Top-20 worst bang-for-the-buck NHL forwards in 2010-11

When the 2010-11 NHL regular season ended about three weeks ago, some teams analyzed the production of some of their key players thinking why did we give so much money to the players listed below. While some productive players like Joe Thornton (21 goals, but 70 points), Henrik Sedin (19 goals, but 94 points) and Nicklas Backstrom 18 goals, but 65 points) made the list because they are more passers than scorers, other players simply had dismal offensive seasons.

The first three players making the list, Scott Gomez, Matt Stajan and Alexei Ponikarovsky had problems all season long generating offense as shown by the dismal goal-scoring production. Gomez, acquired two years ago by GM Bob Gainey with Tom Pyatt from the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan McDonagh, Pavel Valentenko and Chris Higgins had his worst offensive year by far recording only 38 points making a humongous $8,000,000 in 2010-11. Glen Sather is still laughing at the trade! The same happened when Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke stole Dion Phaneuf with Fredrik Sjostrom and Keith Aulie from the Calgary Flames in exchange for overrated forward Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White. Mayers and White are now with the Sharks, hell Ian White has even been traded twice since the trade! No wonder Darryl Sutter stepped down from his GM job this winter as he could bear watching the results of that trade anymore!

Please note that a minimum of 60 games and a salary of at least $2,500,000 in 2010-11 were required to make the shameful list below.

Player Actual salary Goals Amount per goal
1. Scott Gomez MTL $8,000,000 7 goals $1,142,857
2. Matt Stajan CGY $4,500,000 6 goals $750,000
3. Alexi Ponikarovsky LA $3,200,000 5 goals $640,000
4. Jean-Pierre Dumont NAS $4,000,000 10 goals $400,000
5. Vincent Lecavalier TB $10,000,000 25 goals $400,000
6. Samuel Pahlsson CBJ $2,650,000 7 goals $378,571
7. Brian Rolston NJ $5,000,000 14 goals $357,142
8. Pierre-Marc Bouchard MIN $4,250,000 12 goals $354,167
9. Tim Connolly BUF $4,500,000 13 goals $346,153
10. Joe Thornton SJ $7,200,000 21 goals $342,857
11. Marian Gaborik NYR $7,500,000 22 goals $340,909
12. Jason Spezza OTT $7,000,000 21 goals $333,333
13. Nicklas Backstrom WAS $6,000,000 18 goals $333,333
14. Michal Handzus LA $4,000,000 12 goals $333,333
15. Henrik Sedin VAN $6,100,000 19 goals $321,063
16. Wojtek Wolski NYR/PHX $3,800,000 12 goals $316,666
17. Alexei Kovalev PIT/OTT $5,000,000 16 goals $312,500
18. Jamie Langenbrunner NJ/DAL $2,800,000 9 goals $311,111
19. Simon Gagne TB $5,250,000 17 goals $308,824
20. Paul Stastny COL $6,600,000 22 goals $300,000

The following players were not taken into account, because they missed too many games in 2010-11:
Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Daymond Langkow, Guillaume Latendresse, Marc Savard, Zach Parise, Marco Sturm, Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Drury, Alex Frolov, Vyacheslav Prospal, Derek Roy, Steve Sullivan, Matthew Lombardi, Colby Armstrong, Ryan Malone, Kristian Huselius, Chris Clark, Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Tomas Fleischmann.

In my next blog I’ll have a look at the Top-20 best-bang for the buck NHL forwards in 2010-11!

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About the Author: Working as a freelance sports writer and translator, Fred, 33, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City, earning a bachelor of translation in 2002. An avid fan of the Northeast division teams, he's also a long time fan of the Washington Capitals and the Montreal Canadiens. Fred also speaks fluently French and Spanish.

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  1. [...] are bobbling around." [Fear The Fin] • Top-20 worst bang-for-the-buck NHL forwards in 2010-11. [HI] • Tom Fornelli, Chicago Blackhawks fan, looks at the remaining playoff teams and decides which [...]

  2. ejstat says:

    Brent Sutter is the Flames coach, not GM. That was his brother, Darryl.

  3. Geno says:

    What no Jagr?

  4. Pete says:

    I get the point that you’re trying to get at, and on the surface I can see how this analysis almost seems to make sense. But in reality it’s just asinine. Sure, some of these guys were horrible busts this year – Gomez and Stajan in particular – but your simple little formula for determining who was a bust is idiotically simplistic. You admit yourself that you don’t take assists into account – hell, this list would be a million times better if it were point totals and $ / point – and you’re also obviously not accounting for intangibles – leadership, poise, penalty killing, defensive zone responsibility, etc. Determining a players worth just based on goal scoring is like judging a football prospect solely on his 40-yard-dash time – it’s such a tiny piece of the big picture that to look at nothing else is almost criminally stupid

  5. Rory says:

    Dude, Pete. Really? Calm down. It’s a goals per $ breakdown. Relax. It’s not a “here’s proof that Joe Thorton is overrated” post. These numbers are the facts, and it’s straight up salary to goal cost, as clearly stated.

