With NHL training camps opening next week and the 2022-23 season starting on Oct. 13, most teams have used up their salary-cap space signing free agents. Many of the significant signings took place in late June and early July when clubs had the cap room to invest in re-signing key talent or bolstering their roster through the free-agent market.
The general managers who inked those players believe they'll be getting good value for their investments. However, there could be a handful of decisions end up regretting.
Signing an aging player to a long deal, as the Pittsburgh Penguins did with Kris Letang, is a gamble that could eventually become a drain on a team's payroll. Alternatively, signing a promising young player to an expensive contract on the basis of one good season could backfire if he fails to blossom into stardom.
Here are five NHL contracts signed this year that could end up giving their teams buyer's remorse.
Do you agree or disagree with our list? Is there a player we missed that you believe should be here? Let us know in the comments section below.
Nazem Kadri, Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames handed out two of this summer's biggest contracts. One came when they reached an agreement with winger Jonathan Huberdeau on an eight-year, $84 million contract extension that kicks in next season. The other inked Nazem Kadri to a seven-year, $49 million deal on Aug. 18.
Huberdeau's deal is much more expensive, but the 29-year-old winger is among the league's elite playmakers, finishing with 115 points last season. Kadri, who turns 32 on Oct. 6, is a skillful and agitating two-way center who had a career-best 87-point performance while helping the Colorado Avalanche win the 2022 Stanley Cup.
Kadri's contract could become the more troublesome of the two down the road. While still in his playing prime, he will likely find it difficult to remain an effective second-line center heading into his mid-thirties.
It's a gamble that could pay off for Flames general manager Brad Treliving if Kadri helps his new club become a serious Stanley Cup contender. If he doesn't, his $7 million annual salary-cap hit through 2028-29 will become a drag on their payroll that could prove difficult to shed.