What’s good, everyone? I do a lot of writing elsewhere, so I thought I’d jump in on contributing some media. This is my first go at it, so hang on tight. Surely, I’ll mess up somewhere. I’ve seen some chatter about the expensive contracts, but I wanted to identify what I perceive as each team’s best-value contract. Being a third of the way through the season seemed like a good time for this since teams are starting to form identities. Am I qualified to decide this? Probably not. But, I did manage playoff teams the past two seasons, and I like to think I know about 4 total things about hockey. You were not considered for this list if you are a free contract. You also were not considered if you are an amateur that earned an NHL bid and were, presumably, sent down for free. Let’s get into it. Eastern Atlantic WBS Penguins – @xBBoeser (RD) 1.5m – It’s a bird penguin, it’s a plane! No, its just Boeser coming to take the puck away from you. This homie is leading all defensemen with 39 takeaways through 3 weeks. He’s also racked up 33 hits and 8 points in his 9 games. Seems good. We should also acknowledge that 7-1-1 record because that’s pretty neat. Will he keep this torrid pace up? We’ll see, but a 1.5m tag for his services looks mighty fine right now. Charlotte Checkers - @skyre5 (C) 5.25m – I remember seeing someone in the shout box asking how he’s only at 5.25m. I’d agree. This may be an expensive contract, but so far it’s paying off. He hasn’t lost yet, and he’s averaging 3 ppg. There hasn’t been a game in which he hasn’t scored at least once. He hasn’t been to the sin bin yet, either. Oh, and they locked him up for 3 seasons and gave him the paid agm tag. Very wise. Bridgeport Sound Tigers - @SW-Bobcats9 (G) 500k – This team is 12-2-1 in one-goal-games. I had a hard time picking between, presumably, one of their top pair defenders (Milla/P-Po) and Bobcats. But how can you not pick the guy sporting a sv% of 86.8 and a gaa of 1.73 considering that 15 of their 27 games have been decided by a single goal? They’ve won 80% of those one-goalers and the tendy is a big part of it, like holy biscuits. Lehigh Valley Phantoms - @Jason_23 (RW) 500k – Who amongst you let this guy go for 500k? Who didn’t do their homework? He hasn’t been in LG since season 7, and Phantoms management probably knew they had a good one. He’s currently 8-1 and leading the league in scoring. He’s a balanced player boasting 17 g 17 a, and he makes the most of his shots with a 38.6 shooting %. He was also a player of the week for week 1. Providence Bruins - @Ether_mR (LD) 1m – I really like seeing other defensemen succeed. Ether here sports a 6-0 record on a (currently) non-playoff team. He’s been around for a while and shown time and time again he’s an asset to every team’s blue line. Also worth noting is his ta/ga ratio of -1. So, he takes care of the puck, or so we can assume. He’s also got 8 points in his 6 games. I think that’s good. Is that good? Springfield Thunderbirds - @TheSlimReaper22 (C) 1.5m – This guy holds a 7-2 record and is currently riding a 6-game winning streak. He is just under 2 ppg, and he wins a little over half his draws. What makes him especially worth his contract is his two-way play. He leads all centers in takeaways with 39, and he places 6th in blocks with 3. That suggests he back-checks effectively and has good defensive awareness. Both of which are desirable qualities in a center. Hartford Wolf Pack - @Speedytdawg88 (G) 1m – On one hand, you have Krilla and Beaverclops accounting for nearly half of this team’s wins. On the other, you have Speedy holding down the fort and putting up a 9-3-1 record. This looks like a very clear #1 and #2 goalie situation here. Speedy gets the best value nod because he has a sparkling gaa of 2.19 and a sv% of 84.3 despite his team giving up the fourth most goals in the East. He’s only allowed 29 of the 81 goals against this team. Hershey Bears - @McLean-16 (RD) 3m – Amongst the others he shares the blue line with, he has the most wins (5) for this “hockey .500” team. He’s also got 11 points in his 9 games, and that’s great production from the back end. He’s also tied for the team lead in +/- at +8. Hard to say he hasn’t justified that 3m price tag and done his share thus far. Eastern North Rochester Americans - @Chel__Legend (C) 1.25m – Ah yes, another Canes fan. I believe the rules state that