    Take a pill, be thankful someone too the time to look at this, because it is interesting. Would you pay a player $8 million to score 7 goals? I sure wouldn’t.

  6. Fred Poulin says:

    @Pete It’s a bang for the puck evaluation on goal scoring, not on overall talent as @Rory said. I didn’t say that Thornton or Sedin are not great hockey players, just that they are not good goal scorer!

    • Ian Evans says:

      Right, but the fact of the matter is that Thornton isn’t paid his high salary for goal production necessarily. Or Niklas Backstrom or Henrik Sedin.

      Wayne Gretzky would have probably been on your list in the last third of his career, when he was scoring 20 goals a season but still putting up close to 100 points.

      A better list would be the cost per point of production for all these players.

  7. Joe says:

    I can’t say your list has no merit at all, but you leave out quite a bit in determining your list. For example, several of the players listed are not pure goal scorers – they are most oft thought of as set-up men. Thus, to give them accurate representation – you would have to take into account assists in some manner. Perhaps a weighted system? Also, it’s difficult to incorporate intangibles into a list such as this. Still, it should be noted that Pierre-Marc Bouchard played 59 games this season – coming back mid-season after missing the entire previous season with concussion syndrome. This, without any sort of rehab assignment. Thus I feel it’s unfair to have him anywhere near this list, as coming back and accomplishing what he did (12G/26A/38P – good for 6th best on the team) is quite an accomplishment.

  8. [...] ? Top-20 worst bang-for-the-buck NHL forwards in 2010-11. [HI] [...]

  9. Davey F says:

    Your list means nothing as does your opinion or point on many of these players.

    I agree with some on list but many do not belong on it.

    Sedin, Gagne, Lecavalier, Thornton, Bouchard, Spezza, Gaborik do not make sense Points,,PPP’s or taking the heat off another player (.ie Gaborik) count big time. Yes I get $’s per goal but your list is ridiculous.

    How you actually have Sedin, Thornton or Lecavalier on this list shows me you are just trying to get feedback or be controversial.

    Your list has very little merit,,,, better luck next time. I’ll give you one more chance. If it is similar in it’s poor taste and inaccuracy it will be the last time I read your words.


  10. Travis Culham says:

    This list makes you look like an idiot.
    You have Sedin, Thornton and Levavalier on this list.
    Henrik Sedin, is not a scorer, he gets three million assists a year though. Jumbo Joe right behind him, and Lecalvalier has had his best all around season since the Cup year.
    Terrible list

  11. scumdog says:

    how is Patrick Kane not on this list?

  12. andrew says:

    Great post Poulin!

    How about the opposite of this list?

    Keep getting posted on puck daddy and I’ll be back.

  13. [...] ? Top-20 worst bang-for-the-buck NHL forwards in 2010-11. [HI] [...]

  14. matt b says:

    a bit of context on some of these guys would help. Spezza, for one, played through a groin injury before missing over a month with a shoulder injury. He was well over a point per game after he came back…

    • Fred Poulin says:

      Spezza was not fortunate this year as he was injured in the first part of the season and played with AHLers after the trade deadline!

  15. Mike says:

    The headline tricked me into thinking this article would offer some sort of insight, opinion, or at least be an interesting read. Instead its just a lame list dividing salary by goals scored…

    While I get its just a straight number crunch, its still worth a chuckle to see someone put point per game players (or close to it) on any type of Worst Forwards list.

  16. Fred Poulin says:

    Following the feedback you guys gave me, I should really have excluded players with at least 50 points, this way Sedin, Thornton and Backstrom would have been omitted from the list!

  17. Jeff Quirin says:

    Interesting read Fred, thanks. The list is fine so long as you clarify you’re looking at goals scored. You can’t make everyone happy. People are always going to find something to nitpick and jump to conclusions about.

  18. Anthony says:

    I think half of the best bang for buck player list will be the Islanders first two lines.

    • Fred Poulin says:

      You won’t be disappointed Anthony as several Islanders players are listed in the latest best bang-for-the-buck blog! Have a look!

  19. [...] looking forward to hear your comments about this list and about my previous blog: Top-20 worst bang-for-the-buck NHL forwards in 2010-11 which takes a look at the opposite end of the production [...]

  20. Tom says:

    You missed Sean Avery. $4 million salary, $3,875,000 cap hit and three goal. An average of $1,291,667 per goal by cap hit, and $1,333,333 per goal by salary.

    • Fred Poulin says:

      You’re totally right about Avery. I must have used his cap hit of $1,937,500 instead of his actual salary of $4,000,000, which inadvertently ruled him out of the list.

  21. Scott says:

    As if Joe Thornton’s worth could be measured in goals…