The six most cost-effective players in the NHL this season

Tomas Fleischmann (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The salary cap era has made it incredibly important to find players who can contribute offensively while not breaking the bank. Usually, these players fill in bottom-six roles and eat up the minutes not reserved for the top-line players. Put it this way: it’s not often you find a winger making league minimum playing on the top power play unit.

But every so often, a team will find a steal of a deal. Be it a veteran coming into camp late or a player coming off their entry-level deal that is just hitting their stride, the cost-effective players are the ones that can help make or break a season. The cap flexibility doesn’t hurt, either.

Before we build the most cost-effective roster possible though, some guidelines. First, the players on this list have to have at least eclipsed the 10-point plateau. As nearly every team is closing in on the 20-game mark, the truest value players will be chipping in a point every other game while taking up a fraction of the cap. Second, in order to cut out the players on cheap deals by virtue of being on entry-level contracts, only players on standard player contracts have been included. So even though Nathan MacKinnon is tearing it up for Colorado, the Avalanche playmaker won’t be on this cost-effective list.

Here are the six players providing their clubs with the most bang for their buck: Read more

Power Rankings: Rangers looking to hang 10 (and 11) in Florida trip

Ken Campbell
New York Rangers  (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first time the New York Rangers won 10 games in a row, it was 1939-40 and they went on to win the Stanley Cup. The second time they accomplished the feat, it was 1972-73 and they lost in five games in the semifinal to the Chicago Black Hawks.

The Rangers will try for the third 10-game winning streak in franchise history Thursday night when they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning. In fact, when the Rangers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 Sunday night, it marked a full month since the last time they’ve been defeated in regulation time.

The Rangers have been dominant at times, at other times just good enough to win games. But the bottom line is they’re winning them and find themselves earning top spot in’s weekly Power Rankings. Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.

1. New York Rangers (2)
2. Dallas Stars (3)
3. New Jersey Devils (7)
4. Montreal Canadiens (1)
5. Chicago Blackhawks (13)
6. Los Angeles Kings (10)
7. Nashville Predators (9)
8. Minnesota Wild (8)
9. Washington Capitals (4)
10. St. Louis Blues (5)

Are there flaws in John Klingberg’s game? Of course there are. Does he legitimately deserve to be among the early favorites for the Norris Trophy? You bet he does…At the GM meetings last week, Devils GM Ray Shero acknowledged his greatest fear going into the season. “Your fear is that you’re going to be terrible,” he said. “And who wants to be terrible? Nobody.” Turns out those fears were unfounded, at least early in the season. You might have questioned the Devils credentials over the weekend, then they went out and beat Chicago on the road and Pittsburgh at home…Carey Price went out and took some shots before Montreal’s morning skate Monday, but there’s still no firm timetable on a return that has now hit the two-week mark…The Kings start a five game road trip through the Eastern Conference in Philadelphia Tuesday night that will take them to American Thanksgiving…Braden Holtby will have had five days between starts, which Mike Vogel of points out is not a great thing, saying Holtby’s numbers are far superior when he’s more busy…Speaking of the GM meetings, David Poile said there he’d be in favor of seeing more scoring. Then his team went out and scored seven goals in two of three games.

11. Colorado Avalanche (30)
12. New York Islanders (21)
13. San Jose Sharks (19)
14. Ottawa Senators (15)
15. Boston Bruins (14)
16. Florida Panthers (26)
17. Toronto Maple Leafs (27)
18. Columbus Blue Jackets (28)
19. Tampa Bay Lightning (17)
20. Arizona Coyotes (25)

A backup goalie and a player allegedly on the trade block are the two players fuelling Colorado’s recent hot streak. Reto Berra has the best save percentage and goals-against average in the NHL and Matt Duchene was named first star of the week after scoring four goals and eight points to lead the Avs to three straight road victories…There’s no reason to think Patrick Marleau will be moved anytime soon, or at least until he loosens up the number of teams to which he’d accept a trade, and as long as he continues being one of their better forwards and scores overtime winners the way he did in Buffalo on the weekend, the Sharks will see value in keeping him around…Kyle Turris, who has been the Senators best forward by a country mile this season, was knocked out Ottawa’s loss to the Rangers Saturday, did not practice Sunday and is questionable for tonight’s game. The Senators also lost backup goalie Andrew Hammond to a head injury in Sunday’s practice…Go ahead, NHL, just rub the salt into Jonathan Bernier’s wound by naming James Reimer the third star of the week…After missing 10 games with a broken bone in his hand, Aleksander Barkov is scheduled to return to the Panthers lineup tonight against Tampa Bay…Even though his team has won two straight, John Tortorella doesn’t want his Blue Jackets players looking at the standings. “It’s not pretty right now,” Tortorella told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, “and it’s not the way for us to think.”

