Worst consensus summer signings

Stat heads collaborate to evaluate the worst contracts of summer 2012

Updated: September 25, 2012, 2:58 PM ET
By Rob Vollman | Hockey Prospectus
Dennis WidemanMitchell Layton/Getty ImagesDennis Wideman gets his first look at the Washington crowd as a member of the Capitals.

When Craig Custance observed a positive consensus in the NHL statistical community about Michal Rozsival's one-year, $2 million deal in Chicago, it prompted me to figure out which other offseason deals provoked a similarly universal approval -- or disapproval.

That's why I asked 24 hockey statistics experts from across the continent to examine the summer signings involving unrestricted free agents who inked deals worth $1.5 million or more per year. They put secondary factors, such as jersey sales, team chemistry and positional scarcity, in the backseat and rated these deals simply based on who will -- and won't -- provide the most puck for the buck. The best and worst signings were ranked based on approval rating from the statistical community.

On Monday we looked at the consensus list of the top five offseason signings, all of which were low-risk, short-term deals for players with the potential to significantly outperform expectations, according to our panel.

Now it's time to look at the worst signings, though there were very few truly horrible deals, according to the panel.

All but two contracts earned the tacit approval of at least a third of our analysts -- it may have been three if the Shane Doan deal with Phoenix hadn't missed our September 13 cutoff -- though several deals that involved riskier terms or overpayments for more one-dimensional players were clearly frowned upon more than the others.

Here's a look at the worst consensus summer signings of 2012:

1. Dennis Wideman, Calgary, five years, $5.25 million per year
Approval: 6.5 percent
Concern: Not a two-way, top-pairing defenseman

Despite similar deals being received favorably -- such as 56.5 percent approval for Matt Carle's six-year, $5.5 million contract in Tampa Bay or 63.0 percent approval for Jason Garrison's six-year, $4.6 million deal in Vancouver -- Wideman's final agreement with Calgary received almost unanimous condemnation among our advanced stats gurus.


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