Back in June the NHL held its annual award ceremony out in Las Vegas. While everyone knows of the awards presented: Hart, Norris, and Vezina among others, there was another award that didn’t get as much publicity that night. However, I am here to correct that and present you with the nominees for the first ever “DiPietro Award.” It is given to the player who has a contract so long and so awful, there’s between zero and no chance that it will run its course before being bought out by the team.
In case you forgot, Rick DiPietro was the first overall pick back in 2000 with the New York Islanders. The brash kid from Boston had yet to establish himself as a star in the league before the Islanders signed him to a 15-year contract in 2006. The contract was set to expire after he turned 40 years old. It didn’t take a Mensa member to figure out that a 15-year deal for a goalie wasn’t the wisest decision and only a few years later DiPietro began suffering injuries which ultimately led to the Islanders buying out the remainder of his contract after the 2012/13 season. Don’t feel too bad for Rickey though…he’ll be pulling in $1,500,000 a year through the 2028/29 season as a result of the buyout. Not a bad severance package.
Despite the DiPietro contract, teams just can’t help themselves and continue to hand out head-scratching contracts every summer. And while there are truly some horrific contracts in the league, not everyone’s contract is awful enough to make be nominated for the DiPietro Award. On that front we want to give an honorable mention to those players who just missed the cut for nominees: Josh Bailey (four years remaining, $3,500,000 cap hit), Deryk Engelland (three years remaining, $2,916,667 cap hit), Tyler Myers (five years remaining, $5,500,000 cap hit), Corey Crawford (six years remaining, $6,000,000 cap hit), Nathan Horton (six years remaining, $5,300,000 cap hit), and Mike Richards (six years remaining, $5,750,000 cap hit). Sorry fellas. You just missed the cut for this year’s award. Don’t fret though: with your terrible contract causing havoc on your team’s cap situation, there’s a great chance you’ll be nominated next year. Just keep on doing what you’re doing.
Now, I am proud to announce to you the nominees for the first ever DiPietro Award: