The NHL’s Ten Most Untradeable Contracts

June 22nd, 2010 3 Comments

With so many NHL teams up or near the top of the salary cap there are plenty of big ticket players that NHL general managers would love to send packing.

Trouble is, with so little cap space out there, many of these contracts are virtually untradeable.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the NHL’s ten most untradeable contracts—who will emerge as number one?

***Please note: all numbers going forward are courtesy of and represent the players “CAP HIT”, not “SALARY”.

Jeff Finger, Defenseman, Toronto Maple Leafs:

When then Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher signed Jeff Finger to a long-term deal, many Leafs fans thought Fletcher was, in fact, giving the the fans of the Blue and White, “the finger”.

With two years at $3.5 million per left on his contract and without the benefit of any reasonable numbers or ability to back them up, Jeff Finger (who does not have a no-trade clause) owns one of the NHL’s worst contracts which, in my opinion, is all but impossible to move.

Dustin Penner, Forward, Edmonton Oilers:

With two years at $4.5 million per left on his bloated contract, Edmonton Oilers forward Dustin Penner will be tough to deal.

Sure, he scored 32 goals and added 31 assists for 63 points in 82 games, but he did most of his scoring in the first half of the 2009-10 season.

It is this inconsistency that makes Penner a tough sell to any NHL team.

Daniel Briere, Forward, Philadelphia Flyers:

As good as Danny Briere was throughout the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the verdict is still out on wether or not Briere can put together an injury free NHL regular season.

Briere, who has a no-trade clause, has a considerable injury history and has not scored 30 or more goals since the 2007-08 season when he scored 31 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

While 2009-10 can be viewed as a turn-around season for Briere, it will be tough to sell his services to any NHL general manager, especially when you consider he has five years at $6.5 million per left on his contract.

Chris Drury, Forward, New York Rangers:

Coming off a season in which he scored 37 goals and 67 points in 77 games as a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Chris Drury looked as though he was about to emerge as the NHL’s next big star.

Fast forward three seasons later and nothing could be further from the truth.

During his three seasons with the New York Rangers Drury, who has a no-trade clause, has posted a total of 61 goals and 146 points, bottoming out in 2009-10 with a paltry 14 goals and 32 points in 77 games played.

Needless to say, 32 points just doesn’t cut it for a player that has a $7,050,000 cap hit through 2011-12.

Drury, who was demoted to the third line on occasion this season will likely handcuff the Rangers for the next two season’s as his contract is all but untradeable unless he somehow finds his game again—which is highly doubtful.

Jason Spezza, Forward, Ottawa Senators:

It’s no secret that the Ottawa Sentor fans have a lot of disdain for Jason Spezza. fact is, given Spezza’s sub-par numbers in 2009-10 (23 goals, 34 assists in 60 games played) those feelings are not without warrant.

Spezza’s compete level and maturity have both been questioned, as has his desire to remain with the Senators.

With a no-trade clause and a contract that will see Spezza chip away $7 million in cap space through 2014-2015, Spezza had better find a way to make himself marketable (i.e. start playing up to his potential) or he will be remaining in Ottawa for a very long time.

Spezza is on record as saying he wouldn’t oppose a trade, good luck with that!

Tim Thomas, Goaltender, Boston Bruins:

Fresh off his 2008-09 Vezina Trophy winning season, Tim Thomas fell out of favor with the Boston Bruins, giving way to impressive rookie netminder, Tuuka Rask.

Thomas, 36 years-old, has a no-trade clause and three years remaining on his contract that will see him earn $15 million at a cap hit of $5 million per season.

While not horrible, Thomas’ numbers took a huge nosedive last season, going from 36-11-7 with a 2.10 goals against average and a .933 save percentage to a 17-18-8 record with a 2.56 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

Given his numbers, you’d think there may be an NHL team willing to give Thomas a second chance, but with NHL teams becoming more and frugal when it comes to signing netminders, a fit will be tough to come by for Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.

