Famously stated by former NHL GM Brian Burke, July 1st is the day which teams make the most mistakes. They see players on the unrestricted free agent market and pay too much and for too long based entirely on what they’ve already accomplished in their careers. Rarely is there a contract to a star player that accurately reflects his future value, and never does an offseason pass without someone drastically overpaying.
Last year there were immediate doubts about the long-term deals handed out to players like David Backes, Milan Lucic and Loui Eriksson, and though each had varying levels of success in their first year could all be called disappointments. Those contracts could get even uglier as they go on, and look like a ridiculous deal in a few seasons.
This year had less star power on the free agent market, and a headliner in Kevin Shattenkirk that actually took less money and term than almost anyone expected. He headed to the Rangers for just four seasons despite being arguably the most sought-after player on the market, and while he easily could start his decline it’s hard to call his contract much of an albatross. In fact, only two UFAs even received a contract of five years in what was a relatively tame free agent period. Karl Alzner and Alexander Radulov led the way, though much longer extensions were given out to players like Carey Price and Brent Burns.
Looking at just the UFA deals from this summer (which excludes things like T.J. Oshie’s contract that was signed on June 23rd), which do you think will look the worst in a year? We’ve included some of the top candidates, but don’t hesitate to list another contract in the comments below and explain why you think it will be the worst.
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