Pittsburgh Penguins: The 5 Worst Contracts Heading Into the Offseason

2 of 6

Apr 22, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy (12) and New York Rangers right wing Kevin Hayes (13) battle for the puck during the third period in game four of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

5. Ben Lovejoy

The appearance of this New Hampshire native will surprise almost no one. When Rutherford traded the polarizing Simon Despres to the Anaheim Ducks for Ben Lovejoy, it seemed as though the Penguins faithful emitted one, tremendous gasp. One question revolved around the decision: why?

Trading a 23-year-old defenseman with immense potential for a 31-year-old veteran was an almost inconceivable decision. Despres had shown signs of promise offset by the occasional mistake, but the Pittsburgh press began to report that the young defenseman had apparently lost the trust of the Penguins.

And yet, it would seem that the Ducks have always known which player they were receiving. Since moving across the country to California, Despres has put up consistently strong performances and has become a strong component of the team’s second defensive pairing.

Rutherford indicated that the initial move was driven by unidentified personnel who had been with the team back when Lovejoy was initially with the Penguins. The idea that lower level members of the Penguins’ hockey operations staff could persuade the general manager to make such a perplexing decision remains perplexing in and of itself.

And so the Penguins ditched a 23-year-old player with remarkable upside making only $900,000 for a 31-year-old veteran who disappointed consistently throughout the playoffs who will make $1.2 million in 2015-2016.

Even Rutherford has admitted this was a mistake.