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Too Much Money, Too Few Results: The Worst Bargains in the NHL

It has been suggested that the reason the Winnipeg Jets decided to pay Olli Jokinen $4.5 million a year for two years was to reach “the floor” of the NHL’s the salary cap regulations.

That’s facetious, of course, but can you think of a better reason? The Jets don’t have a high payroll. Why give all that money to a guy with a questionable track record.

Kyle Wellwood (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Olli Jokinen.  (Photo by Shawn Coates)

Kyle Wellwood (left) celebrates his goal with overpaid teammate Olli Jokinen. (Photo by Shawn Coates)

When the Jets signed Jokinen, he was a 34-year-old veteran of 14 seasons and only six playoff games. He was the guy who put a halt to any scoring Jarome Iginla could do in 2011-12 – and Jokinen was Iginla’s freakin’ linemate! Jokinen is minus-127 in his career. That’s stunning.

This year, Jokinen has seven goals and seven assists in 42 games and is minus-16. Heading into Thursday night’s game, he was 806th in the NHL in plus-minus. That’s dead last.

Amazing, isn’t it? The Jets get all of that for $4.5 million.

Jokinen is one of the biggest rip-offs in the National Hockey League this season. Granted, it’s not his fault. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff gave him the money – for two years, no less. If someone offered you $9 million to play two years in the NHL, you’d take it. Even if you couldn’t skate.

Alex Ovechkin: Went from overpaid to underpaid in two months.

Alex Ovechkin: Went from overpaid to underpaid in two months.

Meanwhile, to be completely fair, Jokinen isn’t the only player in the NHL who is being paid way more than he’s worth. In fact, he might be sixth on the list.

In fact, at the start of the season, Alex Ovechkin might have been the poster boy for overpaid hockey players. That is until he caught fire in mid-February and almost single-handedly set the Washington Capitals off on a streak that has the team on the verge of a lock on first place in the Southeast Division.

So without any further adieu, let’s look at the five players who are the biggest rip-offs in the NHL this season. The five players who are being paid a King’s Ransom for a Joker’s effort:

Dany Heatley: What's this thing for?

Dany Heatley: What’s this thing for?

Dany Heatley, Minnesota Wild, $5 million: He was just injured and is done for the season and that’s almost fitting for the way things have gone for a guy who was once a legitimate NHL superstar. Heatley plays on a very good team in Minnesota and when Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signed, you had to figure things would be great for a player like Heatley. But this season has been a bust. There have been games this year when he played only seven or eight minutes. At the time of his injury, Heatley had 11 goals and 10 assists and was an ugly minus-12 – 783 rd in the league. He averaged 18:32 per game in ice time and had won only 38.7 per cent of his faceoffs. The worst $5 million player in the game in 2013. Of course, to be fair, in 2008-09, he made $10 million. It could be worse.

Jay Bouwmeester. St. Louis Blues. $6 million a year?!

Jay Bouwmeester. St. Louis Blues. $6 million a year?!

Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis Blues, $6.6 million: The Calgary Flames couldn’t believe their good fortune when the Blues decided to give up a first-round pick and two prospects for Bouwmeester, a 6-foot-4, 212-pound 29-yearp-old with six goals and 12 assists, a minus-eight plus-minus mark and a $6.6 million price tag who will become an unrestricted free agent. It’s not that he can’t play. It’s just that he’s paid way, way, way more than he’s worth.

Nik Antropov, looking confused once again.

Nik Antropov, looking confused once again.

Nik Antropov, Winnipeg Jets, $4.75 million: Talk about stealing money, this guy is an international jewel thief. He has five goals – that’s almost a million dollars a goal – and 11 assists in 38 games and apparently has bad knees and a sore rib. He had a couple of good games when teammate Alexander Burmistrov was benched. Burmistrov’s plight seemed to light a fire under the 6-foot-6, 245-pound 33-year-old. But that lasted two games. The Jets wanted to move him at the trade deadline but nobody wanted him. Another great signing by Don Waddell in Atlanta.

Drew Stafford: Just a bad year.

Drew Stafford: Just a bad year.

Drew Stafford, Buffalo Sabres, $4 million: It’s been a horrible year for the Sabres and Drew Stafford is the poster boy. He has five goals and eight assists in 38 games and is now 803rd in plus-minus at minus-16. This is a guy who had 20 goals and 30 assists and was a plus-five last year. Like the rest of the Sabres, it looks like he’s given up.

Mikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames, $5 million: On the bright side, he only makes $1.5 million next year in the last year of his contract. This year, however, he’s the highest paid goalie fail in the NHL. Injuries have certainly not helped him, but his numbers are frighteningly bad. In 21 games, he has a record of 6-13-2. His goals against average is 3.61 (74th in the NHL) and his save percentage is .872 (also 74th). There are junior goalies that could put up those numbers behind any NHL defense. It’s just been a sad, sad season for ol’ Kipper. Hard to believe the Toronto Maple Leafs were interested in dealing for him at the deadline. He’s 36 and he’s pretty much done.

Mikka Kiprusoff: Where am I?

Mikka Kiprusoff: Where am I?

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