Nikolai Khabibulin, Goaltender, Edmonton Oilers:

Nicknamed the “Bulin Wall”, Nikolai Khabibulin is one of the NHL’s most talented goaltenders; that is when he’s healthy.

Unfortunately, a recent rash of injuries have set Khabibulin back, costing him almost the entire 2009-10 season with the Oilers, limiting his trade options in the process.

With just three seasons at a cap hit of $3.5 million left on his contract Khabibulin is somewhat affordable. That said, unless he can heal from his injuries (which look to be career threatening) the Bulin Wall may very well find himself finishing off his career on the Oilers bench as an afterthought or on the sidelines as a spectator.

Vincent Lecavalier, Forward, Tampa Bay Lightning:

Newly signed Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has said all the right things when it comes to Vincent Lecavalier, making it known that he feels Lecavalier can resurface as an elite player and a leader for his team.

Truth be known, a part of Yzerman must be hoping Lecavalier can find his game so he can peddle him to the highest bidder in an effort to rid the Lightning of Lecavalier’s contract, which is currently holding Tampa Bay hostage and making Yzerman entertain offers for Martin St. Louis.

Lecavalier has long been mentioned in numerous rumor mills that would see him sent to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a package of players that seems to change every week.

Trouble is, like many NHL teams, the Canadiens could ill-afford to bring in Lecavalier’s contract, which has a total of ten years left at a cap hit of $7,727,273 per season.

While not the worst NHL contract out there, Lecavalier’s is a close second or third and, by all accounts is untradeable as they come.

Cristobal Huet, Goaltender, Chicago Blackhawks:

During the 2009-10 season, Cristobel Huet lost his starters role, mainly due to his penchant for giving up untimely goals and his paltry .895 save percentage.

Huet has two years left on his contract that carry a cap hit of $5.625 million per.

Given his poor numbers and inability to perform in the big game, Huet will likely be bought out, encouraged to head overseas or demoted to the minors.

Fact is, nobody believes in the 34 year-olds ability to play anymore, making his contract impossible to move.

Wade Redden, defenseman, New York Rangers:

I’ll make this real short, real sweet. Redden is horrific and his massive contract is amungst the ugliest in NHL history…end of story!

Rick DiPietro, Goaltender, New York Islanders:

Singed through the 2020-21 season with a cap hit of $4.5 million per season, Rick DiPietro’s contract will go down as one of the worst in NHL history.

Injuries have sidelined the highly-touted 28 year-old goaltender for much of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, limiting his play to just 12 games.

Once thought to be a goalie on the rise, DiPietro hangs over the New York Islanders organization like a black cloud. His inability to stay healthy has cost the Islanders dearly and, in the end, may be career ending.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, would ever touch this contract unless they were completely high!

DiPietro’s contract is the most untradeable contract of modern day hockey, if not ever.

***For more NHL news and notes check out my fully re-designed website at

Until next time,



  1. John Leak says:

    The One Oilers contract that I deem to be ridiculous and will be impossible to get rid of is Shawn Horcoff’s. I’m surprised it didn’t make the list. He’s scheduled to make $6.5 million with a cap hit of $5.5 million in 2010-’11. If he actually earned his salary I wouldn’t even mention this, but taking a look at last season’s totals for him. Katz should ask Horcoff for a refund.

  2. Mike says:

    what a stupid list all of them but 2 will never have problems getting a team how is kovalchuk not on that list for pure length and bad results for far for nj..this person has no clue penner makes nothing for a good power forward dury is an absolute beast on forwards spezza is fine most years briere has shown to be fucking clutch in the playoffs pronger is wanted by all teams in the league dipietro you are right and also for redden..the others are just bad go watch fifa. Love how you took the best goalie of the year and put him in this list

  3. MarkRitter says:

    Did you look at the date of the article? Kovalchuk was not under contract with the Devils at the time the article was written…lol…

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