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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Top 10 Best Buys

From TSN,

In the salary-capped NHL, owners and general managers are always looking for that balance between on-ice talent and fiscal responsibility. Who puts forth the best contributions while pulling in a paycheck that doesn't take up too much of the cap? lists ten NHLers who offer the bang for under a million bucks this season. The criteria: the player must have played at least five seasons in the professional hockey (including AHL, ECHL, etc.) and make $900,000 or less.


1. Andrew Brunette, LW, Colorado Avalanche
Age: 33
2006-07 Salary: $850,000
Over the last three seasons, no one has played more games in the National Hockey League than Brunette. With 24 goals last year and a chance to ride shotgun this year on the top line with Joe Sakic, Brunette is posed for another big year.

05-06 stats=24 g, 39 a, 63 points

2. Alexei Ponikarovsky, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs
Age: 26
2006-07 Salary: $725,000
After registering a career high in goals, points, games played and penalty minutes last season, 'Pony' appears to have found his stride. He was also a +15 for a team that struggled for stretches. Mats Sundin needs a dependable winger at his side, and Ponikarovsky could be the answer.

05-06 stats=21 g, 17 a, 38 points

3. Antti Laaksonen, W, Colorado Avalanche
Age: 32
2006-07 Salary: $684,000
One of the most versatile players in the league, Laaksonen does his best work in his own zone with good positioning and penalty-killing. His superb skating and ability to score in the clutch (four game-winning goals last season) make him a huge bargain this year.

05-06 stats=16 g, 18 a, 34 points

4. Derek Armstrong, C, Los Angeles Kings
Age: 33
2006-07 Salary: $760,000
A veteran of 10 National Hockey League seasons, 'Army' provides good secondary scoring and a strong veteran presence. He hit career highs in assists and points last year, and should compliment the Kings' young core of forwards well.

05-06 stats=13 g, 28 a, 41 points

5. Jason Chimera, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets
Age: 27
2006-07 Salary: $750,000
Chimera finished fourth in team goal-scoring with 17 markers. While that makes for a solid season, it was also five more than the $6 million man Sergei Fedorov. With the team facing a season without sniper Nikolai Zherdev, the team will count on him for his blinding speed and scoring.

05-06 stats=17 g, 13 a, 30 points


1. Sean Hill, D, New York IslandersAge: 36
2006-07 Salary: $600,000
It will take a while to know whether or not the Islanders get their bang for the buck on Rick DiPietro's 15-year, $67.5 million contract. But the team can use that time to admire Sean Hill's value to the club. With over 750 NHL games under his belt, $600K for a steady, stay at home blueliner averaging 20 minutes a game is a price worth paying.

05-06 stats=2 g, 18 a, 20 points

2. Steve McCarthy, D, Atlanta Thrashers
Age: 25
2006-07 Salary: $775,000
The young defenceman had just five goals in his first 185 NHL games, but it only took him 16 games in a Thrashers uniform to net seven last season. Atlanta needs blueliners who can help generate offence, and having McCarthy as a potential top point man would make him a steal.

05-06 stats=9 g, 7 a, 16 points

3. Francois Beauchemin, D, Anaheim Ducks
Age: 26
2006-07 Salary: $500,000
His ice will diminish with the arrival of Chirs Pronger this season, but Beauchemin is still a huge component in one of the league's best defensive corps. He was second among Anaheim's blueliners in scoring last year and his performance in last spring's playoffs raised a lot of eyebrows.

05-06 stats=8 g, 28 a, 36 points

4. Kurtis Foster, D, Minnesota Wild
Age: 24
2006-07 Salary: $775,000
Foster is already a complete package on Jacques Lemaire's blueline. He led the Wild defence in scoring with 28 points despite playing only 58 games and is the team's biggest, most imposing defender at 6-5 and 240 pounds.

05-06 stats=10 g, 18 a, 28 points


1. Dominik Hasek, G, Detroit Red Wings
Age: 39
2006-07 Salary: $750,000
This year is all about proving your worth, and if Hasek performs anywhere near his past levels, this could be the steal of the year. He was the classic Dominator last year going into the Olympic break.

05-06 stats=28 W, 1o L, OTL 4, 2.09 GAA, .925 SV %


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