makes us best friends, even though we don’t really know each other. Anyway, he boasts a current 5-game win streak in which he has accrued 23 points. Safe to say, he’s heating up. His 32 points on the season is good for a tie for 5th in the league. His 62.7% in the face-off dot ranks 5th overall, but 2nd among centers who’ve played all 9 of their games. He only trails @Smitterr in the dot. Laval Rocket - @Mchew89 (RW) 500k – Okay so hear me out. I know this guy is only scoring at a 1.67 ppg pace, but check this. He leads all forwards on the team with 7 wins in 9 games so far. He’s in the final season of a 3-season contract. The previous years he put up respectable totals of 59 and 53 points. Not to mention, he’s Laval’s franchise leader in points (112 in 53 gp) and goals (67 in 53 gp). He’s a model for scoring consistency, and you know exactly what you’re getting with him. Binghamton Devils - @BCNYY02 (G) 500k – JEEZUS. This man has gone full-blown workhorse mode and played 17 of 18 possible games. He’s backstopped 12 of the Devils 14 wins. Among goalies that have started at least 10 games so far, he flexes 4 shutouts, a 1.50 gaa, and an 87.3 sv%. All of those are good for first place. Someone eats his Wheaties every morning, gahdamn! Cleveland Monsters - @llamapen (LD) 500k – This dude hadn’t been in LG since season 4. He returned in season 9 with Winnipeg. Now, he finds himself on the Monsters. With a 7-0-1 record, llama finds himself contributing in over half his team’s wins. He’s scoring at a 0.5 ppg pace, and he’s averaging about 2.5 takeaways a game. Seems steady. Can we talk about the fact that in his AHL career he is 23-1-1 playing LD? Belleville Senators - @Gutta_gun29 (LW) 3.5m – Looks like a preseason acquisition is paying off. He’s justifying his price tag by accounting for half his team’s wins. If he can keep it up, he is on pace 87 points this season. It’d be a new career best for him. An honorable mention goes out to @BarDownBrando who is leading all defensemen in points. It was a tough call between you two. I just don’t think the point pace is sustainable, and 4 of his 5 wins are against .500 or worse teams. But keep reppin’ defenders well, brother. Impressive hot start. Toronto Marlies - @ultimateGamer940 (RD) 500k - Last season, this guy was @xMAssStAtiC- #1 ranked right defender. This season he’s picking up right where he left off. He’s averaging just over 3 hits and just under 4 takeaways per game. He has the best ta/ga ratio in the league at +17 amongst all defensemen. His offensive production is a cool 7 points in 9 games. Keep clamping, brother. It’s clear they’re banking hard on your consistency. Utica Comets - @l0lCorbzzl3l (G) 500k – Ah yes, I claimed this man off of waivers last season, and I’ve been giving him crap for absolutely no reason since then. Seriously though, he always gives us a chance to win. This season, he sports an 83.8 sv%. Also, 3 of his 7 wins are shutouts. He holds the Utica franchise record for save percentage with an 85.01% last season. Not bad for a waiver goalie, eh? Syracuse Crunch - @Dramajonrio (LW) 500k – So, the crunch grabbed this guy in the preseason with the intent of making him paid agm. He gets the nod. Despite the roster turnover for this team early on, he’s earned 5 dubs. He went 3-0 in week 2, and he’s on pace for a respectable 57 points. He has found the score sheet in every game except versus Charlotte. If there’s one thing we can all agree upon, it’s that consistency for 500k is a welcome sight. Western Central Grand Rapids Griffins - @Saucenikov (C) 500k – ye ol’ hybrid forward. He’s a center, and he’s a right wing. At center this season, he’s 2-1-1 with 13 points. At right wing, he’s 1-1 with 8 points. The Griffins are the highest scoring team in the central, and he contributes. He hasn’t played the toughest schedule. Could stay out of the sin bin (16 pim in 6 games) too. But, the argument for his value is the production at both positions and the fact that they got him locked up for 3 seasons. Well done, there. San Antonio Rampage - @ZoGood (RD) 4.25m – If there’s one thing I learned last season, it’s that Smitterr “is the best,” but he doesn’t qualify for this list, so moving on. This top D-pair is sweet. A case could be made for Lunchbox because of his price, but ZoGood is proving that 4.25m is a light price tag for his services. My dude has won 7 of his 