The NHL's biggest bargain players

It seems fitting that with a $100 million contract waiting in limbo for Ilya Kovalchuk, a pair of articles discuss the idea of value in today’s salary-capped NHL.

Yesterday, ESPN’s E.J. Hradek provided his All-Bargain Team (Insider), which was headlined by Devils winger Zach Parise. Parise’s production has been huge relative to his salary, but the Devils won’t enjoy that disparity for much longer as his contract expires at the end of this season. In fact, if the Kovalchuk contract goes through, they might not enjoy his production at all. But that’s another topic for another time.

Puck Prospectus, the hockey brethren of the better-known Baseball Prospectus think tank, also recently released a list of the players who provide the best bang for the buck.

Using their proprietary stat, Goals Versus Threshold (GVT), which calculates all of a player’s statistical contributions, both offensively and defensively, and collates them into one tidy number, they looked at the production of all NHL players relative to their cap hit.

Here’s their top 20:

  1. Duncan Keith, Chicago

  2. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington

  3. Alex Burrows, Vancouver

  4. Zach Parise, Devils

  5. Tyler Myers, Buffalo

  6. Ryan Kesler, Vancouver

  7. Patric Hornqvist, Nashville

  8. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay

  9. Marc Staal, Rangers

  10. Ian White, Calgary

  11. Chris Stewart, Colorado

  12. Jussi Jokinen, Carolina

  13. Jonathan Toews, Chicago

  14. Alexander Semin, Washington

  15. Loui Eriksson, Detroit

  16. Rene Bourque, Calgary

  17. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver

  18. Andy Greene, Devils

  19. Matt Moulson, Islanders

  20. Tomas Fleischmann, Washington

The vast majority of these players are still under club control and have yet to reach unrestricted free agency, and some of them have already signed extensions. Marc Staal, on the other hand, is in the midst of negotiating his contract for next season. Looks like his camp just got some more ammunition. Check out the full article for some deeper analysis.

Morning Links




  • In case you missed it -- and if you did, here’s a hearty congratulations on recovering from that coma – the NHL and NHLPA agreed to delay the league’s decision on the latest Kovalchuk contract to Friday at 5 p.m.

  • The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti summarizes the late-day Kovalchuk madness here. Among the interesting notes: Though GM Lou Lamoriello has said he’s okay with the extension, he did not answer when asked if Kovalchuk was also okay with the delay. It had been previously speculated that the Russian winger had a set a deadline for the Devils to get a deal done before he packed it in and stayed in Russia with a KHL team for the season.

  • While Lamoriello may be okay with the delay, In Lou We Trust, is … uh … not.

“I'll be brief: This is garbage. It's just about excremental as it just stinks all the way around.”