Friday, November 17, 2017

Best NHL Contracts 2011

What players had the best bargain contracts in the NHL in the summer of 2011? This list was compiled in 2017 based on their performance during the 2010/11 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.

We are looking for the best bargains, preferably under 10% of the cap (which in 2011 is $59.4M, so under $6M 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) Corey Perry, ANA, 2 more yrs @ $5.3M AAV: For a guy who just won the league MVP, that is an incredible bargain of a contract. 82 GP, 96 PTS at age 25.

2) Ryan Kesler, VAN, 5 more yrs @ $5M AAV: He just won the Selke Trophy after carrying the Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals. He almost should have been a finalist for the Hart after a fantastic season at age 26.

3) Kris Letang, PIT, 3 more yrs @ $3.5M AAV: One of the best puck moving defensemen in the NHL. This season he jumped from a 30-point player to 50 PTS at age 23.

4) Tim Thomas, BOS, 2 more yrs @ $5M AAV: Typically 36-year-old players with multiple years remaining on their contracts don't appear on my best contracts lists. There is the ever-present danger of steep and sudden decline. That being said, this guy just won the Vezina and a Stanley Cup as playoff MVP. He posted a 2.00 GAA and .938 SV% in a phenomenal season.

5) Milan Lucic, BOS, 2 more yrs @ $4.1M AAV: This physical beast of a man jumped from 9 goals in 2010 to 30 goals in 2011 at age 22. It’s no coincidence that he established himself in the league’s upper class the same season as Boston won a Stanley Cup.

6) Pekka Rinne, NSH, 1 more yr @ $3.4M AAV:  That is a great price to pay for 33 wins, 2.12 GAA and .930 SV%. Rinne has quickly become one of the league’s best goalies and was a close 2nd place in Vezina Trophy voting. The next contract will get expensive.

7) Ryan Getzlaf, ANA, 2 more yrs @ $5.3M AAV: At age 25 he scored 76 PTS in 67 GP and is one of the most feared centers in the league. He’s big, strong, physical (189 hits), and he can score. He probably deserves an assist for Perry’s Hart Trophy.

8) Joe Pavelski, SJ, 3 more yrs @ $4M AAV: He scored 66 PTS in 74 GP at age 26. He won 54% of his face-offs and had a 57% Corsi For. I’m generally skeptical of the Corsi statistic, but I do think it’s important for #1 centers, and Pavelski ranks very well in this category.

9) Dustin Brown, LA, 3 more yrs @ $3.2M AAV: That’s a bargain for a 27-year-old captain who just finished his 4th consecutive season with at least 24 goals. He also chipped in with 300 hits and 228 shots.

10) Alex Edler, VAN, 2 more yrs @ $3.25M AAV: The Canucks got tremendous value from this bridge contract, as Edler logged a ton of minutes in their trip to the championship final.

11) David Krejci, BOS, 1 more yr @ $3.75M AAV: He just won the Stanley Cup. In the regular season he scored 62 PTS in 75 GP at age 24. They’ve got another year of extreme bargain before he gets significantly more expensive.

12) Ryane Clowe, SJ, 2 more yrs @ $3.3M AAV: At age 27 Clowe averaged 18m of ice per game, scoring 24 goals, taking 185 shots, and throwing 153 hits in 75 GP. He’s become a legit power forward who will be in great demand when he goes UFA at the end of this deal.

13) Alex Burrows, VAN, 2 more yrs @ $2M AAV: He scored 9 goals and 17 PTS in the playoffs on the way to the Stanley Cup final. Also contributed 26 regular season goals. At 29 years old this contract is expiring at the perfect time, but the Canucks will likely give him an overpriced long-term extension that goes into his mid to late 30s.

14) Loui Eriksson, DAL, 5 more yrs @ $4.3M AAV: After back to back seasons with 70+ PTS, they’ve got the 25-year-old sniper locked in for the prime of his career at a great price.

15) Bryan Little, WPG, 2 more years @ $2.4M AAV: At 22 years old he scored 48 PTS playing over 18m per game. He was also a +11 on a Jets team that gave up the most goals in the league.

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