Columbus Blue Jackets' 3 Worst Contracts of 2023-24

The Columbus Blue Jackets have slowly been altering their team again as they are still at the bottom of the standings. It will be difficult to move some of the less ideal contracts and turn things around, so let's identify them.

Elvis Merzlikins

Elvis Merzlikins has had the misfortune of being the starter behind one of the worst teams of the past four years. It hasn't helped his numbers one bit and his contract is so unappealing to other teams that the Blue Jackets aren't able to move it even after the goaltender asked for a trade. He has a cap hit of $5.4 million AAV for the next three years and his SV% just slipped under .900.

Erik Gudbranson

Erik Gudbranson's contract wouldn't be that bad if he played in the top-four, but he was signed at $4 million AAV for multiple years to be a third pairing defenseman. While he plays more than the average d-man on the third pair, he also just contributes to the logjam on the right side and always takes up a spot. For a bad team that was close to the cap ceiling, it isn't a great contract to have.

Johnny Gaudreau

Johnny Gaudreau's contract might be the worst on the team and although every fan in Columbus was excited that he chose to go there, he hasn't had the help around him that he did in Calgary. He has fallen far from a point-per-game player and doesn't really do much more than score, so it exaggerates it. Gaudreau has a cap hit of $9.75 million AAV through 2029 and has 11 goals and 52 points in 70 games. That's not the production needed for a cap hit like his and the offensive leader on the team.

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