Most overpaid/underpaid players during the 2008/09 season has a fantastic article on the most and least valuable players in the NHL. What they did was take the salary of the player and figure out either the dollars per points, dollars per minute on ice, or dollars per save and shutout. The results are very interesting, and they prove that it's easy to pick out Crosbys and Ovechkins, but it takes experience and a bit of luck to find a Joel Ward or a Jan Hejda.

It also proves that big contracts don't always
guarantee on ice success.

Here's the full list of most valuable players for all positions.

So lets get to it. The top 3 forwards in terms of value last season were:
  1. Kris Versteeg (Chicago Blackhawks). $490,000 ÷ 53 points = $9,245 per point.
  2. Alexandre Burrows (Vancouver Canucks). $525,000 ÷ 51 points = $10,294 per point.
  3. Rich Peverley (Atlanta Thrashers). $475,000 ÷ 44 points = $12,329

Defenseman are measured by total ice time for the season.

The top 3
defenseman were:
  1. Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks). $1,600,000 ÷ 1968m = $813/m
  2. Dennis Wideman (Boston Bruins). $3,250,000 ÷ 1946m = $1,670/m
  3. Willie Mitchell (Vancouver Canucks). $3,500,000 ÷ 1878m = $1,864/m
The goalie calculation is sort of complicated. It takes the dollars per saves, then the dollars per goal allowed, subtracts the saves from the goals allowed, and gets the number at the end. I'm not going to write out the entire calculation, mostly because I'll probably get it wrong anyway.

The top 3 goalies were:
  1. Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators). $575,000 = $36 ($per save - $per GA)
  2. Scott Clemmensen (New Jersey Devils). $500,000 = $40 ($per save - $per GA)
  3. Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings). $550,000 = $43 ($per save - $per GA)
But of course, the fun is reading about the most overpaid players. These calculations are more simple, and boil it down to dollars per points or dollars per save. Here are the most overpaid players by position from the 2008/09 season:
  • Center: Bobby Holik (Atlanta Thrashers). $2,500,000 ÷ 9 points = $277,778 per point.
  • Right Wing: Eric Godard (Calgary Flames). $725,000 ÷ 4 points = $181,250 per point.
  • Left Wing: Donald Brashear (Washington Capitals). $1,200,000 ÷ 4 points = $300,000 per point.
  • Defenseman: Scott Hannan (Colorado Avalanche). $4,500,000 ÷ 10 points = $450,000 per point.
  • Goaltender: Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Anaheim Ducks) $5,500,000 = $4,795 per save.
So there you have it, the most overpaid/underpaid players during the 2008/09 season.

Flames win Bouwmeester sweepstakes; for now

The Calgary Flames have acquired the negotiating rights for Jay Bouwmeester in a trade during today's NHL Entry Draft. The Flames gave up the rights to defenseman Jordan Leopold and a third round pick which became Josh Birkholz after the Panthers drafted him 67th overall. Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter now has five days to try to sign the most sought-after defenseman in this year's free agency pool before the rest of the league has a chance at him.

Bouwmeester had 15 goals and 27 assists for the Florida Panthers last season, and is expected to earn somewhere in the neighbourhood of $7 million next season. The Flames already have $47.417 million committed to the cap for next season, which means that should they sign Bouwmeester there will be very little room to maneuver should Sutter want to sign any additional players. This also means that Todd Bertuzzi, Adrian Aucoin, and Mike Cammalleri are probably on their way out of Cow Town.

Should Bouwmeester sign with the Flames, Calgary would undoubtably have one of the best defensive cores in the NHL. Having an all-star defenseman join a team that already features Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr, and Mikka Kiprusoff will certainly cause frustration for both the Northwest Division and the Western Conference.

And to those who think that giving up players just to talk to Bouwmeester was a mistake, think again. Jordan Leopold was going to become an unrestricted free-agent on July 1st anyway, and the third round pick was acquired in yesterday's first round draft after the Flames traded their 20th pick to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for the 23rd pick and that 3rd rounder.

Flyers give up future for Pronger

How ironic is it that the Flyers would put their future in jeopardy at the draft? Yesterday at the NHL Entry Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers acquired Chris Pronger and Ryan Dingle in exchange for forward Joffrey Lupul, rookie defenseman Luca Sbisa, two first-round draft picks, and a third rounder to be determined later. The obvious message: The Flyers want to win now.

Joffrey Lupul has 25 goals and 50 points for the Flyers last season. At the age of 25, he has already three 20 goal seasons in his career. This, by the way, is the second time in three years that Lupul has been traded for Pronger.

Luca Sbisa was the Flyers first round pick in the 2008 draft. At only 19, he played 39 games with the Flyers last season, racking up 7 assists. By all accounts this kid is destined to become a solid top defenseman, and was expected to play a full season with the Flyers this season.

Throw in 2 first round draft picks and a third round draft pick, and what do the Flyers get in return? A 34-year old veteran that is a $6.25 million cap hit with only one year left on his contract. When asked for comment, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren responded:
"Chris makes life miserable for other teams. I think our younger players will look up to him. He's a winner. This makes us better today than we were yesterday."
But will it make the Flyers better tomorrow? In his defense, there are reports that it's a simple inevitability that Pronger will sign a contract extension with the Flyers, but will that make it worth giving up so much of your organization's young talent? I'm not suggesting that Chris Pronger isn't an elite player; he's easily in the top 10 defenseman in the NHL, but is risking your future such a smart move especially when you have so many great young players locked up for years?

  • Simon Gagne is under contract through the 2010/11 season.
  • Scott Hartnell is under contract through the 2012/13 season.
  • Danny Briere is under contract through the 2015/16 season.
  • Mike Richards is under contract through the 2019/20 season.
  • Kimmo Timonen is under contract through the 2012/13 season.

