After the end of the regular season it’s normal to look back on the year that was and evaluate how well the team played. One of the big talking points was how poor of a season Scott Gomez had, which is just magnified by the size of his contract. This got me thinking about which players gave the team the most value for money and I decided to look at this. I compared the amount of points the player got to the size of his contract, this may be biased against defensemen as they aren’t solely judged by their points totals but the most offensive defensemen tend to get the big contracts so it is still a relevant factor. I excluded players that hadn’t played at least 5 games with the team to remove players called up that didn’t get a chance to assert themselves.
So let’s take a look at who turned out to be the top 5 bargains for the Habs this season.
As you can see the list is a mixture of role-players and youngsters with the leader, David Desharnais, being a little of both. This is to be expected with younger players, especially highly touted prospects, as they are usually on entry-level contracts, which limits their salary. What’s more surprising is seeing someone like Mathieu Darche being second on the list. A player who put in a lot of time in the minor leagues and finally got a chance to prove himself in the NHL and is making the most of it. Some might argue that he is getting lots of time on the second line with Gomez and Gionta but when you consider he only averages 11:16 minutes a game he has been by far our best value and most efficient player of the season.
We can’t look at which players are the best bargains without looking at who was the worst, here are the Top 5.
When you look at this list you’ll notice the top 3 are all defenseman, which is to be expected since scoring is not the primary role of most defenseman, especially someone like Hal Gill. Brent Sopel’s number is skewed somewhat because he did not score a point while playing with the Habs. Although even if you account for his whole salary and point production for the whole year you still get a figure of $333.333.64. One surprising name, or maybe not for some, is the name of Scott Gomez. It’s been well documented that he has had a bad year in the scoring department, which might not be as big a deal if he were not the highest paid player on the team. When you compare him to other top line forwards, such as Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn, Brian Gionta and Max Pacioretty, their average comes out to $83,974. Which goes to illustrate that if Scott Gomez were to be a free agent now he would likely receive contract offers that are less than half of what he is making now. This is a major reason for the anger and
disappointment directed at Scott Gomez because you cannot separate the contract from the offensive production and unless he is somehow rejuvenated and finds the form of his youth, he will have to deal with the criticism for the rest of his contract.
Having said all this, there is an opportunity for Scott Gomez to demonstrate his value to the team. Last year in the playoffs he was one of the better players on the team and was a big factor in their success in the first two rounds. If he can repeat that and contribute significantly to another run in the playoffs for the Habs, he may just buy himself some credit from the fans.