21. Pitsburgh Penguins (11)
22. Buffalo Sabres (24)
23. Vancouver Canucks (16)
24. Anaheim Ducks (6)
25. Detroit Red Wings (18)
26. Philadelphia Flyers (22)
27. Carolina Hurricanes (23)
28. Edmonton Oilers (18)
29. Calgary Flames (20)
30. Winnipeg Jets (12)

It has sure taken the Lightning a while to get going this season. They have just nine first-period goals this season…Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian, who has yet to play this season after a mysterious injury in training camp, is getting closer to returning to the lineup. The next step is for him to take part in a morning skate, which the Sabres will have Tuesday before facing the Dallas Stars at home…The Canucks were 4-0-1 on the road before embarking on their current road trip, on which they’ve gone 1-3-1 going into tonight’s game in Montreal…Hey, here’s one possible reason the Ducks have struggles do mightily this season. It might have something to do with the fact that Ryan Getzlaf has zero goals in 13 games this season and Jakob Silfverberg has the same number in 17 games…After scoring a career-high 15 goals last season for the Red Wings, Darren Helm has no goals in 13 games this season…We can only hope and pray that this injury isn’t as painful as it sounds: Over the weekend, the Flyers announced that Mark Streit, their all-round best defenseman, would miss six weeks to recover from surgery on a pubic plate detachment…One bright spot for the Oilers has been the play of Leon Draisaitl, who must really, really hate Oklahoma City. Since his call-up, he’s scored five goals and 13 points and is on pace to score 117 points in 72 games this season. He won’t, but it’s fun to dream…In a statement that ranks right up there with “Water is wet,” Jets coach had this to say after practice Sunday, hours after his team was skunked 7-0 by Nashville for it’s fourth straight loss: “We’re not a confident group right now.”

Report: League to review Zack Smith’s hit on Derek Stepan

Dhiren Mahiban

According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reviewing Zack Smith’s hit on Derek Stepan to see whether it warrants a hearing.

Smith hit Stepan, who didn’t have the puck, in front of the Rangers bench at 15:37 of the second period. The Sens’ forward was assessed a minor penalty for interference for the hit.

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Rumor Roundup: Marleau will have to widen list if he wants out of San Jose

Patrick Marleau. (Getty Images)

A recent report claiming San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau would agree to be dealt to the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers attracted swift reaction from several NHL pundits.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman (who first broke the Marleau trade rumor story), TSN’s Bob McKenzie,’s Allan Muir, and the San Jose Mercury News’ Mark Purdy doubt the long-time Sharks star would be dealt to California rivals like Anaheim and Los Angeles. Purdy believes Sharks GM Doug Wilson would never ship Marleau to those clubs unless the deal was so overwhelming he simply couldn’t refuse. Don’t hold your breath expecting that deal to materialize.

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Blues rookie Colton Parayko bails out Brian Elliott, robs J.T. Miller with stick save

Jared Clinton
Colton Parayko's diving save on J.T. Miller (via Streamable)

St. Louis Blues rookie defenseman Colton Parayko has done everything that has been asked of him this season. Through 16 games, the 22-year-old blueliner has been a staple of the top-four on the blueline, has managed five goals and 11 points and has played steady minutes on the power play.

But Parayko is contributing on the defensive side of the puck, as well. And while his role since the return of Kevin Shattenkirk has been more limited, Parayko found a way to impress Thursday night, this time using his stick for something other than putting up points.

Seconds into the second frame, with the Blues already trailing 3-1, with goaltender Brian Elliott down and out, Parayko found himself chasing New York Rangers winger J.T. Miller to a loose puck. Miller beat Parayko and was able to get a shot off, but the freshman rearguard laid out and made a miraculous save with the shaft of his stick: Read more

Lundqvist robs Steen with paddle stop, has another save of the year candidate

Jared Clinton
Henrik Lundqvist's stick stop on Alexander Steen (via Streamable)

This is getting crazy already. Not even one quarter of the way through the season, New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist has made at least four or five saves that could stand as the save of the year. His latest robbery? A stick stop on St. Louis’ Alexander Steen.

Not even five minutes into the contest, Rangers center Derick Brassard found the back of the net behind Blues goaltender Jake Allen to give New York an early 1-0 lead. But less than one minute later, with St. Louis attacking, the Blues had a shot to tie it up thanks to a puck that fell fortuitously onto the tape of Steen. With Lundqvist down in his butterfly trying to block the shot from the blueline, he watched as Steen scooped the puck and turned to fire it into the empty net to Lundqvist’s right. And then the stick came down: Read more