There were some big contracts signed in the 2021 free agency period. Many of those seem to be panning out well for both involved parties. Others do not seem to be working out at all so far.
We looked at five bargain UFA signings already. Here are five UFA signings from the 2021 offseason that have not borne fruit yet.
Philipp Grubauer – $5.9 million per year for 6 years.
The Seattle Kraken wasted no time making a splash on the opening day of free agency signing Grubauer to a long-term contract. It’s always risky to sign goalies to long-term contracts, and this is evidence to support that.
Grubauer had come off a remarkable 2020-21 season in Colorado. He won 30 games and managed to put up a 1.95 GAA and 0.922 SV%. Playing on one of the best teams in the NHL, it was expected that his stats would take a hit coming to an expansion team.
This season has been a complete disaster through 30 games for Grubauer. He ranks dead last in SV% among goalies with at least 10 games played. In 23 games, Grubauer only has seven wins to show for it.
If he doesn’t turn his play around soon, his contract will be one of the worst in the league.
Blake Coleman – $4.9 million per year for 6 years.
Like Grubauer, Coleman got his payday this past offseason. Unlike his goalie counterpart, this one looked bad from the start. Coleman is well regarded around the NHL as a scrappy, middle-six forward who can play in all situations.
As well as he played, he has never gotten more than 36 points in a season. This is because of his injury-riddled past.
In the 2020-21 season, he scored 14 goals and 31 points in the shortened 55-game season. That is a 46-point pace over 82 games.
He certainly brings value to his team but a nearly $30 million contract is bound to backfire at some point.
Petr Mrazek – $3.8 million per year for 3 years.
Over the past couple of seasons, the Toronto Maple Leafs have found their starting goalie of the future. Since being traded to the Maple Leafs from the Los Angeles Kings in 2020, Jack Campbell has been a rock in the net.
However, they still needed a reliable backup for him. The Petr Mrazek signing was supposed to be the answer to that question.
Early in the season, as Campbell was shining in goal, Mrazek never found his stride. In the three games that he played, Mrazek posted an 0.880 SV%. Obviously, that’s a small sample size but it was enough for Leafs management to send him to the AHL for a conditioning stint.
He didn’t fare better on the Marlies. In the game that he played there, he got lit up by the Laval Rocket in a 5-1 loss at home. The Leafs are counting on Mrazek to turn his game around, or he will be moved out after this season.
Mike Hoffman – $4.5 million for 3 years.
Even amid a string of controversies, Mike Hoffman proved over the last half-decade that he is one of the best pure snipers in the NHL. From 2015 until 2021, Hoffman scored at a pace of 0.36 goals per game. Over an 82 game season that equates to 30 goals.
That consistency he showed during that period is why the Montreal Canadiens decided to take the chance on a $13.5 million contract. Unfortunately, like the rest of his new team, the 2021-22 season has not been kind to him. In the 19 games that he played so far, he has four goals and eight points to his credit.
Perhaps once COVID-19 is over and the NHL can begin to function normally again, he’ll see a resurgence. Until he improves on his 35-point pace, his contract will be known as one of the worst signed in the 2021 offseason.
Nick Foligno – $3.8 million for 2 years.
Of all the contracts on this list, the Nick Foligno signing raised the most red flags. When he was traded to the Maple Leafs last year, Toronto media hailed him as the hero they needed to get over the playoff hump. He failed to score a single goal in the 11 regular season and playoff games he played there.
That should have set off alarm bells around the league. Nick Foligno was a force to be reckoned with at various points in his career, but those days are long over. The 34-year-old winger is currently riding a 37-game goalless drought. He has only four assists in the 18 games he’s played this year for the Bruins.
Foligno hasn’t scored more than 50 points in a season since 2017. Signing him to anything more than $1-2 million per year was a mistake for the Bruins.