Many ridiculous NHL contracts evaporated this summer. Compliance buyouts terminated the lavish Rick DiPietro, Ilya Bryzgalov and Vincent Lecavalier deals, among others.
Those veterans will get their settlement spread out over time. The hapless DiPietro, for instance, will collect $1.5 million per year until 2029 from the New York Islanders. And people complain about government pensions!
Ilya Kovalchuk walked away from the last 12 years and $77 million of his New Jersey Devils contract, presumably so he could collect even more money playing back home in Russia.
But plenty of NHL players still make extravagant money. If the league named its Powerball All-Stars, it would look something like this:
W: ALEXANDER OVECHKIN, CAPITALS
Total contract: $124 million over 13 years.
Scary fact: This deal, which still has $79 million left on it, will pay him $10 million in 2020-21.
Positive note: He finished with a flourish last season, inspiring the Professional Hockey Writers Association to vote him to the NHL’s First All-Star Team at right wing and the Second All-Star Team at left wing. That was a quite an honor.
Unsettling truth: Ovechkin carries an annual salary cap hit of $9.5 million for the next eight years.
Money quote: “I said it before, before I sign contract, if the league decide to cut our salaries and cut our contracts for what they want, I don't know how many guys will be coming back. We signed contracts before and why they have to cut our salaries and our contracts right now? They sign us, want to cut it, I think it's a stupid idea and a stupid decision by the NHL, (commissioner Gary) Bettman and the guys who work there.” –Ovechkin, threatening to stay in Russia once the lockout ended.
W: ZACH PARISE, WILD
Total contract: $98 million over 13 years.
Scary fact: He is collecting $25 million on bonuses during the first three years of the deal.
Positive note: Parise led the offensively-challenged Wild with 38 points in 48 games.
Unsettling truth: Wild owner Craig Leipold became a hard-liner during the NHL labor battle after lavishing $196 million in free agent contracts on Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.
Money quote: “You have all these owners signing big deals minutes before the CBA expires and then going the next day, 'We don't want to pay these contracts.' Maybe that's how they conduct business. That just doesn't seem right. What if us players signed a deal and said, 'You know what, I actually want 15 percent more?'”—Parise, noting the absurdity of the NHL owners’ pre-lockout spending spree last summer.
C: EVGENI MALKIN, PENGUINS
Total contract: $83.5 million over nine years.
Scary fact: His contract extension – for eight years and $76 million, starting in 2014-15 –creates a bigger annual cap hit than Sidney Crosby’s 12-year, $104 million deal.
Positive note: Malkin may be the best player in the world.
Unsettling truth: Crosby and Malkin will consume 27 percent of Pittsburgh salary cap space all by themselves during the coming season.
Money quote: “If you worry too much about three years from now, I'm not sure, from what I've seen, how beneficial that is,” Penguins GM Ray Shero, on team-building and cap management.
D: RYAN SUTER
Total contract: $98 million over 13 years.
Scary fact: Like Parise, he is collecting $25 million on bonuses during the first three years of the deal.
Positive note: Suter stepped up last March, producing 16 points with a plus-7 rating in 15 games.
Unsettling truth: He faded in April (four points in 14 games) and disappeared in the playoffs, producing no points with a minus-5 rating.
Money quote: “It's disappointing. If you can't afford to do it then you shouldn't do it. (Craig Leipold) signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it's disappointing. A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed.” – Suter, grousing during the lockout.
D: SHEA WEBER, PREDATORS
Total contract: $110 million over 14 years.
Scary fact: The contract pays him $68 million in bonuses over the first six years of the deal.
Positive note: He is a true cornerstone defenseman.
Unsettling truth: Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren drew up this offer sheet. He constructed many of the worst contracts in NHL history.
Money quote: “I don't know. What's the divorce rate? That's probably the answer to that question. I don't want to see any divorces.” --Weber, when asked if this contract meant he was “married” to the Capitals organization.
GT: ROBERTO LUONGO, CANUCKS
Total contract: $64 million over 12 years:
Scary fact: He will collect $6.714 million in 2017-18, when he turns 39.
Positive note: Luongo reclaimed his starting job from Cory Schneider during the playoffs.
Unsettling truth: Luongo was eagerly awaiting his trade from Vancouver when GM Mike Gillis dealt Schneider instead.
Memorable quote: “My main goal is to be a starter. I feel I still have a lot to give. I am at a stage in my life where I want to play; whether that's here or somewhere else remains to be seen. But what's happened over the course of the last two years suggests that maybe it's not my place to be the starter here anymore.” – Luongo, campaigning for a trade that never happened.