During this current run for the Tampa Bay Lightning, most of the stars for Tampa are either homegrown talents or players that the Bolts acquired via a trade. Since the inception of the salary cap in 2005, Tampa hasn’t swung for the fences too often during free agency to build their team.
But here and there, Tampa has lured some big-name players to town or kept players already here in town with big contracts that didn’t pan out.
Here at Bolts by the Bay, we will look at the five worst contracts the Lightning have had since 2005. For this list, we are factoring in not just the quality of the player but also how much Tampa paid that player to be here and how long the player was signed for
We will also include a couple of players already on the team, and Tampa signed to long extensions rather than allowing to walk.
Tampa Bay Lightning Worst Contracts: Honorable Mention
Before we get to the top five, there are a couple of players worth mentioning.
Andrej Meszaros signed a six-year, $24 million deal with Tampa in 2008. Coming off 36 point season in Ottawa that garnered Norris votes, Meszaros never lived up to those offensive numbers while in Tampa.
He still was a useful shot blocker, but Tampa traded him away after two years to Philadelphia for a second-round pick, limiting the damage his contract did.
Jake Dotchin also gets an honorable mention. It’s not even that Tampa signed him to any significant money, just a 2 year $1.625 million contract extension in 2017.
But Tampa had to go out of its way to protect him from Vegas in the expansion draft, trading Nikita Gusev, a 2017 second-round pick, and a 2018 fourth-rounder to protect Dotchin and have Vegas select Jason Garrison.
But Dotchin showed up to the 2018 training camp 30 pounds overweight and was immediately released.