Pittsburgh Penguins: The 5 Worst Contracts Heading Into the Offseason

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Oct 22, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) and right wing Pascal Dupuis (right) celebrate a goal by Dupuis against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4. Pascal Dupuis

Choosing a player who was forced to miss most of the season thanks to injury may seem like an unfair decision, especially considering that Pascal Dupuis has been a mainstay of the powerhouse Penguins offense in years past.

But at 36 years of age, Dupuis is already heading toward the twilight of his career. Toss in the tearing of his ACL in February 2014 and incredibly dangerous blood clot diagnosis that he received in November 2014, and it becomes clear that the winger is playing on incredibly limited time.

However, Dupuis is contracted through 2016-2017. This upcoming season, he will be making $4 million and he will earn $3 million in the final season of that contract. When it expires, he will be 38 years old.

While the work ethic, determination and passion displayed by Dupuis is undeniable, it is also unmistakable that the past several seasons have marked a steady decline in his numbers. He posted a career best 59 points in 2011-2012 and tallied a stellar 38 marks during the shortened 2012-2013 season, but slipped to 20 and then 11 in the previous two seasons. Granted that those two seasons were cut short by injury, but given the severity of his ailments and his age, it would be surprising to see him return to his peak form.

I would love to be disproved by Dupuis and see him return better than ever. But the fact is that the Penguins need to become younger and cheaper, and contracting an injury-riddled 36-year-old winger will not help them any.

I remain hopeful that Dupuis retires, eliminates his cap hit as he signed his contract before turning 35 and then joins the Penguins staff, à la Bill Guerin. I want to see Dupuis remain a Penguin, but it might be time for him to take a position off the ice and give the team some more financial flexibility on it.