Bargains and busts…

On TSN tonight, there was an interesting second intermission during the Rangers vs Carolina game. Who are your ”bargains” and your ”busts” for the first quarter of this season?

I’ll make it a little different. You can choose players, teams, and you can even add good and bad coaches and Gms until now. In fact, let’s see for all of these categories. (Try to limit yourself to one or two bargains and busts per category). Also, for logical purposes, players on their first contracts (rookie contracts) don’t count!

Players :

Bargain : Chris Higgins (no he’s not on his rookie contract)
The guy has been injured for a couple weeks now but before that, Higgins had 8g, 5a for 13pts in 13gms. In addition, he has killed SH situations and scored 3SH goals, leader in the league! Not bad for a 0.672M guy!

Bust : Sergei Fedorov
6M to go totally unseen during this first quarter…although he did only play 12gms(3g, 4a 7pts), there is no reason why he isn’t amongst the top10-15 among scoring leaders especially since his wingers are young superstars Nash and Zherdev…he should be the leader for this team. Instead, he is quite a waste!

Teams :
Bargain : Washington Capitals
With a payroll at the minimum cap, the Washington Capitals are currently tied for the 8th spot in the east…who would’ve said the caps would’ve played for more than .500 after 20 games? Financially and on paper, they are the bargain and surprise until now!

Bust : Philadelphia Flyers
With all the big names the team has, they were supposed to be an offensive threat since the beginning of the season. Some predicted that they wouldn’t be that good but last of the east? I doubt anyone was waiting for that! A lot of disappointment in Philly!

Coaches/GMs :

Bargain : John Ferguson Jr. and Paul Maurice (Toronto Maple Leafs)
The weird part of this is that I am a Habs fan….and as much as I hate to admit this, these two have played their cards wonderfully until now since training camp with the results that Leafs are 4th in the East right now. They created a great mix of youngsters and veterans and it paid off.

Bust : Mike Barnett and Wayne Gretzky (Phoenix Coyotes)
With ”The Great One” behind the bench, everyone thought phoenix would at least become a decent team. Bad decisions during the summer turned into the results we know now on the ice for the coyotes. I know that Gretzky likes to work with his friends but if he wants to win, he’ll have to make some new ones!

So, who are your bargains and busts?

29 Responses to Bargains and busts…

  1. mcdougall says:


    Bargain: Darcy Tucker
    The guy is starting to grow up and get rid of the stupid penalties and dirtier moves, and he's finally starting to show the scoring promise he displayed when he was in the junior leagues. He's never going to be a franchise player, but for 1.6 million, to have a guy on pace for 40 goals is a steal.
    Bust: Brad Richards
    The first thing I am gonna say with this is I think Brad Richards is a great player. He's young, has great vision, and can put the puck in the net. That being said, he isn't a player who deserves a 5 year 39 million dollar contract. This was a huge gamble by Feaster (who I presonally think is really dragging down what was a pretty dominant franchise 3 years ago). Richards has been good this year, but he has not lived up to being one of the top 5 highest paid players in the league, and the definition of a bust is someone who is not playing to what they're worth by any means.
    Bargain: Pittsburgh
    The team is young, fast, has good veteran leadership, and can only get better right now. Next year will probably be their peak year before rookie contracts are up and suddenly they have 3 or 4 players who could all get the league maximum.
    Bust: Philly
    …..enough has already been said
    Bargain: John Ferguson Jr. and Paul Maurice
    People can slam Ferguson all they want, but he was able to make a pretty decent team in 2 years, considering how the old Maple Leafs mentalitly was that the draft was a great way to get trading options. Maurice has turned a team which, while they are still improving shouldn't really be a top 8 team right now, into one by putting in a system to get the most out of every player he has. Nobody is safe, everyone is accountable, and it works.
  2. mcdougall says:

    Forgot to add bust to GM….my bad….

