What players had the best bargain contracts in the NHL in the summer of 2009? This list was compiled in 2017 based on their performance during the 2008/09 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 2009 is $56.7M, so under $5.7M 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) Ryan Getzlaf, ANA, 4 more yrs @ $5.3M AAV: Getzlaf had a monster 91-point season at age 23. He played 20 minutes per game with 227 shots, 134 hits, 121 PIMs, with a 58% Corsi For. He’s still just 23 years old with his prime years ahead of him. He finished 15th in Hart Trophy voting.
2) Shea Weber, NSH, 2 more yrs @ $4.5M AAV: Weber has moved moved up into the elite tier of defensemen, finishing 5th in Norris Trophy voting with 23 goals and 53 PTS at age 24. Poile caught him on a sweet bridge deal.
3) Zach Parise, NJ, 2 more yrs @ $3.1M AAV: This season Parise jumped up to 45 goals and 94 PTS. He took 364 shots on net, scoring 45 goals and had a 57% Corsi For.
4) Jeff Carter, PHI, 2 more yrs @ $5M AAV: He had a phenomenal season, scoring 46 goals and 84 PTS while being a +23. He played 21 minutes per game and took 342 shots on net at age 23.
5) Ryan Kesler, VAN, 1 more yr @ $1.75M AAV: Kesler was nominated for the Selke Trophy on top of scoring 29 goals. The Canucks certainly got fantastic value at that price for that production.
6) Mike Green, WSH, 3 more yrs @ $5.3M AAV: In 68 GP he scored 73 PTS and finished a close 2nd place in Norris Trophy voting at the tender young age of 22. This contract is a very valuable asset. If he didn’t miss 14 games he’d probably have been named best defenseman in the league.
7) Duncan Keith, CHI, 1 more yrs @ $1.5M AAV: This year he jumped up from being a 32-point player to a 44 point player, and is now among the top 10 best defensemen in the NHL (he finished 6th in Norris Trophy voting).
8) Mikko Koivu, MIN, 2 more yrs @ $3.25M AAV: He has rebounded strong from the broken leg, scoring 67 PTS, winning 857 faceoffs at age 25. He finished 5th in Selke Trophy voting.
9) Ryan Suter, NSH, 3 more yrs @ $3.5M AAV: He has officially stepped up into the 40-point range, but he’s not exclusively an offensive defenseman. He is very responsible and effective in his own zone.
10) Corey Perry, ANA, 4 more yrs @ $5.3M AAV: He scored 32 goals and 72 PTS, while also eclipsing 100 in both hits and PIMs. True power forward that everyone hates to play against.
11) Mark Streit, NYI, 4 more yrs @ $4.1M AAV: It was a great year for the Swiss d-man, scoring 16 goals and 56 PTS. He is a dynamo on the power play. He even finished 8th in Norris Trophy voting.
12) David Backes, STL, 2 more yrs @ $2.3M AAV: After scoring 54 PTS in year one, that offer sheet isn’t looking so bad now. He also chipped in 208 shots and 204 hits. He’s a handful.
13) Niklas Kronwall, DET, 3 more yrs @ $3M AAV: Over the first 2 seasons of this contract, the Wings have made back to back trips to the Stanley Cup finals, winning one. He scored 86 PTS in the regular season with 24 more in the playoffs. He’s earned every penny of this contract and more at age 27.
14) Kevin Bieksa, VAN, 2 more yrs @ $3.8M AAV: Bieksa scored 43 PTS playing 23.5 minutes per game as a top pairing defenseman in Vancouver.
15) Dustin Brown, LA, 5 more yrs @ $3.2M AAV: Last season he pumped out 24 goals, 292 shots, and 285 hits at age 23.
Honorable Mentions: Ales Hemsky, Brooks Laich, Scott Hartnell, Stephen Weiss, Patrick Sharp