In the NHL’s salary cap world, a good signing can make or break a season, while a bad one can leave a GM with buyer’s remorse. From Comeau to Hemsky, these seven players are some of the most (and least) cost effective deals of the off-season.
Following Saturday night’s game against the Devils, Hemsky has only registered eight points in 26 games and is on pace for the lowest full season point total of his career. Suffice to say, Hemsky is far short of where the Stars GM Jim Nill had likely hoped he’d see the winger’s point total. At a salary cap hit of $4 million for the next three seasons, Dallas isn’t getting the bang for their buck as they’re on pace to pay Hemsky nearly $170,000 for every point he’s on pace to score this season.
But it’s not just Hemsky, as several stars are making GMs second-guess some off-season signings. On the other hand, there are several who are far exceeding their salary expectations.
Least Cost Effective:
Paul Stastny, St. Louis Blues
Stastny was one of the off-season’s most coveted pieces, as top-line centers often are. Unfortunately for the Blues and Stastny, however, things haven’t quite worked out the way either party had expected.
Stastny has had injury troubles in the past, and he’s already missed a few games this season. Though it’s tough to blame him for that, it may be a case where Blues GM Doug Armstrong is wishing he hadn’t invested four years and $28 million into the pivot.
With only 12 points through 21 games, a 43-point pace for the season, Stastny is projected to $162,791 per point he registers this season.
Dave Bolland, Florida Panthers
Bolland’s injury trouble makes it hard to harp on the signing too much, but on pace to suit up in only 61 games and notch 17 points, the 2012-13 Stanley Cup hero has fallen well short of expectations.
The most important aspect of Bolland’s game is his ability to shutdown opponents, and it’s impossible for the Panthers to get a return on their investment when he’s on the injured list and not on the ice. He’s registered assists in back-to-back games for the Cats, but at $5.5 million per season for the next five years, the production offensively and defensively has to increase for Bolland.
Bolland’s current cost per point pace is $323,529.
Olli Jokinen, Nashville Predators
At one time considered a player that needed to escape the Panthers to truly turn into a superstar, Jokinen has struggled since leaving Florida, never matching his career best point totals that he registered in the Sunshine State.
Seven seasons and five teams removed from his days as a Panther, Jokinen is now on pace for the most offensively challenged campaign of his career. Though he scored on Saturday night, heading into weekend action the 36-year-old had only registered a single marker in 28 games, and had a grand total of one point. His tally on Saturday doubled his output.
If this keeps up, by season’s end the Predators, who have been the model of consistency when it comes to turning nothing into something, will have paid the aging winger $416,667 per point.
Most Cost Effective:
Brad Richards, Chicago Blackhawks
It was a deal that just seemed to fit: Richards was looking to win, Chicago needed depth at center, and thanks to a buyout the pivot was available for a sweetheart of a deal.
Skating of late alongside Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane, Richards is actually on pace for the lowest scoring full season of his career, but his $2 million salary makes it easy for the Blackhawks to stomach. If he can maintain the pace, he’ll end the season with 49 points, or a mere $40,816 per point.
If the deal didn’t look excellent for the Blackhawks at the time, it’s looking like a smart move for both parties now.
Blake Comeau, Pittsburgh Penguins
Comeau wasn’t a big name signing for the Penguins, but he’s turned out to be quite the addition.
A short hot streak which included three goals and five points over the course of four games has bolstered Comeau’s point totals, and the only reason he doesn’t take the top bargain spot is because it seems like he’s destined to slow his pace at some point. However, he is currently riding a three game point streak in which he’s registered goals on back-to-back nights.
If Comeau can keep posting points at his current clip, he’ll have billed the Penguins to the tune of a mere $13,462 per point. That’s a steal of a deal.
Mike Ribeiro, Nashville Predators
Like Richards, Ribeiro and the Predators were simply a good fit for one another. Nashville needed help down the middle and, on a team that often needs to make due with a lesser payroll, the veteran center came in a friendly cap hit.
Making just $1.05 million on a one-year deal with the Predators, Ribeiro has been a revelation as part of a line with James Neal and rookie sensation Filip Forsberg. His 25 points in 28 games, a 73-point pace, hasn’t hurt him become a fixture on Nashville’s top line, either.
With nearly $2 million coming his way courtesy a compliance buyout from the Arizona Coyotes, Ribeiro could afford the cut in salary and the Nashville has been the beneficiary. If he can reach the 73-point mark, which would be his highest point total since 2010-11, each point will have cost the Predators a mere $14,383.
(All salary figures via CapGeek)