Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Best NHL Contracts (2006-2017)

What have been the best bargain contracts in the NHL since 2006? These are only the contracts signed under a salary Cap and are for less than 10% of the salary cap (if not in year one then eventually. The majority of the contracts listed each year were signed when the player was a Restricted Free Agent. It's not impossible for UFAs to end up on a Best Contracts list, but it's rare. Scroll down for year by year worst contracts.

1- John Tavares, Sept 14 2011, 6 years $33M: Signed by Garth Snow. They got an MVP candidate for $5.5M AAV. This was listed on my “15 best contracts in hockey” list for all 6 seasons. 344 GP, 335 PTS with one season remaining.

2- Jonathon Toews, Dec 2 2009, 5 years $31.5M: Signed by Stan Bowman. This contract produced 2 Stanley Cups, a playoff MVP, a Selke trophy, and a regular season stat line of 343 GP, 315 PTS, 946 shots, 4002 face off wins, 16 short handed PTS, and +126 rating. That’s awesome.

3- Mikka Kiprusoff, Aug 13 2005, 3 years $10M: Signed by Darryl Sutter. He won a Vezina in year one at a bargain price. Averaged 40 wins per season, did start to decline in year three when he was over-30 years old. Still, he earned the whole $10M in year one with a .923 SV% and 2.07 GAA.

4- Henrik Zetterberg, Sep 7 2005, 4 years $10.6M: The Red Wings got 292 GP, 318 PTS, 1167 shots, +98, 125 power play PTS, 2059 face off wins, and that’s just regular season. He also won a Stanley Cup and a playoff MVP. One of the all-time best bargains in the NHL (even accounting for cap inflation).

5- Jonathan Quick, Oct 23 2009, 3 years $5.4M: Signed by Dean Lombardi. He won a Stanley Cup and was the playoff MVP. Bargain. Also posted a .919 SV% and 2.16 GAA in the regular season.

6- Tyler Seguin, Sep 11 2012, 6 years $34.5M: Signed by Peter Chiarelli. He never played a game in Boston under this contract. He was traded in July 2013 and Bruins fans have not stopped complaining about it since. He scored 84 PTS in year one.

7- Corey Perry, July 1 2008, 5 years $26.6M: 366 GP, 342 PTS, 1248 shots, averaging over 20 min per game of ice time. He even had a 50-goal season and was voted league MVP.

8- Ryan Getzlaf, Nov 20 2007, 5 years $26.6M: 340 GP, 342 PTS, 777 shots, 772 hits, and 2635 face off wins. That’s a nice haul for that money.

9- Anze Kopitar, Oct 11 2008, 7 years $47.6M: This contract produced a Selke trophy, 2 Stanley Cups, and 45 playoff PTS in those two championship seasons. Enough said.

10- Jamie Benn, Jan 24 2013, 5 years $26.3M: Signed by Joe Nieuwendyk. He went from being a good player at age 23, elevating into the elite tier of players by age 24. He finished this contract with 357 PTS in 363 GP.  This is probably among the 10 best value contracts signed in the entire salary cap era.

Historical Best Contracts Lists

I have made a top 15 list for every season since the salary cap was introduced. Part of my self-imposed definition of a bargain is a player earning less than 10% of the salary cap. This is not simply an exercise in listing the league's best players, then whatever they earn, those are the best contracts.

2017: Winner: Nikita Kucherov, runner-up: Roman Josi

2016: Winner: Nikita Kucherov, runner-up: Tyler Seguin

2015: Winner: Tyler Seguin, runner-up: John Tavares

2014: Winner: John Tavares, runner-up: Victor Hedman

2013: Winner: John Tavares, runner-up: David Backes

2012: Winner: Claude Giroux, runner-up: Kris Letang

2011: Winner: Corey Perry, runner-up: Ryan Kesler

2010: Winner: Mike Green, runner-up: Corey Perry

2009: Winner: Ryan Getzlaf, runner-up: Shea Weber

2008: Winner: Henrik Zetterberg, runner-up: Sedin Twins

2007: Winner: Miika Kiprusoff, runner-up: Danny Heatley

2006: Winner: Miika Kiprusoff, runner-up: Henrik Zetterberg

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