3. Chris Drury, Rangers: About the only saving grace with Drury's contract is its term - five years, which means there are only three years remaining. A cap charge of $7.05-million, any team interested in Drury would pay him $8-million in each of the next two years and then $5-million in the final year, a lot to pay for a player that has never scored 70 points in the NHL and conveniently managed his one-and-only season above 30 goals in his contract year with the '07 Sabres.
4. Brian Campbell, Blackhawks: At least, GM Dale Tallon was honest with reporters on the conference call announcing Campbell's signing, noting that he overpaid and saying: "On July 1, you always overpay." Did he ever. With an annual cap hit of $7.14-million for eight years, Campbell was, at best, a No. 3 on the Blackhawks behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and had they been able to predict Cam Barker's improvement, might have given Campbell a pass.
5. Shawn Horcoff, Oilers: His new six-year, $33-million contract is going to start next year with a $7-million payout, or what Iginla will earn with the Flames - too much in other words, for a player coming off a so-so 53 point season. Edmonton is paying him like a No. 1 centre - his cap number is higher that both Getzlaf's and Perry's - on contracts with similar terms. Presumably, Horcoff will get a chance to prove he is that under new coach Pat Quinn.
6. Daniel Briere, Flyers: The annual salary-cap hit is $6.5-million, but that's because the final two years of the eight-year, $52-million contract are cheap - $3-million and $2-million respectively. But any team interested in Briere's right would need to pay him $8-million and then three years at $7-million to get to that light at the end of the tunnel. Small and coming off abdominal surgery that limited him to 29 games, Briere will be difficult to move, and not just because he has a no-movement clause in his contract.
7. J.S. Giguere, Anaheim: With the emergence of Jonas Hiller, Giguere - a Cup winner in '06 - becomes superfluous in Anaheim; and if they could ever find a way of moving him, they might be able to hang on to Chris Pronger. Problem is, Giguere is the one player on the team with a no-movement contract - awarded by Burke for humanitarian reasons so the Gigueres could be close to the UCLA facility that treats his son, who was born with an eye disorder. Even if Giguere were to agree to the move, is there a market for a goaltender whose GAA jumped a full goal, year over year, who'll earn $6-million and $7-million respectively in the final two years of his deal.
8. Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa: Lecavalier differs from others on this list because he continues to play at an elite level, even last year when he was hampered all season by a bad wrist. The problem: An 11-year contract that kicks in on July 1, in which the first seven years pay him $10-million per season before steadily declining as it winds down (to $8.5, $4, $1.5 and $1-million). At 29, and with 10 full seasons under his belt, can Lecavalier deliver $10-million worth of production for the next seven years?
9. Ryan Smyth, Colorado: Smyth spurned the Oilers' 11th-hour contract entreaties back in the spring of '07 and found a willing buyer for his services in Colorado, who agreed to a five-year deal worth $31.25-million and an annual cap hit of $6.25-million. That's a lot to pay a heart-and-soul player who is not a true first liner. Three years remain on the deal at $6.5-million, $5.5-million and $4.5-million. With the Avalanche's fortunes declining, expect him to be an attractive commodity at next year's trading deadline if he is still performing well.
10. Ryan Malone, Tampa: Of interest because there was talk that Toronto might take on his contract in a possible swap for the second overall choice in the draft. Problem is, with a cap hit of $4.5-million and six years remaining at $4.25-million, it is a lot of money and term for a player with a career average of about 45 points per season.
FLYING BLIND: With the signing this past week of goaltender Ray Emery to a modest one-year, $1.5-million contract, the Philadelphia Flyers sent a signal on two fronts - that they are harkening back to their Broad St. Bullies days (brawling goaltenders actually came in the person of Ron Hextall in the mid-1980s); and that they will be a test case for fiscal prudence in an era when the NHL's salary-cap is about to flatten and then shrink.