More Puck for Your Buck: Five of the NHL’s Best Contracts

While the NHL’s winter months are defined by wins and losses, the summertime is a battleground of dollars and cents. Armed with ballpoint pens and checkbooks, General Managers around the league filter through the summer’s batch of free agents in hopes of bringing in the necessary talent to take their team to the next level.

Just like during the regular season, the offseason’s fiscal pandemonium also has winners and losers. Even in an era in which the “hometown discount” is almost all but extinct, General Managers still manage to lock up top tier talent at affordable prices. While there are still plenty of bad contracts in the league, a select group of players are working above and beyond the dollar value they are currently making. It is in that spirit that I have decided to share five contracts that I believe to be some of the best in the entire NHL.

Given how hard it can be to judge a players true “value”, I have decided to look at five specific contracts rather than ranking them – Enjoy!

Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens)

Cap Hit Rank For Forwards: Out of Top 50

At just 24-years-old, Canadiens’ forward Max Pacioretty has already become one of the premier American born hockey players currently in the NHL. Last season, Pacioretty finished with 39 points (15G-24A-39P) which was good enough for 33rd in the NHL and 1st on the Canadiens for the 2nd consecutive year. Signed through the 2018-2019 season, Pacioretty’s annual $4.5 million cap hit isn’t even high enough to place him in the top 50 highest paid forwards in the NHL. Given his role as the Canadiens’ premier scorer, it’s safe to say that the Habs have been blessed with a bargain.

John Tavares (New York Islanders)

Cap Hit Rank for Forwards: 44

The potential next Captain of the Islanders, forward John Tavares is already showing that he has what it takes to be one of the best players in the entire NHL. After leading the Islanders in scoring for the past four seasons, Tavares was finally able to carry the team to the playoffs for the first time in his career. In just his 4th year in the NHL, Tavares finished last season as a Hart Trophy finalist after ending the year 17th in scoring.  Considering most top-tier players are now making north of $8 million a season, Tavares’ annual $5.5 million cap hit through the 2017-2018 season is possibly the best contract in the entire NHL.

Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues)

Cap Hit Rank for Defensemen:  42

In just his 3rd year with the Blues, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is already starting to stand out on a very talented St. Louis blue line. Last season, Shattenkirk finished the year as the Blues’ 2nd highest scoring defenseman and his nine power play points led the team’s defensive unit. Already one of the Blues’ top-2 defenseman at a young age, Shattenkirk’s annual $4.25 million cap hit through the 2016-2017 season should prove to be a steal when it’s all said and done.

P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens)

Cap Hit Rank for Defensemen: Out of Top 50

Though he only has one year remaining on his current deal, Canadiens’ defenseman P.K. Subban enters next season with probably one of the best contracts for a D-man in the entire NHL. Last season, Subban finished the year with 38 points (11G-27A-38P) and took home his first ever Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman. Although he is most certainly due for a substantial pay increase in the near future, Subban’s $2.875 million cap hit next season may prove to be the deal of the century.

Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Cap Hit Rank for Forwards: 41

An ageless wonder, Lighting forward Martin St. Louis took home last year’s Art Ross trophy at the ripe old age of 38. Still one of the premier playmakers in the league, St. Louis has been an integral part of the Lightning’s high-powered offense for many years. In fact, St. Louis has scored a total of 327 points in the last four seasons alone. While many players decline towards the end of their deals, St. Louis looks as if he will continue to outperform his annual $5.625 million cap hit through the 2014-2015 season.

Thanks for reading and we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below!

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  13. Best contracts for next year maybe but given how Subban performed, this contract is a killer considering they probably could have gotten him for 5 years at 5.5 instead. Also no love for the Sedins? 6.1 for the guys that have lead the league in points since the lockout?

    • Jameson Cooper says:

      The Sedin twins are definitely a great deal. There are a lot more than 5 great contracts in the NHL, I just picked 5 of my favorites. And it looks like the Habs will regret not signing Subban to a longer deal. Best bargain in the NHL next season, but then probably a 7 mil + guy!

    • Subban’s deal is far from behind as bad as you say, you are suggesting a deal worth 27.5M over 5 years. He got a 5.75 deal over 2 years. The difference would be 21.75M over 3 years. Say he signs for 7M a season after his contract, they are saving on those first 3 years of the new contract.

  14. Puck_and_Pols says:

    How about a little love for Pascal Dupuis, he produces 25 goals in 2011/12 and 20 in the lockout shortened 2012/13, while making a ridiculously low $1.9M each year. He is a key pk guy, hits, and does alot of the little things coaches love.

    Even with his cap hit going up to $3.75M for the next 4 season, he is still a bargin, especially when you consider that his points almost all come at even strength (only 2.325% of his points are on the PP over the past 4 seasons.)


  1. […] More Puck For Your Buck: Five of the NHL’s Best Contracts […]

  2. […] Your weekly reminder that John Tavares’ contract is a great deal… A list of Colin MacDonald’s favorite […]

  3. […] Panther Parkway on contracts: “Considering most top-tier players are now making north of $8 million a season, Tavares’ annual $5.5 million cap hit through the 2017-2018 season is possibly the best contract in the entire NHL.” At least 26th-best. […]

  4. […] Panther Parkway lists the NHL’s five best “Puck for Your Buck” Contracts […]

  5. […] Your weekly reminder that John Tavares’ contract is a great deal… A list of Colin MacDonald’s favorite […]

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