Everyone likes to talk about which players are overpaid (Wade Redden and Scott Gomez are usually subjects of that conversation). But what go unnoticed are some of the underpaid players. Here are two who Patrick and I believe give their teams a lot of bang for the buck. (Note: Only players with UFA status at the end of their current contracts were considered.)
Pekka Rinne By Ryan Porth
Nashville’s Pekka Rinne has officially put his name on the map this season, emerging as a Vezina Trophy candidate. Rinne is also making as good a case as any other goalie to be included in the Hart Trophy conversation. He has done all of this while making less money than a lot of other (good) starting goalies.
Compared to other elite goalies (see: Ryan Miller, Henrik Lundqvist, Roberto Luongo), Rinne’s price tag of $2.8 million is more than a bargain. His salary will jump to $4 million next season; but overall, his cap hit is just $3.4 mil.
Preds GM David Poile re-signed Rinne during last season’s Olympic break, and it came just at the right time. Ever since, he has arguably been the best goaltender in NHL (38-24-9, 2.07 GAA, .929 SV%).
This season, not only does ‘Peks’ own the second-best goals-against average (2.11) and save percentage (.929) – right behind Tim Thomas in each category – but the Finn has made countless game-saving stops all year for the Preds. It’s safe to say they wouldn’t even be on the playoff bubble without Rinne.
Rinne, 28, is by far the team’s most valuable player. How many players can you say such a statement about that makes $2.8 million? Not too many.
Goaltenders usually don’t get big pay-raises until they prove their worth in the playoffs… or put together a campaign like Rinne is this season. He will surely get a raise in his next contract. And boy, does he deserve one.
Patrick Sharp By Patrick Hoffman
When our fearless leader, Ryan, sent me a list of players that are underpaid, one jumped out at me right away: Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks.
‘Sharpie’ is only carrying a $3.9 million cap hit through the end of the 2011-2012 season. While that may seem like a decent amount of money to most people, it is certainly not enough when it comes to Sharp due to the way he is playing this season.
In 70 games, Sharp is second on the Hawks’ in scoring with 34 goals and 68 points (only Jonathan Toews has more). Certainly not bad for a player making that kind of salary and when you think about it, Sharp is really one of the most underpaid (and underrated) guys in the entire National Hockey League.
The number that really sticks out when it comes to Sharp is his 34 goals. This is the second time in his career that Sharp has cracked the 30-goal mark (did it previously in the 2007-08 season with 36 goals) and is leading a team that has the likes of Toews, Kane and Hossa. His goal total is also good enough for fifth in the league.
Another number that sticks out is Sharp’s 34 assists. Earlier this week, Sharp had four assists in one period when the Blackhawks defeated the San Jose Sharks by a score of 6-3. Sharp has shown that not only can he score goals, but he can distribute the puck with the best of them.
Sharp works hard, puts the puck on the net, plays on the power play and contributes in all situations for the Blackhawks. He is simply invaluable to their team. Come the end of his contract, the Blackhawks should throw some more money at him, eh?
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.