Close to 1 million search results come up when you Google “Worst NHL contracts“. I know – ouch.
Upon clicking through the first few links (Puck Daddy has a good one, as does NHL Snipers… and so does a little site named Stayclassy.net), it’s apparent a fair chunk of these so called “worst contracts, ever” were signed on July 1st. I know – ouch, again.
I’m not all that surprised, and I’m guessing you aren’t either. For all the crappy (and I mean really crappy) contracts July 1st seems to breed, there are some good ones, too (I stress some). Today, I want to look at two UFA signings from last summer that are fair in length and dollars that have made a very big impact on their respective teams.
Mikael Samuelsson – Vancouver Canucks
For whatever reason, Mike Gillis seems to have a knack for getting Swedish born players to put on a Canucks jersey (Sedins, Mats Sundin, Samuelsson and others). Gillis has signed some great deals for Vancouver, but perhaps none better than Mikael Samuelsson’s 3-year $7.5 Million contract last summer. That’s a cap hit of $2.5 Million per season for a player who scored 30 goals and registered 53 points in 74 games this year. $2.5 Million for a top 6 forward who brings leadership, a Stanley Cup ring and the ability to score clutch goals is an absolute steal. Money and contract aside, this was a great signing because Samuelsson gives the Canucks different options on line combo’s and is very responsible defensively – a nice trait many Canuck forwards have. He’s a great fit with the team and an excellent UFA signing by the Vancouver Canucks.
Mike Cammalleri – Montreal Canadiens
In my opinion, the biggest reason the Calgary Flames missed the 2010 Playoffs was due to a lack of goal scoring from an underrated forward named Mike Cammalleri. Essentially, the Flames chose Jay Bouwmeester over Cammalleri last summer and are now paying the price. Meanwhile, Cammalleri has been one of the Canadien’s top goal scorers, hitting the back of the net 26 times in a shortened 65 game season. Cammalleri is more than capable of being a consistent 40 goal scorer in the NHL if healthy. People have said a lot about Bob Gainey this year, but this was one the better signings he’s made in years. Cammalleri will be a Montreal Canadien for at least 4 seasons and carries a cap hit of $6 Million (the same cap hit Alex Sem0n carries…). Cammalleri is helping lead the Canadiens on and off the ice in a somewhat surprising Playoff run this year. Cammalleri is a dynamic forward, very versatile and doesn’t give up on plays. It’s also worth noting Cammalleri’s willingness and availability for interviews (good ones – not crusty Scott Gomez interviews) and the way he’s embraced the city of Montreal by tweeting everything in French and English. A solid signing last summer by the Montreal Canadiens.
Aside from Cammalleri and Samuelsson, players like Brian Gionta, Taylor Pyatt, Todd Bertuzzi and Craig Anderson have been key signings from last summer as well. Who are your top UFA signings from 2009?
Stay classy, Mikael Samuelsson and Mike Cammalleri. There are such things as good UFA signings… sometimes.
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