9 games, and he currently places 2nd in points among defenders. He’s top 20 in hits, and he averages 3.2 takeaways per game. Great TWD, smart bid. Milwaukee Admirals - @Bardownski69 (RW) 1m – This is really interesting because the Pete-Trae-69 (<--nice) line is 7-2, they’ve combined for 72 points, and all together they only cost 2.25m. That’s more value than some of these solo players. But I’m going with bardownski because he has NHL experience (seasons 7 & 8) under his belt. 1m for a guy who stuck up there for a little while is a good deal. Also interesting to note is that in week one, he scored 9 times but didn’t assist on a goal. There’s value in a guy who knows how to tickle the twine. Manitoba Moose - @Spidr-Man_2009 (C) 1.25m – He’s 6-2-1 and averaging just under 2 points per game. That 61.3% in the faceoff dot is good for 6th among centers who have played two-thirds of their games. He also hasn’t been to the sin bin yet. If I recall, Manitoba and Laval management swapped threads and proceeded to make a trade bringing with them a few of their perceived core players (MattAdoresDanna + NinjaGamer762 ßà realwheels_5 + Spidr-Man_2009). It’s good to see that paying off for Manitoba so far. Iowa Wild - @mikenaughty (LD) 500k – He’s best known this season for being the guy that wrote the tongue in cheek preseason thread about fearing the Wild. So far, I don’t know that people fear the team as a whole, but there’s time for that to change. For Mike himself, he’s contributed to half of his team’s wins. He’s just under a point per game, and he’s averaging just short of 5 hits per game. If he can stay out of the box, and keep the momentum going, his 2-season contract may prove quite sneaky. Chicago Wolves - @Jeown (LD) 500k - Last season during bidding, I had a D spot left and was skimming players. I come across this dude and think to myself, “This guy’s good. I don’t know him, haven’t seen him play, but his name suggests he is.” Does this happen to anyone else? I almost blind-bid him, but I didn’t. Enter, regret. He’s the current owner of a 4-game win streak in which he has put up 8 points. On the season, he’s a point per game. Defensively, he has a balanced 32 hits and 32 takeaways. In his AHL career, he’s 24-8-2 at LD, so the top line potential is there. That’s value. Side note. How have the Wolves already lost 7 games in OT? Sounds like the forwards should go to Home Depot and buy some finish. Rockford Ice Hogs - @superguy1999 (C) 5m – So, what we have here is an entire team that has been struck by blow darts from the third deck. They started hot and then went ice cold. There’s plenty of time to right the ship, though. I remember during bidding someone let out a “yikes” when they saw super’s price tag. It’s very clear he’s proving his worth at over 3 ppg. He scores on a third of his shots, wins a sweet 55.8% of his draws, and he’s staying out of the box. But the team is 2-6-2 in their last 10. This dude needs some help, and I know his management knows that. Texas Stars – @J_durst-8 (C) 500k – The team has only won 7 games, and it’s clear he’s one of the bright spots since he’s claimed 4 of them. This is the most amongst the Stars forwards. I tell ya what, though. This guy is a legend, and his value goes beyond winning on a questionable team. I had “Dirty Durstonov” on the Comets last season, briefly. There was one close game that we ended up losing. During intermission he comes on the mic and goes, “Guys, I’m sorry my mics been muted, I’ve uh, been getting head.” Then his girl starts laughing in the background. He leaves his mic unmuted this time, and IT KEEPS GOING. He’s mostly silent except for “Focusing is tough right now, guys.” Her sound effects are loud and clear. The rest of us are just in disbelief. I hate losing, man, but I swear to god I’ve never so easily laughed off a loss. It was hysterical. So, for 500k, not only is he an easy-going guy that can snag a win, but it may also result in you having to pin a “Please no blowjobs during the game” message to the team discord. Damn, good times. Western Pacific San Jose Barracuda – @Rezhomey (RD) 500k – Wait, wait, wait, wait, WAIT! This man is 10-0 to start the season at 500k? He’s tied for second league-wide with a +25. Cuda players occupy all the top four spots in that regard. Among defensemen, he paces the league with 4 goals so far. He sports an ungodly shooting