Top 10 Overpaid Centers in the NHL in 2022-23

In the second version of the collection going over the high 10 overpaid gamers at every place, we now take a look at facilities. Some are apparent due to their cap hit or the level they’ve reached in their careers, however others aren’t so clear. This listing will take into consideration cap hit, contract size, and stats this season.

10. Andrew Copp ($5.625 million AAV)

As a profession middle-six participant for the Winnipeg Jets, Andrew Copp signed with the Detroit Red Wings in free company this summer time. Seeing as the workforce has a ton of cap house to work with, it gained’t influence them an excessive amount of. But if Copp was on one other workforce, his cap hit can be an issue. In the final couple of seasons, he’s been elevated to play extra usually on the second line however has actually struggled to attain in addition to he did in these earlier seasons.

Copp is the Red Wings’ second-line heart this season, and although he’s nonetheless good defensively, with a $5.625 million AAV, eight targets on a workforce that has been combating for a playoff spot isn’t going to chop it. He continues to be underneath contract for 4 extra seasons, so with an inexpensive cap hit and assuming he can proceed producing pretty effectively, his contract will solely get higher over time, which is why he simply made the listing.

9. Jack Eichel ($10 million AAV)

Jack Eichel was left off this listing final season as a result of the lack of video games he performed after getting back from a really critical damage, and he wanted to get again on top of things. This season, there aren’t any excuses, and he hasn’t been as impactful as the Vegas Golden Knights want him to be. It’s a superb factor they’ve a powerful and deep workforce as a result of their highest-paid participant isn’t even averaging some extent per recreation this season, whereas 42 different NHLers are.

Jack Eichel, Vegas Golden Knights (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Sure, he’s a former second-overall choose who was extremely touted and is an elite participant, however he nonetheless makes $10 million AAV and is the eleventh highest-paid participant in the league. In a season that has featured so many high-scoring gamers, he isn’t amongst them. He isn’t even the high scorer on his workforce, no matter the variety of video games. Number-one facilities are necessary, and he hasn’t appeared nice, failing to document some extent in 22 of his 54 video games however nonetheless has 50 factors.

8. Ryan Strome ($5 million AAV)

It’s been an abysmal season for the Anaheim Ducks, and Ryan Strome has been a part of that. The 29-year-old’s offense has actually dropped off in comparison with final season when he performed on the second line for the New York Rangers. As a free agent, he signed a five-year deal price $5 million AAV. That isn’t too unhealthy for a top-six participant who can considerably produce, however he’s averaging solely 0.46 factors per recreation, and the Ducks signed him at this cover hit to contribute extra.

Related: Top 10 Overpaid Goalies in the NHL in 2022-23

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Considering Strome has performed all season with the workforce’s greatest, these aren’t nice outcomes. He has additionally been part of the Ducks’ horrendous energy play. Finally, he solely has some extent in 25 of his 67 video games this season. He is the second highest-paid ahead on the workforce however ranks fifth in factors (amongst forwards).

7. J.G. Pageau ($5 million AAV)

J.G. Pageau is just like Strome in that he’s paid to be a secondary contributor however has underperformed this season. The distinction between the two and why Pageau ranks larger on this listing is that he performs on the third line and contributes even much less offensively on a greater workforce. Generally, third-line gamers shouldn’t be paid $5 million, and he’s underneath contract for 3 extra years with a modified no-trade clause.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau New York Islanders
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Pageau could also be a superb two-way participant, however he was ranked sixteenth or larger in Selke Trophy voting for a couple of seasons however dropped to thirty fourth final season. He is a minus-9 this season, and the workforce hasn’t been as robust defensively as they had been when Barry Trotz was head coach. Pageau has simply 10 targets and 29 factors, and his age and the time period left on his contract don’t assist the New York Islanders.

6. Tyler Seguin ($9.85 million AAV)

Tyler Seguin is the first repeat from final 12 months, besides as an alternative of rating larger, he has dropped to sixth. This is partly as a result of others coming into or climbing the listing but in addition as a result of he’s nonetheless producing a good bit of offense regardless of being paid practically $10 million a season.

Seguin shortly dropped off from being an elite participant after the 2018-19 season. He recorded six consecutive 25-plus objective and 70-plus level seasons earlier than failing to hit the objective mark and never coming near his level totals since. Missing practically the whole 2020-21 season didn’t assist, however he’s in his 30s now, and his contract nonetheless has 4 extra years on it at this very excessive cap hit. At least Seguin’s goal-scoring hasn’t fully gone dry, and he’s nonetheless a serviceable second-line participant.

