Posted 29 June 2010 - 11:06 PM
Rafalski is one of the top offensive defensemen in the NHL. He also is underrated defensively (well above average), and his defensive game has declined since he joined the team. Realistically, he's one of the top 15-20 defensemen in the NHL, and he gets paid like it. Compare his salary to other defensemen making a little less or a little more. He's typically in their range, unless you look at a guy like Keith. But Keith signed as an RFA, so you would expect his salary to be less; UFA status will drive a player's salary up simply by its nature.
The one I would question seriously is Craig Anderson. Really? Yes, he played well for them this season. But he is far from the best goalie signing post-lockout.
Chris Osgood for pennies to play like Terry Sawchuk and Jacques Plante fused together for two consecutive postseasons? That's a pretty good one.
St. Louis signing Chris Mason after Nashville dumped him on the heap is a good one, given how well he's done for them and the number of games he's won for them. Very underrated, and worth all the praise given to Anderson in Colorado except Mason deserves it for multiple seasons.
Probably the best, though? June 1st, 2006: 28-year old undrafted free agent goaltender Niklas Bäckström signs a contract with the Minnesota Wild. He spent the 2006-07 splitting time with Manny Fernandez, putting up 23 wins, a .929 sv% and a 1.97 GAA in 36 starts. He played so well, starter Manny Fernandez was traded. Backstrom has been a consistent Vezina contender over the past few seasons. In his career he has played 230 games, posted a 119W-68L-30OTL record with 19SO, a .918sv% and a 2.37 GAA. Last season was his first season below .920sv% or above 2.33 GAA, and the first time he won fewer games than he lost (including OTL) so it is more than likely a fluke season.
And what about Rich Peverley at center? He's scored 110 points in 194 games between Nashville and Atlanta. He's made a total of about $2.5m in his career doing so over a total of about 3 1/2 seasons after signing his first NHL contract, and he's only signed for a cap hit of $1.325 this coming season. Savard may be a better player overall, but Peverly is the only forward who cost less than $10,000 per point last season (1 point per $8,864) and over his career he's scored about 1 point for every $44k, which is what Chicago got out of Patrick Kane this season and significantly less than most top forwards will give you. Think about it; if a $3.5m dollar second liner produced at that rate, he'd be scoring 80 points. A 7m dollar first liner would be scoring 160 points.
Definitely a better signing than Savard, despite the fact Savard is one of the league's top playmaking centers. Peverley is very underrated and is about where Savard was 4-5 years ago performance-wise.
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