What players had the best bargain contracts in the NHL in the summer of 2008? This list was compiled in 2017 based on their performance during the 2007/08 season. Free agents signed that summer are eligible for next year’s list, so everyone nominated here has played at least 1 full season under the contract.These are only contracts signed under the restrictions of a salary cap. Contracts from before the lost season that got rolled back don't count.
We are looking for the best bargains, preferably under 10% of the cap (which in 2008 is $50.3M, so under $5M Average Annual Value). This is not about listing the 15 best players in the game and then saying those are the 15 best contracts. It’s the 15 best bargains. Entry level contracts don’t count, since they all come from a cookie cutter and require no specific bargaining skill. There is a preference for contracts with more than 1 year remaining, except in the case of extreme bargains.
1) Henrik Zetterberg, DET, 1 more yr @ $2.65M AAV: Stanley Cup Champion and playoff MVP has another year at a price that is nothing short of larceny. In the regular season he scored 92 PTS in 75 GP. He was also nominated for the Selke Trophy with a 64% Corsi For.
2) Derek Roy, BUF, 5 more yrs @ $4M AAV: He scored 81 PTS as a 24-year-old in the first year of a 6-year deal. This was one of the better bargains this season, but still not even close to the best bargain.
3) The Sedin Twins, VAN, 1 more yr @ $3.6M AAV x2: Sure, they fell from 165 PTS to 150 PTS, but it is still a great price for what these two great BROTHERS can do. I prefer to count them as one person, or one entity.
4) Zach Parise, NJ, 3 more yrs @ $3.1M AAV: The kid just keeps getting better every season. This is a home run for Lou, getting a 24-year-old and star player locked in at a great price through his prime years of production.
5) Eric Staal, CAR, 1 more yr @ $4.5M AAV: That’s a great price to pay for 38 goals and 82 PTS. The Hurricanes captain will get a big pay raise when this is over.
6) Tim Thomas, BOS, 1 more yr @ $1.1M AAV: 28 wins and a .921 SV% generally costs north of $4M. He may be 34 years old, but that is still a bargain.
7) Brenden Morrow, DAL, 5 more yrs @ $4.1M AAV: He scored 74 PTS in year one of this contract at age 28. That’s a great price to pay for your team captain. There may be some age-related decline later in the contract, but for now it’s a steal.
8) Johan Franzen, DET, 1 more yr @ $942K AAV: The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup with Franzen contributing 13 goals in the playoffs. You need bargains like this to win championships in the salary cap era.
9) Duncan Keith, CHI, 2 more yrs @ $1.5M AAV: People are starting to notice that Duncan Keith is a really good defenseman. He scored 12 goals and was +30 on a Chicago team that missed the playoffs.
10) Tomas Plekanec, MTL, 1 more yr @ $1.6M AAV: From 2006-08 the average salary of a 29-goal scorer (or within 3 goals) on a non-entry level post-salary cap contract was $3.3M. The Habs got a 29-goal scorer at half price.
11) Niklas Backstrom, MIN, 1 more yr @ $3.1M AAV: Backstrom finished 6th in Norris Trophy voting with 33 Wins, 13 Losses, .920 SV%, and 2.31 GAA. And of those 6 top Vezina vote getters, Backstrom was the cheapest.
12) Nathan Horton, FLA, 5 more yrs @ $4M AAV: In year one of this contract at age 22 he out up another 62-point season. Getting a young power forward locked into a contract like this with production like that, is really good.
13) Sergei Gonchar, PIT, 2 more yrs @ $5M AAV: Gonchar may be getting old at age 33, but he still scored 65 PTS from the blueline finishing 4th in Norris Trophy voting. Helped Pittsburgh get to the Stanley Cup finals.
14) Marc Savard, BOS, 2 more yrs @ $5M AAV: Savard did drop from 96 PTS in year one down to 78 PTS in year two at age 30. Yet he’s still one of the most dynamic offensive talents in the NHL.
15) Ales Hemsky, EDM, 4 more yrs @ $4.1M AAV: At age 24 Hemsky put up another 70+ point season. He’s a talented player on a terrible team.
Honorable mentions: Ryan Kesler, Nik Antropov, Alex Kovalev, Alex Burrows, Stephane Robidas, Jason Arnott, Mike Cammalleri, Andy MacDonald