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SportBuyer beware: 5 UFAs who could be overpaid this summer

19:00  29 june  2019
19:00  29 june  2019 Source:   thescore.com

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Who will be this summer 's most overpaid players on the open market? Just as I know I’ll drop an obscene amount of my budget on a quarterback this summer , I know we’ll see a new class of Clarksons and Stephen Weisses on the NHL market, especially with the cap rising.

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Buyer beware: 5 UFAs who could be overpaid this summer© Jamie Sabau / National Hockey League / Getty

A whole lot of money is about to be shelled out in NHL circles come July 1, and general managers will be hoping the lavish investments are justifiable in helping their respective teams improve.

Sadly, though, that isn't always the case. Each and every year there's unforeseen bargains and blatant overpayments. If GMs want to avoid the latter, they should have their guards up when it comes to these five unrestricted free agents.

Tyler Myers

2018-19 cap hit: $5.5 million

2018-19 stats: 80 GP, 9 G, 22 A, 20:21 ATOI

Buyer beware: 5 UFAs who could be overpaid this summer© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

With Erik Karlsson off the board, Myers is among the biggest names available on this year's blue-line market. At 6-foot-8 and equipped with a right-handed shot, Myers has desirable raw tools, but there are too many red flags to justify awarding him a big-ticket contract.

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But the usual risk of overspending could be orders of magnitude greater this summer . The first group consists of players who will probably be signed to a max contract, or at least Otherwise, it looks inevitable that D-12 is about to be vastly overpaid , especially near the end of any long-term deal.

Myers will turn 30 in February and has gradually seen his ice time decrease in each of the past four seasons in Winnipeg. Sheltered in a third-pairing role this past season, he put up a negative Corsi differential relative to his teammates despite starting 56.7 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone.

Rumors indicate Myers could be seeking a contract close to $8 million annually. Such a deal is far too rich for a player seemingly already on the decline - especially if there's a lengthy term attached.

Matt Duchene

2018-19 cap hit: $6 million

2018-19 stats: 73 GP, 31 G, 39 A, 18:50 ATOI

Buyer beware: 5 UFAs who could be overpaid this summer© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Kirk Irwin / Getty Images Sport / Getty

First and foremost, this isn't a knock on Duchene, who rightfully qualifies as one of this summer's premier free agents. It's a condemnation of the current market value for NHL centermen, which was flipped upside down when Kevin Hayes recently inked a seven-year contract worth $50 million.

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If Hayes can fetch $7.142 million annually for a 55-point output, where does that leave Duchene, who just racked up 70 points in 73 games and added 10 more in 10 playoff contests? Using that comparison alone, Duchene could easily command something in the range of $9.5 million to $10.5 million.

Any contract paying Duchene $8.5 million or more per year would slot him among the NHL's top 10 highest-paid centers even though his career production ranks him a tier below. It's not a question of whether Duchene deserves to pick from his share of suitors on the open market; it's whether he can live up to a max-term contract that pays him like he's one of the league's best pivots.

Anders Lee

2018-19 cap hit: $3.75 million

2018-19 stats: 82 GP, 28 G, 23 A, 17:05 ATOI

Buyer beware: 5 UFAs who could be overpaid this summer© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Mike Stobe / National Hockey League / Getty

After John Tavares left Long Island, Lee saw his goal total plummet from 40 to 28, which isn't a terrific bargaining chip for the Islanders captain. That said, his underlying numbers improved under head coach Barry Trotz and he still led the team in goals, so he's not completely out of ammunition.

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Lee's provided tremendous value for New York by counting for just $3.75 million against the cap over the past four seasons. He can reasonably ask for a significant raise, but term is where things could get risky for teams looking to add the soon-to-be 29-year-old.

Lee has a valuable skill set as a strong finisher and producer of high-danger scoring chances. But he isn't a particularly efficient skater or playmaker - which is cause for significant concern as he approaches his 30s. He'll likely score 20-30 goals for a few years to come, but a long commitment could backfire as he ages.

Micheal Ferland

2018-19 cap hit: $1.75 million

2018-19 stats: 71 GP, 17 G, 23 A, 14:06 ATOI

Buyer beware: 5 UFAs who could be overpaid this summer© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Offering a rare blend of physicality and scoring touch, Ferland was in high demand around the trade deadline before the Hurricanes opted to keep him and go on a run of their own.

The teams interested in adding him in February will surely have him on their radars again this summer, but there are a few reasons for caution when it comes to committing to Ferland. First and foremost, his health has been an issue, and he spoke in December about his own concerns after suffering his second concussion.

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It's also hard to gauge Ferland's true value on the ice. He's spent most of his career in a crash-and-bang, puck-retrieving role alongside some superstars on the top lines in both Calgary and Carolina, which could inflate his worth to teams poring over his stats.

Has Ferland been carried by his linemates, or is he a legitimate top-six forward? Whoever decides to pay him will find out sooner or later.

Joe Pavelski

2018-19 cap hit: $6 million

2018-19 stats: 75 GP, 38 G, 26 A, 19:03 ATOI

Buyer beware: 5 UFAs who could be overpaid this summer© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Brandon Magnus / National Hockey League / Getty

Much like the Duchene scenario above, this isn't an indictment on Pavelski as a player. The longtime Shark ranks fifth in the NHL since 2011-12 with 252 goals and has earned the right to explore his options after 13 seasons in San Jose.

The problem for teams interested in Pavelski's services is that they may not be getting the player he was through his prime. Pavelski turns 35 on July 11. He's coming off a monster season in which he matched a career-high with 38 tallies, but did so with an astronomical 20.2 shooting percentage. He's a master of scoring on deflections and in close to the net, but his situation with the Sharks was perfect given San Jose's bevy of dynamic playmakers on the power play and the inimitable Brent Burns feeding him perfect point shots to tip on goal.

Term will be a major factor in whether Pavelski agrees to a reasonable contract, but even a three-year pact would take the Wisconsin native through his age-37 season, a dicey prospect for a player who has never been particularly fleet of foot.

(Advanced stats courtesy: Natural Stat Trick)

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