Ah, the Islanders. They currently have the most room in the salary cap, according to CapGeek.com, which is surprising, considering the Islanders have probably the two worst contracts in the history of hockey. One of which ended only recently because of a compliance buyout, and the other is for someone who hasn’t played since 2007. They are, of course, Rick DiPietro and Alexei Yashin.
DiPietro was drafted first overall by the New York Islanders in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, three years after the Islanders drafted Roberto Luongo. Considered to be the real future of the franchise, Luongo was traded to the Florida Panthers the same day DiPietro was drafted, so the pressure was on even before he hit the ice. After just 3 wins out of 20 in his first season, he never played again in the NHL until the 2002-03 season (which was only 11 games, one of which was a playoff shutout), before gaining the starting role the following season.
After four season of not the greatest goaltending, and 2 wins from 9 in playoffs, DiPietro was signed to a 15-year, $67.5 million contract. A week before his 26th birthday, the Islanders actually wanted to make the signing a year earlier, but the NHL discouraged the idea. The NHL knew that giving him a 15 year contract would be absolutely stupid, given the contract they gave Alexei Yashin in 2001 (I’ll get to it, don’t worry), but the Islanders gave him the contract anyway.
After one win from four in the first year of his 15-year deal, his last playoff appearance, 2007 also saw the decline of DiPietro, as injuries began to take their toll, and since 2008, has only played in 50 games for the Islanders, for just 14 wins. The misery finally ended, when his contract was bought out on July 1, 2013. However, even though it doesn’t affect the salary cap, DiPietro will still be paid $1.5 million until 2029. He will be 48.
If you think that the Islanders screwed that one up, the next part will prove that they didn’t learn from their mistakes.
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