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Who Has the Best and Worst NHL Contracts? Nathan MacKinnon & Milan Lucic (Plus More)

Who has the best contract in the NHL? Who has the worst?

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Hockey fans can tell a lot from reading a poll, and just recently we at NHLTradeTalk.com used the recent National Hockey League’s Player Association (NHLPA) poll to report that Carey Price was considered to be the best goalie in the NHL. Numbers aside – his peers tell us that Price is the best. And, that’s something so say really.

A Poll of Player Agents

As a former university professor and an academic researcher, I’ve worked to analyze data for more than 40 decades. And, I admit it: I’m a geek. Even when I was young, I loved playing with numbers. Polls tend to fascinate me.

However, I recently came across a recent hockey poll that got my attention because the participants of the research were not players, coaches, or even fans – they were player agents. Now it strikes me that player agents have a unique perspective on hockey. Their work is narrowly focused on getting their clients – NHL players – good contracts.

Related: Five On-Ice No-no’s: What NHL Players Can’t Do Because of COVID-19

NHL player agents directly deal with how hockey revenue is distributed, so they can tell regular hockey fans something about the financial aspect of the sport. From their perspective, their lens can be unique.

The poll with the link below covers a lot of different subjects; but, in this post, I’ll just review the poll participants’ (player agents) answers to two questions about the best and worst contracts in the NHL. But those are only two of the many questions the poll asks and answers.

For fans who are interested in looking more deeply, you can see the poll by hitting this link:

As a note, PuckPedia is the home of the NHL Agent Leader-Board (PuckPedia.com/Agents). Here agents are ranked by contracts and their client lists are displayed. This poll was the result of a PuckPedia anonymous survey of 25 of these NHL Agents. In January and February 2020, these 25 player agents anonymously shared their opinions. [A note too that the survey was conducted before the Covid-19 suspension of games on March 12.]

What Player Has the Most Team-Friendly Contract?

Player agents named the Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan Mackinnon’s seven-year, $6.3 million salary-cap hit contact as the most team-friendly NHL contract. The Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak’s six-year, $6.67 million salary-cap hit contract was named the second most team-friendly contact.

Indeed, those contracts are well-known as good contracts for the team, and MacKinnon went on record recently to say that he’d sign another team-friendly contract next time as well so he could stay with the same group of teammates. That’s a team player.

However, there were some surprises in this poll. The Nashville Predators’ Calle Jarnkrok’s six-year, $2 million salary-cap hit contact tied Pastrnak in player agent votes for second place. This season, Jarnkrok scored 15 goals and 34 points in 64 Games (he’s averaged 14 goals and 31 points over the past four seasons. Coming in at the fourth team-friendly contract was the San Jose Sharks’ Kevin Labanc’s one year $1 million salary-cap hit at 10% of the vote.

What Player’s Current Contract Is the Worst from a Team Perspective?

Perhaps no surprise, player agents reported that the worst current contract from a team perspective was the Calgary Flames’ Milan Lucic’s seven-year, $6 million salary-cap hit. Player agents named the second worst contract from a team perspective as the Chicago Blackhawks’ Brent Seabrook’s eight years at a $6.875 million salary-cap hit. The third was the San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson’s eight years at $11.5 million salary-cap hit, and fourth came the Buffalo Sabres’ Jeff Skinner’s eight years at $9 million salary-cap hit. 

Some big-name goalies also received votes. Those included the Montreal Canadiens’ Carey Price’s eight years at $10.5 million salary-cap hit, the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist’s seven years at $8.5 million salary-cap hit, and finally the last Sergei Bobrovsky contract for seven for years at a $10 million salary-cap hit.

Related: James Neal Sounds Off Regarding Kassian Ruling and Tkachuk Hits

Other Questions Answered in the Poll

The poll covers a number of different areas. Some snippets include the news that the most common response for the toughest current or former general manager to deal with was the New York Islanders’ Lou Lamoriello who received a third of the votes. And, when asked which general manager (current or former) agents most enjoyed dealing with, the answers were split. Four GM’s received the most votes: these were the Winnipeg Jets’ Kevin Cheveldayoff, the Calgary Flames’ Brad Treliving, the Edmonton Oilers’ Ken Holland, and the Florida Panthers’ Dale Tallon.

It’s an interesting poll and perhaps worth a quick look.

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