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NHL's Best Bargains This Holiday Season

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'Tis the season for BOGOs, red-tag sales, bargain shoppers and, of course, our annual list of best buys in the NHL.

And while we're at it, we'll give you a few players we'd like to re-gift.

First, a Black Friday list of the five best NHL players money can buy:

1. Claude Giroux, Flyers. He entered the weekend ranked 15th in the NHL in scoring with 12 goals, 11 assists and 23 points. But what's most impressive about the gifted 22-year-old is that he's getting paid just $765,000 this season, down from the $850,000 he made last season. The Flyers locked him up for three more years, but at a $2.75 million next season he's still a steal.

2. Michal Neuvirth, Capitals. Washington's rookie netminder went 12-3-1 in his first 16 starts. Like Giroux, his NHL salary this season is just $765,000 with a cap hit of $821,667. Not bad for a kind on pace to finish with 43 wins.

3. Jimmy Howard, Red Wings. Detroit's second-year goalie is earning every bit of his $800,000 salary and he's counting even less ($716,666) against the salary cap. He started the season 11-2-2 and is a big reason the Red Wings sit atop the West.

4. Sergei Bobrovsky, Flyers. The Flyers must have believed in their rookie because his contract pays him $900,000 in base salary and $850,000 in performance bonuses. He looks like the Flyers' long-awaited No. 1 goalie, ranking among the top 10 in the NHL in wins, goals-against average and save percentage.

5. Andrew Ladd, Thrashers. With a salary of $1.65 million and a cap hit of $1.55 million, Ladd represents the second-lowest salary among the NHL's top 25 scorers, behind only Giroux. Ladd entered the weekend leading Atlanta in scoring and ranking 18th in the NHL with eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points.

Next is our top five list of players providing money-back guarantees:

1. Steven Stamkos, Lightning. In the final year of his three-year rookie deal, Stamkos carries a base salary of $875,000, but his $2.85 million in performance bonuses pushed his cap number to $3.725 million. Not a bad price to pay for the NHL's leading scorer with 21 goals and 38 points in his first 22 games this season.

2. Chris Stewart, Avalanche. It's not very often a team's leading scorer (11 goals, 13 assists) carries a salary of $2.5 million and a cap hit of $2.875 million.

3. Milan Hejduk, Avalanche. He may be making just $3 million in the final year of his contract, but the Avs' 34-year-old veteran is showing his hands are still silky smooth with seven goals and 17 assists.

4. Teemu Selanne, Ducks. Many wondered if Bob Murray was wise to make a one-year, $3.25 million investment in the 40-year-old Finnish Flash. Yet here he is second on the club in scoring with eight goals and 14 assists through 22 games.

5. Justin Williams, Kings. The perfect example of a player stepping it up in a contract year, Williams is leading the Kings in scoring with 22 points in 21 games while making $3.5 million. If he keeps it up he'll get a nice raise from the Kings or someone else on the free-agent market.

Finally, here's our top five list of players whose teams might demand a refund.

1. Vinny Lecavalier, Lightning. He's Tampa's highest-paid player at $10 million but had just three goals in his first 14 games before breaking his hand.

2. Roberto Luongo, Canucks. Another $10 million man not earning his keep, Luongo went just 8-7-2 in his first 17 games for a team many predicted would win the West.

3. Scott Gomez, Canadiens. If $8 million a year gets you just two goals through 22 games it might be time to ask for a money-back guarantee.

4. Chris Drury, Rangers. A broken index finger has kept the Rangers' $8 million captain out of the lineup for all but one game this season.

5. Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers. At $7.75 million and a 7-8-1 record through his first 16 appearances, Lundqvist is proving that you can spend too much for a No. 1 goalie.


I agree with Howard being a steal right now, but at the end of the season im sure his numbers will go up quite abit. Theres one person on the overpaid list I don't really agree with, I mean yeah Lundqvist makes a ton of money, but in no way should he really be on that list, I think its moreso his team. At least once a night he plays he makes a highlight reel save and keeps his team in the games as much as possible.

Edited by darkmanx

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