    Bust: Bob Clarke and Ken Hitch*****
    Their fates proved why this is true
  3. moosehockey says:


    Yannick Perrault
    8 Games played, 6 goals and 3 assists and deadly in the faceoff circle all for 700k. This is a huge steal for Phoenix. I can't believe this guy was out there for so long. People say he's a defensive liability but I don't buy that, anyone who wins that many faceoffs is a huge asset in your own end.

    Wade Redden
    13 games played, 3 points all for the low price for 6.5 million this year. Wade is certainly one of the guys who can turn it around but at this point in the year he is a huge bust.


    I fully agree with what has been said. A team near the salary floor currently floating near a playoff spot.

    Underachieving, overpaid and slow.


    Ted Nolan – Not sure why this guy was out of the game for so long, but I would consider anyone who can get Yashin going again a bargain.

    Gretzky – Amazing player, but he probably should have started off his NHL coaching career as an assistant coach and gained valuable experience. I know I personally expected Phoenix to at least fight for a playoff spot this season.

  4. Aetherial says:

    I still think the jury is out on  the Leafs, this year and next. They are not really a 4th place team in the east. The real pain of what they have done will be felt in the off-season, when they can't afford Tucker and Sundin… and then in the next year or two when other stron performers come up for contracts…

    and JFJ can't keep the talent he has because there is 15 million + tied up in 3 d-men.

    Just imagine, Toronto will have a mediocre team, that it can't keep together. That is NOT the winning recipe.

  5. 92-93 says:

    like i said numerous times before,

    trading Hal Gill and is 2.1 million is key here. Even then they will have to choose between 2 of O'Neill, Tucker, and Peca to keep … not to mention qualifying their young RFAs.

    Waiving Belak and trading Tellqvist will also relieve some of the cap pressure.

    Trading Gill makes sense – they have defensive depth after their top-3 D-guys. I don't mind spending 15 million on the top-3 but i DO mind having no-trade clauses for two of them (well, mostly McCabe, i dont want Kaberle to go anywhere in the next 5 years at age 27).

    i dont think they will be in that tough of a spot if they find ways to waive or trade Telly, Belak, Gill and one of those veteran forwards. And if they continue to draft smartly (or, at least, not trade their draft choices, or, trade their draft choices for former Calder winners who are still young and havent hit their prime) … then i dont think the leafs will be as bad off as you say.

  6. woodsco85 says:

    All Indications are that the Salary Cap is only going to go up, so theres no way to tell if these contracts are really going to hurt the Leafs in the Long run, and the way Kaberle and McCabe have been playing as of lately, I'd love to have these two guys locked up long term, and Kubina has been pretty decent in the games before and after his injury.

  7. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    Tucker and Peca are ownage. Poni too.

    Raycroft huge shocker.

  8. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    Tellqvist is in the minors, no cap hit.

    Sundin is going to take a pay cut, we know that already.

    I don't see Peca and O'neill demanding pay raises. They both begged to come here, and they're bouth making about where they should be.


    Mats Sundin $5 500 000
    Darcy Tucker $4 000 000
    Mike Peca $2 500 000
    Jeff O'neill $1 500 000
    Nik Antropov $1 007 000
    Chad Kilger $1 000 000
    Matt Stajan $800 000
    Kyle Wellwood $800 000
    Alex Steen $750 000
    Alexei Ponikarovsky $750 000

    To hell with: Battaglia, Pohl, Suglobov


    Bryan McCabe $5 750 000
    Pavel Kubina $5 000 000
    Tomas Kaberle $4 250 000
    Hal Gill $2 100 00
    Carlo Colaiacovo $900 000
    Ian White $850 000


    Andrew Raycroft $2 000 000
    Jean Sebastien Aubin $850 000

    That's $40 307 000 for two forwards, and we have to wonder about the cap increase. It looks like 3.7 in space this summer, and here are thre free agent forwards.