percentage of 30.8% from the back end. He is tied for second in total points with ZoGood, mentioned above. He ranks fourth in hits with 61. He’s posted a modest 30 takeaways, and he’s only taken 1 minor penalty. I’m calling the cops because Cuda mgmt are thieves for this high-value contract. Stockton Heat - @Julien (LW) 2m – He’s still getting going in the AHL after being drafted 7th overall by the Islanders. But, he’s off to a pretty stellar start by earning 4 wins in 5 tries and averaging 3 ppg. 9 of his 20 total shots have found the back of the net. He also leads the Heat with a +16. He hasn’t played any teams with convincing winning records, but I’m sure he’ll be put to the test soon. It will be interesting to see how his season develops. Bakersfield Condors - @VoltageFusion (LW) 3m – He’s tied with his GM Bobby for best record on the team. In fact, he’s the only non-mgmt forward with more than 4 wins. This strikes me as odd because I look at the roster as see a decent lineup. Seems like they’re missing something, but I’m not sure what it is. And I’m not managing because I don’t want to think too hard about it. Anyway, Voltage is picking up right where he left off last season in regard to wins and points. He’s a guy that’s never seen the CHL, and for 3m, that kind of consistency is always welcome. He’s like a Big Mac. Every time you order one, you know exactly what you’re getting. Tuscon Roadrunners - @daytonsoccer (LD) 750k – Ah yes, the revolving door that is Tuscon. If you include preseason, this team has made 13 trades and we’re only at the 1/3 point of the season. Is that the most? Someone help. With many players not playing for them the whole time, it made it tough to pick a best-value contract. But, here’s Dayton. He’s 3-3 on a sub .500 team. He’s got 8 points in his 6 games. I remember he scouted for me in season 8, but ended up on Moose Jaw. He’s a steady TWD that keeps the play in front of him. But based on this mgmt. team so far, that could mean he gets traded before I’m done writing this article. Who knows? Colorado Eagles - @soca_17 (C) 2.25m - Can someone explain what’s going on over here? I look at the roster and see a handful names that have experienced success, so it’s curious they have a losing record. Is it a chemistry thing? Anyway, soca is doing his part, for he is LG’s 6th ranked center. He accounts for over half of his team’s wins and is collecting a smooth 3 ppg. But what really earns him this spot is his two-way play. He is second among all centers with 34 takeaways. Face offs could use some work, but the puck is going into the net when he plays, and that’s all that matters in the end. San Diego Gulls - @TheShaftDaddy (LW) 500k – The Gulls had the first GM casualty of the season (F to pay respects). Right before the casualty, the previous GM acquired Shaft. Shaft began contributing for his new team right away. He posted a 2-1 record and nearly doubled his point total by posting 11 this past week. Career wise he has an 80-point AHL season to his name. He also got some NHL experience back in season 7. There are a lot of new faces on the Gulls roster this weekend, so lets see if they can put some additional pieces around him. He looks pretty nifty for 500k. Ontario Reign - @Grandpa Jagr (LD) 3.75m – BEHOLD! The best (and only good) contract on the Reign. He’s justified his price so far. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe he is the only original bid by the Reign that boasts a winning record. Jagr has been on the ice in 5 of his team’s 9 wins. He is the only skater on this team to have played all his games and post a positive plus/minus of +1. That’s really impressive considering the Reign are second to last in goals against. I also noticed that his LG picture is of a guy hanging himself. Is that intentional or just a coincidence (lmao)? I’m not sure how you’re doing it, but good luck onward, brother. Well, that’s all for me. To those of you who contribute media more frequently, I tip my cap to you. It’s very clearly a lot of work. Maybe from reading this you noted a guy to watch out for in future matchups. Maybe you jotted down a trade target. Maybe you realized you’ve got a sneaky good player that you didn’t fully appreciate before. I hope you enjoyed the article, bad jokes, and stories. Agree/disagree with my analysis? Comment/roast below. Have a good weekend, ladies and gents.