Should Pronger get a contract extension from the Flyers it could range from anywhere to his current $6.25 million to $7.45 million, Nicklas Lidstrom's current salary. This would make it extremely difficult for Holmgren to resign several young players whos contracts expire soon, including right-winger Mike Knuble.

What makes this deal even sweeter for the Ducks is that they were preparing for the departure of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer for quite some time now, so instead of waiting for Pronger to go somewhere in free agency, they got two very good players and 3 draft picks instead.
"At some point in time, this organization is going to be without Scotty and now Chris. Some day neither one of them were going to be there. It’s time we started preparing for that. It was time for us to move forward and that was what I was doing," said Ducks GM Bob Murray

Gonchar, Lidstrom played with injuries, among others

It's been reported that both Sergei Gonchar and Nicklas Lidstrom played the entire Stanley Cup Finals while injured. Gonchar was injured after that controversial knee-on-knee hit from Alexander Ovechkin in game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, causing him to suffer a partially torn right MCL.

Lidstrom had to have testicular surgery after Patrick Sharp speared him in the, well it's never specified in the Canadian Press Article, but I assume it was his testicles. His surgery caused him to miss the rest of the Blackhawks series, but of course he was back for the start of the Finals.

Both injuries would normally sideline a player for at least a couple of weeks, in Gonchar's case months, but both players were back after missing only two games. This information proves two things; hockey players are freakin' tough as nails (
HIS TESTICLES PEOPLE!!!), and NHL teams will go to unimaginable heights to keep player injuries secret. I mean, are NHL players so ruthless (other than Patrick Sharp evidently) that they would attack the Detroit captain's manhood if they knew about his, ahem, how can I put this, errr, LACK OF TESTICLES!!!

Apperantly, yes. Targeting of injuries in the NHL is commonplace, according to this article by Pierre Lebrun for ESPN. In his article, Pierre argues that disclosure during the regular season and playoffs is inconsistent, and that there are no definite guidelines for disclosing injuries during any part of the season. He also provides quite the interesting quote from Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jeff Finger,

I wouldn't say blatantly, but especially in the playoffs, if you know someone has a sore shoulder, or sore anywhere, you're going to make them pay the price, not necessarily try to injure them, but make them pay the price and not pass up an opportunity to give them a shot. Cleanly, of course.

Alrighty then, there's no argument after all. NHL player DO target injuries. How foolish of me to think that they would have some compassion! On the other hand professional sports are do or die, and every advantage a player can utilize has to be, well, utilized, especially in the playoffs where playing injured is the norm. What Pierre, and after reading his article I, would like to see is consistency from the NHL about reporting injuries in the regular season, where playing injured isn't so common, and the playoffs, where it is common occurence. In other words, the "upper body" and "lower body" injury, which can range from anywhere to broken bones to diarrhea, will suffice for the playoffs, but for the regular season, I want to know which testicle is the defunct one.

On a related note, Pittsburgh's Kris Letang also played the series with an undisclosed injury, and Sidney Crosby's jammed knee suffered in game 7 isn't even serious enough to warrant an MRI.

The Penguins: How they got here

Few people realize just how close we could have been to crowning the Oklahoma City Penguins the Stanley Cup champions. If it weren't for Mario Lemieux, the Stanley Cup would be parading down Oklahoma's single road, passing by all 18 of Oklahoma's hockey fans, all of them thinking, "Mmm, that would make a fine chili bowl, I tell you what." Then a gunfight would erupt and it would all be a bloody mess.

The reality was that at one point in the Penguins history they didn't have enough cash to pay their players, including Lemieux. Years of mismanagement by owners Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg, despite success on the ice, forced the organization to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1998. But years of withholding Lemieux's salary actually turned out to be one of the only good decisions the two owners could have made, because Lemieux used his $30,000,000 of deferred salary as equity to purchase the Penguins from his former bosses, avoiding relocation to the tumbleweed capital of the planet.

But the Penguins weren't out of the woods yet, not by a long shot, (tee-hee). Mario Lemieux, by now the first player-owner in NHL history, was facing his own problems in owning an NHL team. The 03-04 season saw the Penguins drop to last in league attendance, as well as last in the standings. That was, however, the season in which the Penguins took their first real step in rebuilding by drafting Marc-Andre Fleury first overall. Revenues were down the toilet, and relocation talk dominated the Penguin's community. Serious bids from Houston, Kansas City, and yes, Oklahoma (birthplace of the banjo), made it seem that relocation wasn't just a rumour, but a certainty. But by 2005, Mario Lemieux had figured out a way to pay everybody the Penguins owed money to (including every player) and managed a deal to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for another 30 years, despite having higher offers from other ownership groups.

Today, thanks to the draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup champions. They have had franchise records in home attendance over the past two seasons, and are currently building one of the most modern arenas in North America; the Consol Energy Center.

Note the lack of tumbleweeds.

And wh
o do the Penguins have to thank for all this success? One man, and one man only, Mr. Mario Lemieux. You think the Penguins have gotten lucky in the draft lottery lately? Just think, if Pittsburgh hadn't won the first overall pick in 1984, the Penguins wouldn't even exist today.

I doubt Kirk Muller would have been as generous as Mario was.

Welcome to HockeyStorm!


Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to HockeyStorm. I am in no way an "insider," but I like to see myself as an educated observer. Posts on this site will range from anything to game recaps, trade rumours, and in depth articles, all with my own personal twist. Enjoy!

Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate the Pittsburgh Penguins on their Stanley Cup championship. Special kudos to Fleury for that orgasmic save he made on Lidstrom with a couple ticks left on the clock.

Until next time enjoy the CBC's playoff wrap-up video: