in Toronto. He's tied with Peter Budaj with the sixth worst save percentage in the league. Budaj's salary? $1.25 million!

    Giguere was rewarded, and rightly so, for the great playoffs he had and winning a Cup in Anaheim. However, if he can't establish himself as the starter in Toronto, he's not worth anything near $6 million a year. He is in the last year of his contract and is unlikely to ever earn this amount again.

1. Brian Rolston, LW: New Jersey Devils

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    GP 31 G 5 A 10 PTS 15

    Cap Hit: $5,062,500

    Dollars Per Point: $460,227.27 

    Brian Rolston joins a long list of aging, underperforming, overpaid New Jersey Devils battling injury. I may have figured out what is wrong in New Jersey.

    The 37-year-old Rolston is three years removed from a season where he had more than a "half" point a game season. $5 million seems exorbitant for that.

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