No he isn't. If the Wings were signing him now, maybe you could say they overpaid. But it's not like you can adjust contracts based on performance throughout the season, or adjust it for what the current going market rate is for his level of defenseman.
Rafalski is over paid. Nobody is redrafting their teams and he is not getting any younger. Even if they were to redraft I think Offensive D-men(minus that *** Green) would not be drafted high. Every GM you hear from, every coach, basically any hockey person will tell you defense is the key. That is why McCabe was booed out of Toronto and Jovonoski was booed out of Vancouver.
Rafalski has won cups because of the team he was on not because of his defense. His faults stand out to me more because I look for defensive deficiencies when I watch hockey. Every player shows them. Datsyuk is no exception, although it is very rare. Rafalskis hockey sense is average. He is the same player as Lebda minus the offensive ability of Rafalski. They are both dumb hockey players that shows flashes of brightness now and then. 28 more points and the same defensive ability does not warrant a $5.35 million difference in salary between the 2 players.
At the time his contract was signed, Rafalski was paid what his market value was, probably a bit below actually. And Holland was scrambling to fill Schneider's position at the time.
I can completely understand getting frustrated when Rafalski makes a bad play, but his contract was what it took at that time to get him signed and to have a number 2 D-man. And it was worth the money.
Comparing him to Lebda though. Wow. Raf is on the ice 9 more minutes per game than Lebda (at least when Lebda isn't a healthy scratch). Put Lebda out there for 24 minutes a night, even next to Nick Lidstrom, and you'll see how far apart those two players actually are.
EDIT: And don't forget that Lids and Raf are up against the other team's best players every night, whereas Lebda's pairing you try and keep away from the top lines.
Edited by haroldsnepsts, 03 April 2010 - 12:06 PM.