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Thursday, September 2, 2010
The NHL's biggest bargain players

By Mike Hume

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.

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