Let’s face it: we all love a bargain.
What we each individually construe as being great value is, of course, unique to us, but when it comes to analyzing value in hockey, the rules are a whole bunch more straightforward.
Goals. That’s what wins hockey games and separates success from defeat and glory from despair.
All goals are created equally, but the players that fire the puck into the net are valued differently based upon a number of prejudices that we may have against certain teams or styles.
But putting all that to one side, we can evaluate the best goalscorers in the NHL using one simple calculation: the number of goals scored per dollar spent.
With that in mind, we can pretty much definitively say that these are the best value players in the sport.
Derek Grant (Anaheim Ducks)
What a remarkable career turnaround for Derek Grant in 2019-20.
A pro for the best part of a decade, Grant has never completed a full-time season before, and yet here he stands as one of the best value goalscorers in the NHL.
The Anaheim man has scored eleven times in 38 starts this season, which when you factor in his affordable $700k salary shows just what a bargain he has been for the Ducks.
Grant is on course to deliver career-high numbers this term, and he could be set for a mammoth pay rise given his supreme value status.
Tyler Ennis (Ottawa Senators)
While he hasn’t hit the heights many expected of him after a fine start to his career at the Buffalo Sabres, Tyler Ennis was handed a career lifeline by the Ottawa Senators and boy has he taken it so far.
With thirteen goals already this season, the 30-year-old will surely at least match his previous best haul of 21, and with 17 assists to throw into the mix it is clear that Ennis – on an $800k salary remember – is delivering big time for his new employer.
At around $60,000 per goal, he is paying the Senators back in spades.
Noel Acciari (Florida Panthers)
Securing Noel Acciari’s signature for little over $500k a season was a masterstroke from the Panthers, and they have been reaping full reward in 2019-20.
His 18-goal haul represents outstanding value for such a ‘meagre’ payout, and what’s more he has a happy knack of finding winning goals – five of his tally have led to the Florida outfit taking the spoils. And that has given them an outside shot at winning the Atlantic Division, which is a fact confirmed by a glance at the latest NHL betting odds.
#FlaPanthers skaters now have an NHL-high 5 hat tricks this season, matching the franchise record set in 1999-00:
Mark Pysyk – Feb. 3, 2020
Frank Vatrano – Jan. 21, 2020
Noel Acciari – Dec. 20, 2019
Noel Acciari – Dec. 16, 2019
Mike Hoffman – Oct. 5, 2019
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) February 4, 2020
The secret to his improved success is, actually no secret: Acciari has doubled his shooting percentage from a career average of 12.8% to a seasonal high of 24.3%.
Blake Coleman (New Jersey Devils)
Despite playing for a rather mediocre New Jersey Devils team, Blake Coleman is proving his quality and then some.
The 28-year-old has netted 19 times already this season, which isn’t half bad when you note that his previous best for a whole campaign is 22.
Add into the mix eight assists and Coleman is a value play of some measure, and with a career-high shot percentage this season he is finally coming of age as an NHL pro.
When we talk about goalscoring value plays in the NHL, these guys are simply unbeatable.