The 10 Best Contracts in Hockey

Dobber Sports

2013-06-11

 

JT

 

 

Which NHL players are the biggest bargains? Read on to find out.


 

The term best contracts may be misleading, as it depends on what perspective is taken. Players and agents want to maximize their earnings, while general managers usually have opposing interests. For this column, the perspective of the general manager is taken. The 10 players selected with the best contracts are all outperforming what they earn significantly.

 

Gone from last year's list because of new contracts are Corey Perry (8), Alex Burrows (5), and Jonathan Quick (2). Karl Alzner is also gone (he is a restricted free agent at the moment). Claude Giroux (1), Kris Letang (3), and Dustin Brown (4) all slid down the list because they are all only one year away from free agency status (although Giroux will become restricted free agents).

 

Not on this list – any player on his rookie contract (an entry-level contract, or ELC). I also tried to make note of any no movement or no trade clauses, as they tend to affect the overall cap hit and true value of a contract. And, of course, particular attention was given to RFA and UFA rights – a player with only one year left on his contract before he hits the open market has less value than a comparable player who is locked up for the long term, all else being equal.

And a quick note on the long-term contracts (Roberto Luongo, Ilya Kovalchuk, and the like) – until we know exactly what the punishment is if these players retire early (as expected with how the contracts are structured), it is tough to really gauge the true merits of these contracts. You can read more about the "cap advantage recapture penalty" here.

Other players signed to sign contracts similar to this: Jeff Carter, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Christian Ehrhoff, and Quick. Essentially these contracts allow for a team to receive a lower cap hit (and more cap space) by giving a player a front-loaded contract (most of the actual money is paid out in the first few years). The last few years of the contract carry the same cap hit as the first few, but the actual salary amount is significantly less. It is assumed that the player will retire before the contract expires (although this isn't the case for Quick, who signed his 10-year contract at the age of 26)

 

10. Jakub Voracek – Philadelphia Flyers

Contract: $4.25 million per season, signed through 2015-16 (UFA)


2013 was no fluke for Voracek – he was the best player on the Flyers on many nights (yes, even ahead of Ilya Bryzgalov), and showed why so many have been so high on him ever since the Blue Jackets took him early in the first round many years ago. Voracek is a strong two-way player who also has tremendous vision. Now that the Flyers are giving him top line minutes, he will produce like a top line star. And he isn't paid like one.

 

Voracek's offensive production had been stagnant from 2009 to 20012 – 50 points, 46 points, and 49 points, respectively. He had 46 points last season, but in 30 less games.

 

9. Jamie Benn – Dallas Stars

Contract: $5.25 million per season, signed through 2016-17 (UFA)


Benn is one of the best