19 Good Reasons To Avoid Signing Free Agents

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Feb 16, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman

Anton Volchenkov

(28) passes the puck against the New York Islanders during the first period of an NHL game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

1. Anton Volchenkov – 6 years, $25.5M for a shot blocking, one dimensional defenseman was way too much for a free-spending team, let alone the usually thrifty (Kovalchuk aside) Devils.  There was no possible way he could live up to that contract and three years into it is basically a 5-6 defenseman.

2. Olli Jokinen – He failed in Calgary once, so why the Flames took another chance with a 2 year, $6M contract less than 6 months after trading him away was a big head-scratcher.

Actually, most teams were pretty level headed in 2010, and those are the only 2 that really stood out to me. Perhaps it is because this happened in 2009….


Mar 17, 2012; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman

Mike Komisarek

(8) fights with Ottawa Senators left Wing

Milan Michalek

(9) in the third period at Scotiabank Place. The Maple Leafs defeated the Senators 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

1. Alex Kovalev – Ottawa took a gamble on “the most talented player in the league”, to the tune of 2 years and $10M.  It was an experiment gone wrong, and Kovalev pulled some magic all right, a disappearing act on most nights.

2. Mike Komisarek – One in a long line of overpaid defensive defensemen that began with Jay McKee and ended with Volchenkov, Komisarek’s 5 year, $22.5M contract was way too rich for what he could offer. The final year of that deal has just been bought out.

3.  Martin Havlat –  The oft-injured Havlat somehow wrangled a 6 year, $30M deal from the offensively starved Wild.  Eventually the Wild dealt him to San Jose for an equally big headache and cap hit in Dany Heatley.

4. Marian Gaborik – The prize of the 2009 FA crop, Gaborik went to Broadway for a 5 year, $37.5M contract, and although he had a couple of good years in the first three seasons of the deal, the spotlight in New York just seemed to bright and his consistency was a big issue and why he was traded to Columbus at this year’s trade deadline.

5.  Mattias Ohlund – Ohlund looked old (but he wasn’t) through wear and tear with the Canucks, but the Lighting offered him 7 years and over $25M to go to the sunshine state.  That got them 2 years and 18 points, and he has missed the last two seasons due to injury and his career is likely over.