Capitals Doing Well To Avoid ‘Scary’ Contracts List (So Far)

Fans always have certain player contracts that simply drive them nuts. Whether it’s cost or perceived lack of production value, there are always one or two (maybe more) contracts that just don’t sit well. However, believe it (or not), the Capitals are currently doing relatively well to avoid the “big boat anchor” contracts.

David Staples of the Edmonton Journal has just released his annual “scary contracts” list and, and thankfully no Washington Capitals currently reside on this years list.

His top-20 list is chockablock with cringeworthy deals. Deals that simply raise the blood pressure and turn the stomach just glancing at them. Here’s this years list of yuck.

Sheet: Dave Staples

These aren’t the only iffy-to-bad contracts handed out since the 2012 lock-out. Here’s 30 more deals, which have now run their course, that didn’t go well.

There are several former Capitals that make this list, including Alex Semin, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ilya Kovalchuk, Karl Alzner and Troy Brouwer. But thankfully, the big bucks came after their stay in Washington.

Sheet: Dave Staples

However, that doesn’t mean the Capitals are in the clear. There are several Capitals contracts that are likely concerning to Capitals fans now, or have the potential of becoming worrisome in the not-too-distant future.

Most of the aforementioned Capitals contracts simply become concerning as the deal ages, which is somewhat typical these days. However, deals for John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, and Justin Schultz may already be concerning. For example, most projections had Justin Schultz earning no more than $2,000,000 in his next deal, before he signed with the Capitals for $4,000,000 AAV.

Considering today’s market and tight economical times for the NHL, eye-catching contracts are drawing extra heat. Additionally, the deals signed by the likes of Lars Eller, Richard Panik and Nick Jensen may draw the most immediate fire, and are most likely to be dealt with first by the Capitals, as they should be easier to move, if necessary.

The Capitals are fortunate that they’ve stayed clear of Dave Staples annual “Yikes!” list this year, but things get more concerning on the near horizon.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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15 Responses to Capitals Doing Well To Avoid ‘Scary’ Contracts List (So Far)

  1. hockeydruid says:

    Both panik and Jensen have negative or dangerous contracts as neither can do enough positive things to justify the contract. The same can be said for Orlov. Asfor Eller he is doing what they have asked him to do as the 3rd line center and not providing anyone to add any scoring punch to that line. Oshie is worrisome due to the way he plays and his size and I often think that he is one hit away from being out of the game for some time. I think Backy wa given that contract to entice Ovie to resign. Question is what size and for how long do you resign Ovie? As for Kuzy I think he would be better served and also the team if he was moved to the forward slot where he was forced to shoot more. then his contract would be ok. Finally Carlson, he was paid to become the best and he is becoming the best. Hopefully he can maintain the level of play for many years.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If any contracts are worrisome or bother me it would be Panik, Jensen, maybe Orlov.

    None of the top players/HOF caliber players are worrisome bc Per 20mins/gm over 82 gms Backy gives his 50 assts+ around 20 goals, OV gives you 50 goals& around 80-85 points, Carlson gives you 24-25minutes a night in all areas& 60+ points. Oshie heart&soul 200 ft player(PP/PK etc) 20+ goals a year, 45-55 points. Kuzy runs hot and cold but usually between 70-85 points

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I think over time all of those contracts will be an issues. Some starting sooner rather than later.

      • hockeydruid says:

        To be honest ALL contracts are worrisome because of injury or a player just loosing it no matter what they have done in the past. Tome the problem is keeping players around rather than trading them at a certain point. Sometimes you dont have to get every ounce of skill out of a player just enough to get you to a certain point then trade hum. There are 3 players on the Caps that worry me the most: Samsonov, Kuzy and Vrana. Does Samsonov have the ability to grow up and not do stupid things to get hurt in the off season that could hurt his career and the team? Will Kuzy truly develop into what he could be at either the center or wing position? Is Vrana a flash in the pan, that is he has had 1 good year and is that all we are going to get?

      • Anonymous says:

        Disagree.. If your getting production at or above a certain level then contract are never worrisome. I know this can be very analytics based on this site but you cant live by spreadsheets when looking at contracts value&talent. Example: Tom Brady &Drew Brees are both in their 40s playing at high levels in a collision sport more dangerous then even hockey. Nutrition and medical advantages,Hyperberic chambers etc allow athletes to play until there 40s and maintain some prime years. So its not a bad contract if OVs getting 9-10 million a yr and hes still blasting 45-50 goals a 39-40 very possible with his skill set. Or Backy giving 50 assist with his.. etc I can go down the line..

        It’s the players who lack ability I worry bout like Panik&Jensen etc

  3. Scottlew73 says:

    The caps “cringe worthies” can also be called don’t reward just because you won a Cup!How many were signed the year of & year after cup win? Yes it’s nice to reward vets like Carlson & Backstrom,but you should also be working the “keep the band together” angle & giving up some money to help the team keep contending! Kuzi is about only good value on that list & that’s more because of his age. Especially since Ovie is coming due @ end of next season,& from all reports cap will not be increasing much next season where will “his reward” money come from? Smart GM’s know your young players or draft pick are greatest resource,except for Varana most have been dealt away.

    • hockeydruid says:

      And your opinion doeant matter especially with all the garbage you wrote about the Caps not singing Lundqvist due to you playing hockey and your whole family playing hockey. So you have proven that you know nothing and even worse your opinions are not to be considered.