5. Ryan O’Reilly ($7.5 million AAV)

It has been an especially robust season for the former St. Louis Blues captain, whose offensive manufacturing has not solely dropped fully off the map however can even not end at the high of Selke Trophy voting this season. The former Selke winner, who has completed in the high 5 in voting every of the previous 4 seasons, was a minus-24 in simply 40 video games with the Blues, and though practically everybody on the workforce regressed, he was the worst.

Ryan O'Reilly Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan O’Reilly, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs are lucky to have O’Reilly for only a quarter of his value, however the Blues weren’t so fortunate, paying his full cap hit of $7.5 million. His contract is over at the finish of the season, and he began his tenure with the Maple Leafs effectively, scoring three targets and two assists in his first three video games earlier than going pointless in 5 and getting positioned on the long-term injured reserve – it’s the good instance of how the season has gone for the as soon as excellent centerman.

4. Ryan Johansen ($8 million AAV)

Ryan Johansen has moved method up this listing as his manufacturing has plummeted this season. There was the sense that gamers who had profession years for the Nashville Predators in 2021-22 would regress this season, and it occurred. Last season was an outlier. Johansen scored 26 targets and 63 factors, and he nonetheless discovered his method onto this listing. In the previous 4 seasons, his closest season stat-wise was 14 targets and 36 factors.

Johansen posted simply 12 targets and 28 factors via 55 video games earlier than struggling a regular-season-ending leg damage. He has performed on the second line for many of the season however has carried out a lot worse than that. His ice time is lower than it was when he was a 19-year-old rookie, and with two extra years at $8 million AAV, his contract goes to harm the workforce rather a lot.

3. Jonathan Drouin ($5.5 million AAV)

Jonathan Drouin is a brand new addition to this listing and lands proper close to the high, as his offense has been horrible this season. Fortunately, he’s a free agent after the season when the Montreal Canadiens can transfer on from him. He is the results of one in every of the worst trades in franchise historical past when the Canadiens had been hoping to commerce for a top-line heart, however Drouin has battled accidents all through his tenure with the workforce, and his play has majorly suffered due to it. In return for Drouin, the Tampa Bay Lightning received the now two-time Stanley Cup champion and elite defenceman Mikhail Sergachev, who may have modified the script in Montreal.

Jonathan Drouin Montreal Canadiens
Jonathan Drouin, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Drouin has only one objective and 22 factors in 43 video games this season, and that lone goal came in game 39. He has been a wholesome scratch but in addition continues to battle with accidents. Considering his manufacturing, he must be making near the league minimal, however he’s incomes $5.5 million. Over his final 148 video games (4 seasons), Drouin has scored simply 16 targets. The solely motive he’s not first on this listing is the value distinction between his and the contracts of these forward of him.

2. Nicklas Backstrom ($9.2 million AAV)

Nicklas Backstrom has had a troublesome highway battling via potential career-ending accidents to return to motion this season. He has performed solely 24 video games however has struggled to supply as he has all through his profession taking part in in the Capitals’ top-six. His 4 targets and 12 factors aren’t a sufficiently big contribution, as he has averaged over a point-per-game 5 instances in his profession and has 1023 factors in 1084 video games.

As his well being and age have caught as much as the 35-year-old, his $9.2 million AAV cap hit for 2 extra years doesn’t look nice, particularly when the Capitals are attempting to remain aggressive. If he can’t return to averaging some extent per recreation, these remaining couple of seasons might be tough. Backstrom is a revered veteran who has completed a ton for the Capitals, so a contract of this dimension for a participant previous the age of 30 wasn’t going to finish effectively. But his struggles over the previous two seasons shouldn’t injury his legacy.

1. Jonathan Toews ($10.5 million AAV)

Jonathan Toews is in a really comparable place to Backstrom, besides the Chicago Blackhawks are in full rebuild mode, and his contract is over at the finish of the season. Fortunately, the Blackhawks aren’t competing for something besides the first general choose, as it is a horrible contract at this level, and Toews’ well being points prevented the workforce fom buying and selling him for belongings earlier than the deadline (from “Chicago Blackhawks Star Jonathan Toews Is Stepping Away From Hockey, Says He’s Dealing With Long Covid”, Forbes, Feb. 19, 2023).

Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Toews is the highest-paid participant on this listing, and he, too, has struggled with accidents over the previous few seasons. His profession looks like it might be coming to an finish ahead of anticipated, however his manufacturing over the previous couple of seasons shouldn’t influence his legacy in Chicago. He has 14 targets and 28 factors in 48 video games this season, however his begin was rather a lot higher than the place he’s now.

Any surprises above? Let me know in the feedback for those who agree with the listing or who must be switched round.

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