  9. dcz28 says:

    Redden has been struggling with a groin injury since the start of the season and i think that is a big reason why his point totals are low although i think they payed a bit too much for him on a 2 year deal.

  10. nakedjoe says:

    Ted Nolan slept with Hasek's wife…thats why he's been blacklisted.  When Buffalo went to the finals, he was coach of the year….this is his first NHL job since that season

  11. SabresFan220 says:

    Major bargains: Jason Pominville at only $1 milllion could put up 30 goals if he stays healthy.

    Brian Campbell $1.2 million the leading the Eastern conference defense in vote getting for the All-Star game, logs between 25-30 mins a night with Buffalo's defensive injuries.

  12. 92-93 says:

    first, Tucker should NOT be making 4 million, 3.25 million max. otherwise bye bye.

    second, the Sundin issue is still not resolved yet.

    third, that's a pretty lean line-up. you still need 2 more forwards and it would be smart for JFJ to keep at least 10 percent of cap space open … meaning that 4.4 million away from the 44 million cap (if that is what the cap will be next year – your prediction of 3.7 million is EXTREMELY optimistic).

    fourth, you are very naive if you think Peca and O'neill will 'just be happy' with making the same amount next season.

    finally, playres like Pohl and Battaglia are very necessary under the new cap system … they are cheap and fill the necessary holes in a line-up and dont hurt the team too much.

    also, the leafs will eventually have to deal with the tellqvist situation and do it soon because they cannot keep taking away valuable starts from Pogge in the minors.

    They also have to qualify Steen, Poni and Antropov next year, all of whom will be seeking raises i believe … even if the raises wont be that much.

    in any case, some players will have to go.


  13. 92-93 says:

    i would like you and Leafy to let me know about what exactly all of these 'indications' are …

    could you provide me some links or something that suggests that the cap will go up next year … ?

  14. TheFish12 says:

    Aren't McCabe and Kaberle already locked up long term and have no trade, cut, waive, scratch, bench, yell-at-me, look-at-me-the-wrong-way clauses?

  15. TheFish12 says:


    Thomas Vanek (Buf) 22 15-13-28 +16   942, 400$
    Third in Goals, T-eight in points and this "defensive liability" is +16, second only to Nik Lidstrom.  On pace for 82 56-48-104, thats 16,828.56$ per goal and 9,042.37$ per point.

    Patrik Elias (NJ) 20 4-9-13 -10 7,500,000$
    Signed league maximum salary and is having one of worst seasons of career. He is a minus 10(!) on a New Jersey team with the best goalie in the world.  On pace for 82 16-37-53, thats 468,000$ per goal and 141,509.43$ per point

    Minesota 21 12-8-1 25   38,938,000.00$
    Edmonton 21 12-8-1 25   38,385,100.00$
    Both Minnesota and Edmonton are fighting for the Northeast division crown with salaries well bellow the league limit.  Minnesota is fifth in the conference in goals scored(!), but the edge goes to Edmonton, whom most analysts had picked to miss the playoffs

    Philadelphia Flyers, and if I have to tell you why, you dont belong on a hockey blog site


    Brian Burke/Randy Carlyle (Ana)
    Burke has made all the necessary moves to make this team the contender that it is, from trading popular players (Carney) trading away underachieving talent (Federov) Bringing in youth (Getzlaf, Perrey, Penner) and key FREE AGENTS (in capitals, thats how important they were) (Niedermayer and Pronger) he has molded this team.  Carlyle gets steady production from his youngsters and does what no coach in colorado or san jose could do (get production from Selanne)

    Bobael Clarnett/ Kayne Hitchsky (Phoenidelphix Coyoters)
    Its tie between Clark and Hitch***** and Barnett and Gretzky

  16. 92-93 says:

    yes – and in McCabe's case, that sucks for the leafs.

    but i dont see that many negatives in the case of Kaberle, who is 27 years old and just entering his prime. the leafs have him for cheap at 4.25 million a year and he is only getting better.

