The Not-So-Sweet Sixteen Champion - Rick DiPietro

Well, it turns out that the final match in the Not-So-Sweet Sixteen was about as exciting as the final game of the NCAA tournament, which is to say, not very exciting. Rick DiPietro cruised to victory in the final, destroying Wade Redden by a score of 322-75. In fact, DiPietro wasn't ever really challenged at any point in the tournament, earning at least 70% of the vote on each and every occasion.

I won't go so far as to say that DiPietro's contract looked good when it was signed because it didn't. It was a terrible idea from the start, but surely didn't look this bad. Granted, DiPietro's career EV save percentage in the NHL was a pretty poor .912 on almost 3,000 shots when the contract was signed in September of 2006, but at least DiPietro was healthy, and at just twenty-four years old there was some reason for optimism. In 2006-07, the Islanders hoped that they had a sign of things to come when DiPietro finished third in EV Sv% behind only Niklas Backstrom and Miikka Kiprusoff. Unfortunately, the sign of things to come was a hip injury that put DiPietro on the shelf for the end of the regular season.

His 15-year boondoggle of a contract now cries out as a warning to general mangers around the league, but it's gone largely unheeded. Players like Roberto Luongo, Mike Richards, and of course, Ilya Kovalchuk have all been given deals of 10 years or more. None has the stench of DiPietro's quite yet, but with so many of these long contracts being signed, it's only a matter of time before The Stinky Meat Project is given a rea; run for hi... others' money.

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