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Untradeable contracts

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

This week’s Top 10 looks at the league’s toughest contracts to trade. Now, that doesn’t mean each deal listed here is untradeable. Indeed, some people thought the contracts of Brian Campbell and Dany Heatley couldn’t be moved, but both players changed teams this past off-season.

That said, for a variety of reasons – cap hit or length of term chief among them – some contracts are much harder to move than others. Here are the 10 toughest we’ve identified.

10. Patrik Elias, Devils

Elias is still a capable contributor (21 goals and 62 points in 81 games last season), but he’ll be paid $6 million this season and next. It’s doubtful many GMs will be lining up to acquire the 35-year-old with that price tag.

9. Vincent Lecavalier, Lightning

Still just 31 years old, Lecavalier has had his name bandied about in trade rumors for a couple years now. But with his cap hit of more than $7.7 million through the 2019-20 season – and plummeting offensive production – the Bolts would never get equal value for him.

8. Ryan Malone, Lightning

Unlike most players on this list, Malone has a relatively short period of time left on his contract – three more years after this season. Still, the combination of a $4.5 million-a-year ticket and his increasing difficulty staying healthy (his number of games played has dropped every season since 2007-08) makes Malone a tough sell to 29 GMs.

7. Ilya Kovalchuk, Devils

Nobody doubts the 28-year-old Kovalchuk has a lot of good years ahead of him. But the monster contract he signed in the summer of 2010 has him locked up until 2024-25, with a cap hit of more than $6.6 million. Based on that alone, there’s virtually no chance he’ll be moved in the foreseeable future.

6. Marian Hossa, Blackhawks

Hossa helped Chicago to its first Stanley Cup in decades, giving him a place in Hawks fans’ hearts forever. However, his contract expires in 2020-21 (when he’ll be 42) and carries a cap hit of $5.275 million each year until then. No team is coming near that deal.

5. Shawn Horcoff, Oilers

The 33-year-old Horcoff has four years remaining on his contract and his cap hit is $5.5 million in each of those years, but he hasn’t broken the 20-goal mark since 2007-08 and has missed at least 25 games to injury in two of the past four years. Phil Kessel earns $100,000 less per season in Toronto. Horcoff is staying put.

4. Roberto Luongo, Canucks

Don’t let anyone tell you Luongo isn’t one of the best goalies in the world. While you’re at it, don’t let anyone tell you there are GMs actively pondering acquiring a 32-year-old goalie signed through the spring of 2021-22 with a cap hit of $5.3 million. Unless Panthers GM Dale Tallon wants to repatriate him to South Florida for retirement, Luongo is going nowhere.

3. Scott Gomez, Canadiens

Little known fact: the Vatican’s team of miracle verifiers is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the trading of Gomez from the Rangers to Montreal a couple years back. The 31-year-old center’s best days clearly are behind him, yet he’s still got a cap hit of $7.35 million for this and the next two years. The miracle isn’t likely to repeat itself.

2. Sergei Gonchar, Senators

Once one of the game’s premier offensive defensemen, Gonchar’s play has fallen off steeply since he signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal with Ottawa last summer. Even on a contending team, his loss of foot speed and questionable commitment to defense would subvert any good he can do with the puck. The 37-year-old will be in Canada’s capital for a while.

1. Rick DiPietro, Islanders

DiPietro and Isles owner Charles Wang were pioneers of sorts when the team and its goalie of the future agreed to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract in 2006. But after seeing the fragile DiPietro wind up on injury reserve time and again, Isles fans are wishing someone would have commandeered one of their chuckwagons and prevented him from being locked up through 2021. Even at a relatively less onerous cap hit of $4.5 million a year, DiPietro’s deal is squarely in Alexei Yashin territory – nobody wants it and a buyout is just as bad.

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