      Evey team does the same think after winning a CUp, or in baseball the Words Series or in football the SuperBowl, they reward the players with big contracts. It is nothing new and will continue. No players is going to give up a penny to help the team contend because their career can end at any time, see Paul Kariya, Pat Peake, Bobby Orr, Pat Lafontaine, Donald Brashear, Steve Moore, Adam Deadmarsh, Cam Neely, Eric Lindros and that is just a short list off the top of my head. As for Ovie, 1st does he want to stay during what is certainly going to be a rebuild process or 2 would he rather go to the expansion team where he would be the big star and draw or maybe he would like to go somewhere that he could win another Cup before he retires; all depends on what he wants money or Cups.

      As for your statement “except for Varana most have been dealt away.” , lets see Wilson is still here as is Samsonov as is Kuzy as is Backy and Ovie and Carlson and Orlov. On the other side of the coin lets look at Eller who other teams didnt want and how he has blossomed here and the same with Oshie. A lot depends on the system you are in , the playing time you get and your linemates. Stephenson never got the playing time here like in LV and with increased playing time he is producing. Will Boyd do the same in Toronto or is he there just as a filler like he was here? Schmidt would have eventually priced himself out of Washington just like he did LV. Cody Eakin, in my opinion, lost his job here when he was knocked out in a game and yes that was the trade that brought the flub mike Ribeiro here. He may not have played well after Bruce was replaced as HC but I think GMGM didnt like the lack of fighting skills and soft chin Eakin had.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s unreasonable to call some of the Caps’ current contracts as bad when you consider that they were signed under the very reasonable presumption of an increasing salary cap. Of them, though, Oshie’s and Backstrom’s are most worrisome, due to their injury histories. Orlov is a solid second pair defenseman who has the 51st highest cap hit among defensemen this year. His cap comparables, which I judge as roughly 90-110% of his salary, rank from 37 (Jake Muzzin) to 62 (Aryan Murray). That range includes Hjallmarson, Matheson, DeKeyser, Goligoski, Hanifin, and the aforementioned Murray (plus Marc Staal who is just above the range). Taken in that context, Orlov’s contract isn’t so bad, especially since he should still be a very competent NHL defenseman at worst, by it’s completion (if he’s not taken in the expansion draft, that is- in which case, who cares?).

    Panik and Jensen are good players who just aren’t good fits with the team- or at least they weren’t with TR. It’s worth another look with a new coach before writing them off. They’re good hockey players.

    Eller’s is iffy, because by the end of it, he might be a very expensive 4th liner, but he’s also the team’s best face-off man and was third in PK time/game among forwards on the 6th best penalty killing team in the league. No one in the front office brought him in to be a finisher on offense, although he’s put up continually better offensive numbers than he did in Montreal, including scoring the most points outright in this shortened season, and pacing for a career high in goals. He fell flat in the playoffs, but let’s not forget, so did Vrana, and his other linemate, Oshie,s who scored 2 of his 3 goals on the PP, and all of them with Ovechkin on the ice with him.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am afraid if OVIE wants a raise in salary he may be the one gone. I love his game but he is only one player on this team. The only way this team survives is not just keeping one player happy

    • hockeydruid says:

      Im looking that the time has come to shed salary and some ego and lower the payroll and get some high draft picks in and start to reclimb that mountain to the Cup in 2-3 years. With that in mind I dont think Ovie wants to be here for a rebuild and I think he wants his money and his name and face as the front for a franchise. That can happen in Seattle. In Washington he would eat up to much of the limited salary cap and force toe Caps to go with players who are more suited for the AHL thean the NHL. Sad to say this but I have never looked at Ovie as a team player. It seems he is happiest and plays the best when he is “getting his”. And like you said he is only one player although a great player still only one player on a team and the salary structure and your team cannot be destroyed by one player.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know why there is so much hate on Orlov. He has been arguably our most reliable defender, but he isn’t a marquee name so people think he is overpaid. He is a solid 2nd pair dee at $5.1M. No issue there. And Jensen at $2.5M isn’t that bad either. It’s a tradeable contract if we need to move him. Oshie and Backstrom are both concerns because of age and term. But remember, under the CBA, they can also retire and we wouldn’t have to take the Cap hit which i think it likely with Backstrom. And lastly, on OV, he is soooo close with Ted and I think he is loyal to this organization, more so than he cares about the money. I think he too may sign a long(ish) contract but is more likely to retire before his contract ends.

    • hockeydruid says:

      Its not hate for Orlov it looking at a cash strapped team and seeing where money could be saved and his contract is one that looks like it could go for the betterment of the team. The same with Jensen but I do not agree that jensen isnt that bad as he is terrible compared to Orlov. I dont see any player signing a long loncract today and thinking I wont play all those years Ill retire before it is over. They all want the money. As for Ovie he and Ted may be close BUT Ovie wants to be paid and I dont think he wants to go through a rebuild as that is where the Caps are headed in 2-3 years. He knows his worth and what he brings to the team dollar wise and he wants his piece of the pie. I can see him not resigning but instead signing with Seattle and becoming the face of that franchise for several years and getting both the money and scoring crown.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Fair on Orlov. He is one of only a few which can be moved for value and clear a lot of space. I was actually hoping for this earlier in the year, but as time went on I think it is less likely. I could live with Jensen at $2.5 as he finally started moving the puck, but now we have cheaper options so moving him makes sense. On Ovi, I still disagree. Not every athlete is in for the contract money. He makes a ton in endorsements, has made plenty playing, And for some players, as they get older, other things are become more important. Lundquist is a bit different because he wants to win a cup. You could compare Tom Brady, but his ego goes the other direction. I guess we won’t know until it all plays out, but my money is on friendly contract and staying here to finish his career. I’ll bet you a beer. 🙂

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