The NHL's 25 Most Overpaid Players

Jason Sapunka@moreSapunkaCorrespondent IIApril 5, 2012

The NHL's 25 Most Overpaid Players

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    Last week the Montreal Canadiens fired general manager Pierre Gauthier, the man responsible for bringing Scott Gomez and his humongous contract to the team.

    Gomez is one of the NHL's most overpaid players, taking up a hunk of cap space from the Canadiens.

    There are many other players in the league who are costing their clubs more than they're worth.

25. Matt Walker

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    Walker's salary is so high that the Flyers can't call him up from the AHL when they need another defenseman.

    This tough, lower-line defenseman somehow managed to get himself a $1.7 million average salary.

24. Michal Rozsival

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    The 33-year-old defenseman earned his $5 million average salary by once having a plus/minus of plus-35.

    Not much else though.

23. Michael Leighton

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    Not too many AHL starting goaltenders make $1.55 million per season, but Michael Leighton does.

22. Thomas Vanek

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    Vanek is worth a lot of money at an average production of more than 60 points per season, but probably not $7.14 million.

21. Jason Blake

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    An average $4 million yearly salary is a bit too high for a 38-year-old forward who hasn't scored more than 41 points in three seasons.

20. Andrei Markov

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    It's tough to call out a guy who has been injured, but the reality is that Andrei Markov has been paid $17.25 million for appearing in just 63 games since the start of the 2009-10 season.

    Is that money well spent?

19. Vincent Lecavalier

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    Lecavalier is the Lightning's captain and a great player in his own way, but should he really be paid more than teammate Steven Stamkos, who is the best sniper in the NHL?

    Lecavalier's cap hit is $227,000 higher than Stamkos' at $7.27 million per season.

18. Danny Briere

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    The value of Briere comes through leadership and playoff performance. However, the 34-year-old is declining and is having his least-productive season since he was with the Phoenix Coyotes.

    It's hard to believe he'll be worth $6.5 million throughout the duration of his contract.

17. Rick Nash

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    Nash has the fifth-highest cap hit in the NHL, but is nowhere close to being the fifth-best player in the league. He's totaled more than 70 points just once.

16. Eric Staal

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    Staal is a great hockey player, but should he really be the highest-paid player behind Sidney Crosby?

    Staal has a $8.25 million cap hit, averaging 74 points over the past six seasons.

15. James Wisniewski

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    The Blue Jackets' six-year, $33 million investment does not look like a good idea so far.

14. Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Kovalchuk's average salary is not that inappropriate right now; $6.67 million is not much to pay for a guy with Kovalchuk's production.

    However, his 15-year, $100 million contract has him signed until age 42. How many years are the Devils going to be using a $6.67 million cap hit on an over-the-hill veteran?

13. Dwayne Roloson

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    Overpaying someone after a career year is a common mistake.

    Giving a 41-year-old $3.5 million is a bigger mistake.

12. Alexander Semin

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    For $6.7 million, a team should be getting more than 55 points in a season. The Capitals will not be getting that from Semin this season.

11. Ryan Smyth

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    Smyth is in the last season of a five-year contract paying him an average salary of $6.25 million.

    The contract was signed when Smyth could be counted on for more than 60 points per season, but he will not be getting anything close to that salary this summer when he needs a new contract.

10. Jay Bouwmeester

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    Bouwmeester has not had a positive plus/minus in five years. That's not good for a defenseman who makes an average of $6.68 million per season.

9. Brian Campbell

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    The Chicago Blackhawks felt Campbell earned an eight-year, $57.1 million contract after a career year in 2007-08.

    That 62-point season has Campbell being the second-highest paid defenseman by cap hit this year. Only Shea Weber is higher on the list.

    Campbell is an All-Star, but not even close to the level that Weber is on.

8. Dany Heatley

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    Heatley's is on pace for a 50-point season that will cost the Wild a $7.5 million cap hit.

7. Brian Rolston

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    Rolston has the highest average annual salary ($5.06 million) of any forward on the defending Stanley Cup champions.

    Wrap your mind around that one.

6. Alex Ovechkin

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    Maybe when Ovechkin was scoring more than 50 goals each season, he was worth the NHL's highest cap hit.

    However, he's not even a 70-point player this season and has not totaled 100 points since Michael Leighton was a starting goaltender in the NHL.

    For Ovechkin's $9.538 million cap hit, a team could sign both Claude Giroux and John Tavares. Both are better players than Ovechkin this season.

5. Ville Leino

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    Leino is being paid $1 million per goal (six total) this season.

    The Sabres made the mistake of giving him a $27 million contract after the 27-year-old impressed on a line with two All-Stars, Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell.

4. Rick DiPietro

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    What the Islanders see in Rick DiPietro is a mystery.

    The team not only made the mistake of drafting him first overall, but gave him a 15-year, $67.5 million contract as well.

    At $4.5 million per season, DiPietro is a waste of money.

3. Scott Gomez

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    Gomez totaled 38 points in 80 games last season, when he was being paid an $8 million salary.

    This year, his pay drops to $7.5 million, but is far from earned; he has just 11 points in 38 games.

2. Cristobal Huet

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    The 36-year-old Huet has a $5.63 million salary, but is on loan to HC Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss National League.

1. Wade Redden

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    The 34-year-old Redden is getting paid $6.5 million this season to play in the AHL.

    What more of an explanation do you need?

    Jason Sapunka covers the NHL and Philadelphia Flyers as a Featured Columnist.