SB Nation’s NHL portal has been killing time this summer by evaluating each team’s worst contract and each team’s best.
It should make Blues fans feel better that David Backes and his massive $6 million a season cap hit is ranked as the Bruins’ worst current contract. Backes’ play is dropping off with age, which is exactly what the Blues’ front office feared and the reason that they let him walk. Troy Brouwer’s three years, $4.5 million a year with the Flames is also a noted clunker.
The Blues’ worst contract has been determined to be Jay Bouwmeester’s two years at $5.4 million a season.
Bouwmeester was one of the better defensemen in the NHL just a few years ago, but he’s a fraction of that player at this point. Over the past three seasons, he’s put up just 47 points with a Corsi Relative of minus-3.2 percent or worse every year. The Blues have kept leaning on him in a major role, but he’s increasingly struggled to fill it effectively.
One thing that should be looked at is that Bouwmeester was one of the better NHL defensemen when this deal was signed in 2013. The dollar amount wasn’t necessarily the issue. The term plus the dollar amount is the issue. Does Bouwmeester deserve to be paid $5.4 million a season through age 35? (Author’s note: does anyone else automatically think that Jay Bouwmeester is older than he is? The fact that I’m a couple years older than he is confuses me.)
It could be argued that the Blues’ overpaid for Paul Stastny, but the need for a top center was a priority for Doug Armstrong. It was not, obviously, always a priority for Ken Hitchcock.
Alexander Steen has four years left on his deal, carrying him through age 37 at $5.75 million a season cap hit. His extension was based off of two back-to-back career seasons that he hasn’t come close to replicating due to injury.
The Blues’ best contract? Vladimir Tarasenko:
Tarasenko’s huge eight-year, $60 million deal with St. Louis was a bit unexpected when it first happened, but now it looks like the Blues were ahead of the curve. Second contracts for superstar players have skyrocketed in price, and now Tarasenko making $7.5 million per year through his 20s looks like a great deal for the team.
At least the Blues won’t be at fault for the next lockout.
It’s hard to argue that Tarasenko isn’t the team’s best contract, though locking up Jaden Schwartz for four more years at a $5.35 million a year cap hit is a really damned close second, and five years of Defenseman of Tomorrow, Today! Colton Parayko at a $5.5 million a year cap hit might be tied with Schwartz’s deal.
Moral of this story? At least the Blues don’t have Dustin Brown’s contract. Yeesh.