Looking back at some of the best contracts out there make one wonder just how much these players left on the table. Some deals work and some fail miserably. The long-term value on some players has been through the roof compared to what they are being paid.
We’ll look at some of the best from each position. As always, anything can change between now and the end of their terms. One never knows.
The Best Long-Term Value Wingers
David Pastrnak — Boston Bruins
Pastrnak presents as a special player who still has room to grow. The winger tallied 23 goals in just 38 games at press time. This is all at the tender, young age of 22. He is on pace for just over 100 points.
The forward signed a six-year, $40 million contract last year ($6.66 million AAV). This came after a 70 point campaign. He followed that up with 80 points (35 goals) last year. Basically, Pastrnak is under contract until he just turns 28. Boston gets his prime years at what has proven to be a nice discount.
Estimating his worth is tough but think what a first line winger could be worth given his production. That dollar number could easily be in the $10 million plus range AAV. No one would bat an eye there.
Let’s add a few more numbers to the mix. He has ten power play goals already. He scored 13 all of last year. On-ice shooting percentage at even strength remains right around 10% which is elite. Furthermore, his possession metrics are 5% above team average. That includes a stretch where Patrice Bergeron was injured. This is a case where there is no doubt how much Pastrnak has outperformed his current deal.
Gabriel Landeskog — Colorado Avalanche
Now, the debate heightens a bit. Landeskog’s ups and downs are well documented. However, when healthy, there is no doubt who the physical force on Colorado’s top line is. This season, the left winger (center at times) took his game up a notch. He already has come close to his career high in goals (26). Currently, Landeskog has 24. This includes a league-leading seven game-winning goals.
The forward signed a seven-year, $39 million deal before the 2014-15 season. This fifth year has seen more leaps and bounds as Landeskog has been healthy for the first time in a few years. He is on pace to attempt more shots on net, and scoring chances at a career-high pace. Landeskog scoring eight times on the man advantage is a career high as well.
At press time, Colorado broke up the top line but do not expect that to last long. This is Colorado’s best first trio since the days of Sakic-Tanguay-Hejduk. That was a line which could cause fear in any team. The Avalanche have that now. It is part of why the $5.57 million AAV is such a bargain for this 26-year-old. His next contract definitely will cost a good bit more.
Elias Lindholm — Calgary Flames
An unexpected entrant into the tournament is Lindholm who promptly signed a long six-year, deal upon ending up in Calgary. This was after a bridge deal in Carolina that some argued did not quite go as expected. To be fair, Carolina is a team that can generate chances but cannot finish. It affected everyone, including Lindholm.
Magically, that all changed once Lindholm ended up on the top line in Calgary. He already scored 17 times and has 41 points in 38 games. The winger finally is playing around 19-20 minutes a night and the irony is he plays for Bill Peters still. So far, his $4.85 million AAV is looking like a total bargain. This is only year one of the deal but the nice part is he is still just 24.
Lindholm’s PDO is at an unsustainable 103.7 but it may stay high. Keep in mind, the forward was at 96.5 in his five years at Carolina. Could this be a sign of things to come? Either way, Lindholm’s ability to find space and his shot have been much improved. He is outplaying his contract while making Calgary management look like geniuses.