8 Worst Free Agency Contracts of 2024

Vince Carbonneau
July 8, 2024  (4:11 PM)

Brady Skjei in action
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The 8 Worst NHL Free Agency Contracts of 2024

The last big-name free agent for the 2024 offseason went off the board when Vladimir Tarasenko signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. Now, we can evaluate the best and worst UFA contracts of this summer. Despite some teams getting smarter in free agency, several questionable contracts were handed out. Here are the eight worst.
Brady Skjei - Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators went on a spending spree in free agency, but Brady Skjei's seven-year deal at a cap hit of $7 million was the most egregious. Skjei, who finished last season with 13 goals and 47 points for the Carolina Hurricanes, is a solid player. However, the seven-year term is concerning. Skjei turns 31 in March, and signing a defenseman on the wrong side of 30 for that long could be problematic. Additionally, it remains to be seen how he will perform outside the Hurricanes' defense-friendly system.
Joel Edmundson - Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings made some puzzling moves this summer, with Joel Edmundson's four-year deal at a cap hit of $3.8 million standing out. Once known as a stout defensive defenseman, Edmundson's game has declined significantly. His even-strength defense has been worth a goals above replacement (GAR) of minus-7.7 over the last three seasons. A $3.8 million cap hit for a non-top-four defenseman is a poor allocation of resources.
Chris Tanev - Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Chris Tanev to a six-year deal at a cap hit of $4.5 million. While Tanev is still one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL, he is 34 and plays a bruising style that could lead to a steep decline. The term of the contract is the main concern, as it could become problematic despite a projected rise in the salary cap.
Chandler Stephenson - Seattle Kraken
The Seattle Kraken needed more scoring, and Chandler Stephenson seemed like a fit. However, signing him to a seven-year deal at a cap hit of $6.25 million was questionable. Despite his 51 points last season, Stephenson's performance dipped significantly. The Kraken paid him like a first-line center, but even at his best, he is a second-line player. This contract could become burdensome if his decline continues.
Elias Lindholm - Boston Bruins
Elias Lindholm signed a seven-year deal with the Boston Bruins at a cap hit of $7.75 million after a down season. His decline has been steep since his 40-goal season in 2021-22, and there's concern that he was carried by his linemates in Calgary. While pairing him with David Pastrnak might help, this contract appears overly generous and could be problematic.
Sean Monahan - Columbus Blue Jackets
Sean Monahan's five-year deal with the Blue Jackets, worth $5.5 million annually, carries significant risk due to his injury history. Although he had a productive season, his health remains a concern. If Monahan can't stay healthy, this contract could become another burden for a team trying to rebuild.
Jake DeBrusk - Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks signed Jake DeBrusk to a seven-year deal at a cap hit of $5.5 million. While DeBrusk is a solid middle-six forward, giving him seven years seems excessive. The Canucks managed to keep the AAV down, but history suggests long-term deals for second-tier free agents often turn sour.
Brandon Montour - Seattle Kraken
The Kraken also signed Brandon Montour to a seven-year deal worth over $7 million annually. Montour is an offensively gifted defenseman, but questions remain about his ability to handle top-pair minutes. A shorter-term deal would have been more suitable, and this contract could tie the Kraken's hands in the future.
#### Conclusion
Teams handed out a record-breaking amount of money in free agency this year. While some are getting smarter, others continue making the same mistakes, and these contracts could become significant burdens in the coming years.
8 Worst Free Agency Contracts of 2024

Do you think long-term contracts for players over 30 are worth the risk?

Yes1544.1 %
No1955.9 %
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