Dead Weight: One Player Each NHL Team Should Bury In The Minors
When the salary cap was first introduced into the NHL coming out of the 2004-05 lockout, it dramatically changed the league. No longer could the rich teams like the New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs just buy every player they wanted without any consequences. Every contract given out to a player now had to be carefully thought out. However, there was a loophole that allowed teams to get rid of bad contracts by sending them down to the minors. If a player was sent down the team still had to pay their salary but their contract was taken off the salary cap.
While in today’s NHL you can’t bury a players entire contract, you can still save about $1 million on the cap. That may not seem like a whole lot of money, but it is for a team that is right up against the cap.
A players salary is only one reason why burying a player in the minors is a great option. Another reason is simply that your team is better on the ice without them. These players are just waste of a roster space and taking opportunities away from much better players.
Making this list was a bit of a challenge considering some teams are solid throughout their roster. So with a few exceptions, here is one player from each NHL team that is nothing but dead weight and should be buried in minors.
31. ANAHEIM DUCKS: JARED BOLL
It’s hard to believe a player like Jared Boll still has a job in the NHL. The role of an enforcer has slowly died out in recent years. In today’s NHL, every player in the lineup has to be able to chip in at least a bit offensively, something Boll hasn’t done since his first couple of seasons in the league.
What makes the inclusion of Boll on the Ducks roster even more puzzling, is the fact that he’s usually on the loser end of his bouts. Boll is due to make just under $1 million next season and that’s money the Ducks could have spent elsewhere. Surprisingly Boll has never played a single game in the minors during his career, but he wants it to continue, playing in the AHL may be his only option.
30. ARIZONA COYOTES: JAMIE MCGINN
The Coyotes signed Jamie McGinn in 2016 to a three-year, $10 million contract. The forward was coming off a career season with 22 goals and 39 points. Maybe even more important than his stats was the fact McGinn was able to do something that he hasn’t been able to do for most of his career, and that is to stay healthy.
While McGinn was able once again avoid injury in his first season in the desert, he was an inconsistent player, to say the least. He only managed to score nine goals and had a dreadful minus 23 rating. The Coyotes will be one of the youngest team’s in the NHL next season and they are going to need the veteran McGinn to step it up and start earning his contract.
29. BOSTON BRUINS: MATT BELESKEY
When the Boston Bruins signed Matt Beleskey in 2015, you knew there was a decent chance the contract would come back to haunt the Bruins. In 2014-15, Beleskey had a career year with the Anaheim Ducks, netting a career-high 22 goals in just 65 games. His previous career high was just 11 goals during the 2009-10 season.
There was a good possibility that Beleskey’s career season was just a fluke. After two years with the Bruins, that is exactly what it looks like. Beleskey scored a decent 15 goals during his first year with the Bruins, but only managed three goals in 49 games this past season. Beleskey and his $3.8 million cap hit is going to haunt the Bruins for the next few seasons.
28. BUFFALO SABRES: JOSH GORGES
There was a time where Josh Gorges was considered one of the top shutdown defenseman in the league. However, since joining the Sabres in 2014 he has been on a steady decline. In his first season with Sabres in 2014-15, he finished with an embarrassing minus 28 rating in just 46 games.
While Gorges has been a bit better the last couple seasons, that’s not saying much. He has had trouble staying healthy throughout his career and that hasn’t changed. Gorges best trait at this point in his career is his leadership skills. Although his near $4 million salary is a lot to pay for someone who just is great locker room guy.
27. CALGARY FLAMES: TROY BROUWER
Troy Brouwer was one of the bigger names in the 2016 NHL free agent class. The big power forward had been a consistent near twenty goal scorer while still being a pain to play against. He was also coming off a great 2016 playoffs with the St.Louis Blues where he finished second on the team with eight goals.
The Flames locked Brouwer up to a four-year contract worth average of $4.5 million per year. His first year with the Flames ended up being a terrible one as his 13 goals and 25 points were his lowest totals since his rookie season. At the age of 31, it wouldn’t be shocking if Brouwer was started to go on the decline.
26. CAROLINA HURRICANES: KLAS DAHLBECK
The Carolina Hurricanes are the first team on this list where they don’t really have any players that are dead weight. They don’t have any true superstar players but they also don’t have any obvious weak ones either. Last year the Hurricanes dressed rather useless players like Jay McClement, Ryan Murphy, and Bryan Bickell, but they thankfully cut them loose.
If you had to choose one player to single out who would be better off next year playing in the minors, it’s Klas Dahlbeck. After playing a career high 71 games with Arizona Coyotes in 2015-16, the defenseman managed to get into just 43 games with Hurricanes last season. While Dahlbeck isn’t a terrible player, he just doesn’t do enough good things to warrant a full-time spot in an NHL lineup.
25. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: JORDIN TOOTOO
Jordin Tootoo has overcome a lot in order to make it to the NHL. He was the first player to grow up in Nunavut and lace up his skates in the NHL. After establishing himself as one biggest pests in the league, Tootoo found his career in jeopardy due to substance abuse.
Fortunately, Tootoo was able to get life and career together in recent years. While it’s a nice story, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he deserves a spot in the NHL. Tootoo played last season for the Blackhawks and he played well enough to earn a one-year contract extension. While Tootoo has shown glimpses of offensive talent in the past, he only recorded three points last season. The Blackhawks would better of with a player cheaper and younger than Tootoo.