Photo: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
With the buy-out period set to open very soon and the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft two weeks away, some teams might look to get rid of their worst contracts through buy-outs or trades. With that in mind, NoVa Caps looks at the worst contracts in the NHL.
Note: This does not include contracts expiring on July 28, when free agency opens.
Jeff Skinner – LW (Buffalo Sabres) — $9 million x six years, no-movement clause
After setting a career-high 40 goals and tying his personal best with 63 points in his first season in Buffalo and signing a contract extension to stay there, the 29-year-old saw his production fall off a cliff in each of the two seasons of his contract. He recorded 14 goals, 23 points, and a -22 rating in 59 games during the 2019-20 season before posting seven goals, 14 points, and a -11 rating in 53 games this past season. Skinner was a healthy scratch three times in 2020-21.
Sergei Bobrovsky – G (Florida Panthers) — $10 million x five years, no-movement clause
Just when he started showing signs of declining in his final season with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2018-19, the 32-year-old showed that was not a one-off as he finished his first season in Florida with a 23-19-6 record, a .900 save percentage, a 3.23 goals-against average, and one shutout. This season, Bobrovsky was slightly better as he went 19-8-2 with a .906 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average but was a healthy scratch often with the emergence of Chris Driedger and Spencer Knight.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson -LHD (Arizona Coyotes) — $8.25 million x six years, no-movement clause
The 29-year-old’s nine goals, 30 points, and -3 rating in the first year of his deal were each his worst in those respective categories since 2012-13. This past season, Ekman-Larsson recorded three goals, 24 goals, -17 rating, a 47.91% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 42.02% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 43.74% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 46 games. The Coyotes are in the midst of trying to trade him for the second consecutive offseason but they will likely have to give up at least a first-round pick just for someone to bite on his contract.
Loui Eriksson -LW (Vancouver Canucks) — $6 million x one year, 15-team modified no-trade clause
After finishing his final season with the Boston Bruins in 2015-16 with 30 goals and 63 points in 2015-16, it has all been downhill for the 35-year-old and the Canucks since the contract has been signed. He has appeared in more than 65 games in a season just once with the Canucks and has not finished higher with 11 goals or 29 points, respectively, since signing in Vancouver. Eriksson appeared in just seven games this past season, earning one assist.
Frans Nielsen – C (Detroit Red Wings) — $5.25 million x one year, 10-team no-trade clause
The first half of the contract was not bad as Nielsen finished his first season in Detroit with 17 goals and 41 points in 79 games, second with 16 goals and 33 points in 79, and third with 10 goals and 35 points in 72. However, the 37-year-old’s production has only spiraled down since the start of 2019-20 after posting four goals and nine points in 60 games that year and one goal and six points in 29 games this past season.
Andrew Ladd -LW (New York Islanders) — $5.5 million x two years, 15-team modified no-trade clause
Ladd lived up to his contract okay in the first year of the contract with 23 goals and 31 points in 78 games in 2016-17. He started to decline with 12 goals and 29 points in 73 games during the next season and only earned a jersey 26 times in head coach Barry Trotz’s first season on the Island the following year. Ladd did not make the most of his opportunities with just three goals and 11 points that season and played in just four NHL games in 2019-20, scoring once. He played in 34 games with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers that season and one this. Ladd did not appear in the NHL this past season.
PK Subban – RHD (New Jersey Devils) — $9 million x one year
Five goals, 19 points, -16 rating, 52.58% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 50.03% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 50.16% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 44 games during 2020-21 season
Ryan Johansen – C (Nashville Predators) — $8 million x four years
Seven goals, 22 points, even rating in 48 games during 2020-21 season
Drew Doughty – LHD (Los Angeles Kings) — $11 million x six years, no-movement clause
Eight goals, 34 points, -14 rating, 50.57% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 48.66% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 48.9% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 56 games during 2020-21 season
Erik Karlsson – LHD (San Jose Sharks) — $11.5 million x six years, no-movement clause
Eight goals, 22 points, -18 rating, 47.87% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 46.5% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 47.65% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 52 games during 2020-21 season
Brent Burns – RHD (Sharks) — $8 million x four years, no-movement clause
Seven goals, 29 points, -13 rating, 48.25% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 51.09% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 51.04% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 56 games during 2020-21 season
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – RHD (Sharks) — $7 million x five years, no-movement clause
One goal, six points, -8 rating, 46.04% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, 50.39% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, 50.08% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 51 games during 2020-21 season
Martin Jones – G (Sharks) — $5.75 million x three years, three-team no-trade clause
15-13-4, .896 save percentage, 3.28 goals-against average, one shutout in 34 games during 2020-21 season
James Neal – LW (Edmonton Oilers) — $5.75 million x two years
Five goals, 10 points, -2 rating in 48 games during 2020-21 season
Mikko Koskinen – G (Oilers) — $4.5 million x one year, 15-team no-trade clause
13-13-0, .899 save percentage, 3.17 goals-against average during 2020-21 season
By Harrison Brown