Free Agent "Frenzy" - Top 10 Worst Signings of 2011

Its the Dog Days for NHL fans. With nothing much else going, here's one take on the worst free agent signings of the summer. Which moves do you consider the worst? Gory details after the jump....

10. Washington Capitals signed Joel Ward, RW to a 4-year, $12M contract (3.00 cap hit).
Ward is a 30 y.o. who only broke into the league four years ago. His highest point total is 35 (in 2008-2009). He had one good playoff run and capitalized.

9. Philadelphia Flyers signed Max Talbot, RW/C to a 5-year, $9M deal (1.80 cap hit).
Talbot is great for chemistry, and good on the PK, but he doesn't score much. His career-high point total is 26 (2007-2008) and he's scored a total of 10 goals in the last two seasons combined. At age 27, its hard to imagine upside from here.

8. Calgary Flames re-signed Alex Tanguay, LW to a 5-year, $17.5M contract (3.50 cap hit).
After three consecutive poor seasons, he rebounded to post 69 points last year. One good season in four,31 years old, and "soff." no thanks.

7. Montreal Canadiens signed Erik Cole, RW to a 4-year, $18M deal (4.50 cap hit).
Not to be outdone by their Canadian rivals in red, Montreal signed an aging winger (he's 32 y.o.) to an excessively long contract. Cole's one foray away from Carolina didn't fare so well (only 27 points in EDM in 2008-2009). He plays a physical game, which is a plus, but last year was the first of his 9-year career that he participated in all 82 games. He had averaged only 40 GP the prior 3 seasons. Pass.

6. Phoenix Coyotes signed Mike Smith, G to a 2-year, $4M deal (2.00 cap hit).
The money and term are not bad, but Smith is a back up at best. Jason LaBarbera may end up starting more games this season and he's signed for a fraction of the price.

5. Colorado Avalanche signed Jan Hejda, D to a 4-year, $13.0M contract (3.25 cap hit).
A 33-year old defensive defenceman with a combined -20 plus-minus his past two seasons and a career high of 21 points (in 2008-2009) signed thru 2014-2015.

4. Buffalo Sabres signed Ville Leino, F to a 6-year, $27.0M deal (4.50 cap hit).
Leino has a career high of 19 goals (last season) and gets one of the richest contracts handed out this summer. Buffalo must have seen something that Detroit and others did not.

3. New York Islanders re-signed Trevor Gillies, Goon to a 1-year contract.
This guy shouldn't even be in the league. Way to "stay" classy Islanders.

2. Florida Panthers signed Ed Jovanovski, D to a 4-year, $16.5M deal ($4.125 cap hit).
Tallon handed out a lot of poor contracts (Kopecky, Bergenheim, etc.), but this one takes the cake. Jovocop is 35 years old, and has 15 seasons of hard miles on his odometer. A one or two year deal would have made a lot more sense. Mentor the young blueliners. Get up to the cap floor. The third and fourth years are beyond excessive.

1. Philadelphia Flyers signed Ilya Bryzgalov, G to a 9-year, $51M contract ($5.6666 cap hit).
The Flyers misjudged the goalie market. The large cap hit necessitated trading away 1 or 2 key players, although it appears they were intent on blowing up the team in any case. When the trend is toward allocating a (much) smaller % of the cap to goalie salaries, Philadelphia went the other direction. The 31 year old Bryzgalov is signed through age 40.

Dishonorable mentions: Edmonton Oilers signed castoff Cam Barker to a 1-year, $2.25M contract. Were there ANY other suitors for his services?; Florida Panthers signed Jose Theodore to a 2-year, $3M contract (1.50 cap hit). Definitely a downgrade from Vokoun who signed a 1-year deal with the identical cap hit to flee to Washington, it makes you wonder if Tallon isn't planning a little "tankopalooza" through 2014; Carolina Hurricanes re-signed the ever brittle Joni Pitkanen to a 3-year, $13.5M contract ($4.50 cap hit). Joni's averaged 69 GP over the past 4 seasons. That number and the pronunciation of his first name may have Tantric fans excited, but Carolina fans can't love this deal.

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