The Best Team a Little Money can Buy
Last week I wrote on the worst team money can buy and in honour of Canadian Thanksgiving I figured I would write up a similar article this time discussing all the players we can be thankful are on our team because they provide good value for their salary.
The NHL salary floor is $40.8 million so in making up this roster I intend to get as close to that floor as possible, and certainly within $1 million of it. The other restriction I am putting on myself is to not select any players on entry level contracts. Everyone else is fair game though. Here is what I have come up with:
LW: Zach Parise, $3,125,000
C: Ryan Getzlaf, $5,325,000
RW: Daniel Alfredsson, $4,875,000
LW: Brooks Laich, $2,066,666
C: Brandon Dubinsky, $1,850,000
RW: Teemu Selanne, $2,625,000
LW: Rene Bourque, $1,350,000
C: Ryan Kesler, $1,750,000
RW: Alexandre Burrows, $2,000,000
LW: Shawn Thornton, $516,666
C: Manny Malholtra, $700,000
RW: Tyler Kennedy, $725,000
D: Niklas Kronwall, $3,000,000
D: Ryan Suter, $3,500,000
D: Mark Stuart, $1,300,000
D: Braydon Coburn, $1,300,000
D: Ian White, $850,000
D: Jay McKee, $800,000
G: Cam Ward, $2,666,666
G: Josh Harding, $1,100,000
Most of the players on the list above are on their second contracts after their entry level contract and signed before they became unrestricted free agents or older players who have taken home town discounts (Alfredsson, Selanne) or players who were forced to sign cheap because of lack of money to go around (Malholtra, McKee).
That lineup is quite strong down the middle (Getzlaf, Dubinsky, Kesler, Malholtra) with some solid wingers and a healthy dose of physical play spread throughout. There really aren’t many, if any, teams with a forward group as good as the above group and the top line of Parise-Getzlaf-Alfredsson would be among the top in the game. The defense is a little thinner as I allocated more money to the forwards but Kronwall-Suter make for a pretty good top pairing and Stuart-Coburn make a good young second pairing. Jay McKee can be a PK specialist who will block a lot of shots and White can do a number of things well and is capable of eating up ice time at a relatively cheap price. The defense is good but certainly not Detroit good or Anaheim from a couple years ago good. In goal you have a quality goalie in Cam Ward (who will not be on this list next year with is sizeable pay increase) who has won a Stanley Cup and a very very good backup in Harding who has starter potential down the road.
Overall, I think this team could compete with any team in the NHL today and might in fact be the Stanley Cup favourite.