Although the owners who actually churn out the checks will disagree, for the most part, the NHL’s worst contracts are all about term. It’s bad enough – but borderline inevitable – to pay a hockey player too much money. Things get a lot worse when that poor rate will renew itself for multiple seasons as that same player’s skills likely decline.
The Tampa Bay Lightning probably aren’t ecstatic about paying 35-year-old defenseman Mattias Ohlund a whopping $5.5 million in salary in 2011-12, but the long-term salary cap hit of approximately $3.61 million might be even scarier. It takes him through the 2015-16 season, making it one of those “What were they thinking?” contracts. Ohlund’s deal ties him with Steven Stamkos for the second longest running contract in Tampa Bay, behind Vincent Lecavalier’s troubling deal.
Ohlund’s foot speed keeps diminishing to a worrisome point, but now he has bigger concerns. The Lightning placed the Swedish blueliner on the injured reserve Monday because of a knee injury. He underwent an MRI yesterday, but the results haven’t been revealed just yet. During his first two seasons with Tampa Bay, Ohlund played 67 games in 2009-10 and 72 in 10-11. We’ll see how many he can be a part of in 11-12, as this certainly isn’t a promising start.
(H/T to Rotoworld.)
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.