Most Undervalued NHL Players Of 2021-22 Season
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Which NHL player currently is the highest paid in the entire league? Well, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see that two-time Hart Trophy winner and 2021-22 NHL points leader Connor McDavid tops the list at $15 million per year.
Now there is no denying, McDavid and his production has been worth every single cent that the Oilers organization has paid to him. But has it put Edmonton into a situation where it's struggling to find value to put around the four-time All-Star? Even after the Avalanche’s 4-0 sweep against the Oilers in the Western Conference Finals, that stands to be McDavid’s best playoff run in his career so far.
To win the Stanley Cup, you need star power – just ask the Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins of recent years. But sometimes it takes those minimal-salary guys to get a Stanley Cup in the trophy cabinet, just like Ross Colton in the 2021 Finals.
And it’s no different to success in the regular season. NHL General Managers who find the best ‘bang-for-your-buck’ players often lead their teams to NHL Playoff berths and a shot at the title. Each team had around $81.5 million in cap space to work with this current season, but who used that money most wisely?
Bookies.com crunched the numbers to discover the most undervalued NHL player for each team, taking into account production on the ice and cap hit.
Most Undervalued NHL Player Per Team
Here is the rundown of the most undervalued NHL players for each team during the 2021-22 regular season. The players are listed in order from most to least “$ Per Point Share,” included with their team, position, cap hit and overall point shares according to Hockey-Reference.com.
For the study, we eliminated any NHL players still on their entry-level contracts and goalie point shares were weighted differently. The “$ Per Point Share” values were rounded to the nearest dollar for the purposes of the chart below.
Big-Time Value Can Turn into Playoff Berths
The top 6 most undervalued players in the NHL this past season came from six rosters that found themselves in the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Finding these value contracts helped in the regular season, as all three of the top Eastern Conference point-getters (including the Presidents' Trophy-winning Panthers) are featured near the top of this list.
The Hurricanes struck gold by giving Tony DeAngelo another shot after his off-ice issues. While many are skeptical of DeAngelo, his 10 points and stout defense in the NHL Playoffs spoke to the value of his 1-year, $1 million contract with Carolina. The Hurricanes' run in the playoffs was ended by DeAngelo’s former squad, the Rangers.
After just 26 NHL career appearances, Michael Bunting’s hard work paid off this season as the winger found himself on the first line of Toronto – featuring Mitch Marner and 60-goal scorer Auston Matthews. Quite the jump for the 26-year-old, but he performed well for the Leafs as his 63 points was top six on the squad and helped the team get a franchise record 115 points. It also helped Toronto bettors who backed the Leafs once Ontario sports betting went live in the province on April 4, although the Leafs' playoff run was once again ended in the first round, this time by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
While the New York Rangers are at the bottom of the list, fans should be overjoyed with GM Chris Drury as his 4-year, $5.6 million deal with Igor Shesterkin has been the key catalyst for their 2022 NHL Playoff run. The almost-guaranteed Vezina Trophy winner finished with a league-leading 2.07 goals against average and a 0.935 save percentage. It just speaks to his talent that he finds himself as the most undervalued player on New York and get excited Rangers fans, you won’t have to pay up until 2025. It's also exciting times for New York sports betting fans who've backed the Rangers on their run to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they face the Lightning.
Shesterkin, Bruins defender Charlie McAvoy and others on this list show that undervalued players can come from any salary range or position – and finding them can pay off in a big way for any franchise.