When teams go into free agent frenzy each season, their boards are filled with superstar names and dream scenarios. “If we could only get..” say the fans, filling out possible lineups and trying out the squads in their favorite hockey simulator. Millions and millions of dollars are spent bringing in players who are expected to lead the team.
It’s the ones who don’t earn millions that we’ll take a look at here though; the players who barely got an NHL contract but are still providing solid results early on. Here are some of the best deals of the offseason, a dozen games in.
Jon Marchessault (FLA): 13GP-7G-6A-13P, $750,000
With 13 points in 13 games, Marchessault is the biggest story out of Florida these days. Skating alongside Jaromir Jagr and Alexander Barkov will help anyone, but he’s been effective nonetheless. The diminutive forward scored just 18 points for the Lightning in 2015-16 but is sure to blow by that this season. More upside for Florida, as they have the 25-year old for another year.
Matt Cullen (PIT): 12GP-3G-6A-9P, $1,000,000
Cullen hasn’t seemed to slow down any after another long season with the cup champions. Suiting up for 106 games between the regular season and playoffs, he keeps showing that even at 40 he can be a positive contributor in the NHL. Off to a great start, Cullen has a shot of surpassing the 32 points he put up last season, which seemed impossible coming into the year. Even if he doesn’t get 16 goals once again, he’s obviously a big part of the Penguins this season.
Michael Grabner (NYR): 13GP-7G-3A-10P, $1,650,000
How does a 29-year old, former 34 goal scorer only get a deal which pays $1.65MM per season? Score only 31 points in two seasons and establish yourself as a penalty kill-only type player. While Grabner isn’t expected to be that 34-goal man anymore, he’s off to a blistering start in New York and will almost surely post his first double-digit goal year since 2013-14. The Rangers have him for another year at the low price.
Dennis Seidenberg (NYI): 13GP-4G-4A-8P, $1,000,000
After being bought out from the remainder of his deal, Seidenberg had to look for a deal in a good situation to try and rebuild his value. At 35, he’s showing that he’s not done yet. The German defender has been logging almost 20 minutes a night for the Islanders and has been an effective even-strength player, something that couldn’t always be said about him. Four goals is already the most he’s scored since 2012-13, and he’s on track to contribute at least 20 points for the first time since 2011-12.