  17. TheDonkey says:

    Speaking of Edmonton, I don't know if I would call $2.9M a bargain, but Sykora is definitely worth the $$ so far.  Same goes for Roloson at $4M.

  18. TheDonkey says:

    Aetherial is right – the jury is still out.  Not just for future years, but there is plenty of time to move down in the standings.  I have been stunned by the Leafs performance so far but I am still not certain that this can last.

  19. papichulo71 says:

    re: Tucker –> contract year

  20. Aetherial says:

    I was wondering the same thing myself. This *assumption*  that the cap is going to keep going up, or even rise next year, appears to have no foundation.

    In fact, I think I read that revenues are down this year from last…

    Making long-term deals, with no movement and big dollars even MORE painful.

  21. Aetherial says:

    Isn't pomminville just about a rookie or close to it?

    Campbell is a HUGE bargain.

  22. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    Pohl and Battaglia severely damage the team. Woulda rather grapped Roberts, and called up Jeremy Williams.

    Steen sucks, has sucked since December 05, he deserves league minimum at most.

    O'neill is on pace for what, 20 goals? You think he'll demand a raise? Peca has played pretty much as well as last year, if he thinks he deserves a raise for the same ammount of work, he can go to hell.

  23. SabresFan220 says:

    Pomminville is no longer on a rookie contract and signed a 2 year deal at that price, that is why I listed him.

  24. goalieman32 says:

    staying with my name, i will just look at goalies


    Ray Emery-comming into the year expected to play second string to Gerber, he is now leading the league in gaa amongst goalies with the minimum games played and is second in save%.  he is a huge part of the sens turn around.

    Runner up 
    Mike Smith-this kid isnt getting enough ice time and with turco in goal, he probably wont see much more, but anyone who can put up those numbers should be a starter.  i say let the kid roll to see if he is the real deal and if he is, put turco on the market.


    There are alot of goalies who have been major disapointments. Ward, Lundqvist and Lehtonen have all been shakey to say the least.  Denis, Legacy and Auld have also failed to live up to expectations, but two goalies stand out below the rest

    Robert Esche-how this guy is still in the NHL is beyond me.  he has a gaa of 5.64 and a sv% of .820,  the only goalie who has worse is Mike Morrison, and he is in the minors.  Morrison also was never considered a starter, which makes Esche's case even worse. 

    Runner up
    Dan Cloutier-he was paid a decent chunck of cash to come in and fill the void that is ever present in the kings net and has done nothing to prove that he deserves a penny.  he has the worst gaa and sv% of all goalies playing the minimum number of games

  25. SensShark says:

    HAha….Are you serious?

  26. jimbojones123 says:

    I personally miss the Nolan rumors every time a coach was fired for more than a decade.  Didn't know that though… YIKES!

  27. jimbojones123 says:

    Hate to say it, and almost feel shame for doing so but Big E in Big D.

  28. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    …. selanne only plays when he is the star of a team. he couldnt produce in the first 10 games or so when he played on a line with sakic. quite simply who is a star on the forwards for anaheim? nobody thats why he produces cause he has the spotlight on him.

  29. burnz30 says:

    He was blacklisted becuase of a power struggle with management. He was labelled as a guy who would try to over-throw managment. That's why he wasn't hired for 10 years. He went over his bosses' head, to the owner of the Sabres, to try to get the GM (Muckler) fired after he won the Adams trophy. He thought  he had enough power(top coach) to convice the owner that they should fire the GM. That's why both Nolan and Muckler were fired the same year. They couldn't decide, so they got rid of both.  No one is willing to take a chance on a guy that has that kind of reputation.

    The rumours are just that, there is no proof of what you said.

    Also, Nolan wasn't coach of the Sabres when they went to the Finals (1999 against Dallas). He only coached 2 years 95-96 and 96-97, and the Sabres didn't go to the finals either of those years.

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