The day after Thanksgiving typically marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season, at least for most sane people - though retailers seem to think it begins sometime before Halloween - and with Black Friday deals on the brain, we thought today would be a good day to see which players were the best and worst bargains last season for the Buffalo Sabres.
To accomplish this, we're going to simplify things a bit and simply rate forwards and defensemen on points per dollar of salary, and goaltenders on wins per dollar. Obviously, this doesn't take into account anything except offensive production and team victories, so take this analysis with a heaping spoonful of salt. With that being said, let's check out the best and worst deals on he Sabres as you wait for hour number three in the line at Best Buy.
Best Bargain: Tyler Ennis - $875,000 salary / 34 points = $25,735 per point
As most people would have guessed, the majority of the players leading the points per dollar race were younger players still in their rookie contracts, and the leader of the pack was the dynamic Ennis. The young center proved his worth at the end of last season, lighting the league on fire with linemates Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno, and receiving a very well-deserved raise this offseason to $2,812,500 per year. Repeating his point per dollar value will be near impossible next year (he would need over 100 points to do so at his new salary) but if Ennis can stay healthy, he should be in line for a very productive year.
Worst Bargain: Jochen Hecht - $3,525,000 / 8 points = $440,625 per point
Surprise - it's not Ville Leino! The worst bargain on the Sabres last year was in fact Jochen Hecht, and while it's not quite fair to bestow this award upon him seeing as he missed most of the season due to injury, the Sabres still paid him over $3 million for just four goals and four assists. Hecht is still a UFA, though with his history of head injuries, I'd be surprised to see any team take a flyer on him for any significant amount of money.
Interesting note: Jason Pominville finished third best in points per dollar among players making more than $5 million last year. His 73 points combined with his $5.3 million salary was good for $72,603 per point, trailing only Phil Kessel and Marian Hossa.
Best Bargain: Tyler Myers - $1,300,000 / 23 points = $56,522 per point
Myers is another player whose solid work over the course of his rookie contract earned him a hefty raise for the upcoming
lockout season. His $5.5 million contract will make it impossible to repeat those numbers, but even in a down year, the big blueliner finished not only first among defensemen in points per dollar, but fourth overall amongst all skaters wearing blue and gold.
Worst Bargain: Robyn Regehr - $4,020,000 / 5 points = $804,000 per point
Regehr wasn't signed for his offensive prowess, but a mere five points is a bad season even by his modest standards - he usually averages between 15-20 points per season. Regehr was not only the worst value on the Sabres, he was one of the worst across the league, finishing in the bottom 15 of all players in points per dollar. He won't be quarterbacking the power play anytime soon, but more should be expected offensively from Regehr next year.
Best Bargain: Jhonas Enroth - $675,000 / 8 wins = $84,375 per win
Enroth proved a very capable backup this year filling in for Miller while the starter was injured, which is something the Sabres haven't had since the days of Martin Biron. He's a good value for a backup, but he is entering the last year of his contract, so it will be interesting to watch what the team decides to do with him at the end of next season.
Worst Bargain: Ryan Miller - $6,250,000 / 31 wins = $201,613 per win
Miller's contract has always been a sticking point for many fans, and while he is remarkably consistent in terms of wins per year, Miller hasn't shown the dominance one would expect from any player making over $6 million (aside from his Vezina trophy-winning performance in 2009-10, of course.) Still, he's the Sabres biggest name in terms of star power and has proven capable of carrying a team on his back for extended stretches. Miller has two more years left on his current deal.
Thanks to Bang4YourPuck.com for helping with the math in this article.