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Who are the best ‘bang for the buck’ NHL players?

The annual Forbes.com "Business of Hockey" package was released this week, presenting its usual mix of incredible financial facts (the Leafs, Rangers and Canadiens posted a higher combined profit than the rest of the League combined) and harbingers of doom about the NHL's next bit of collective bargaining:

The league's salary cap, set at 57% of revenue, is too high for some teams to be profitable . As a result, expect the National Hockey League to undergo a cantankerous labor negotiations when the owners and players union begin to hammer our a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the current six-year deal that expires in September . The NHL must move much closer to the 48% model the NFL agreed to before this season or the 50-50 revenue split National Basketball Association's owners and players recently agreed to.

Oh, good, a cap rollback and monkeying with revenues. There is nothing to fear except Fehr himself …

But there's another facet to the Forbes study that's always worth a look: the NHL's best value players. The guys who produce numbers on the stat sheet that eclipse the numbers in their cap hits.

So who are the best "bang for the buck" players in the NHL? And which players on your team do you consider to be the greatest value players?

The Forbes list of the top bang-for-the-buckers. Please note that the numbers — both fiscal and hockey-related — are based on the 2010-11 season. Obviously, some contracts and performances have changed dramatically this season. Also, rookie contracts weren't included.

Click on the cost-per-point figures to see the Forbes analysis for each one.

Player Cost-Per-Point
Clarke MacArthur(notes), Toronto Maple Leafs $26,937
Alex Tanguay(notes), Calgary Flames $31,024
Keith Yandle(notes), Phoenix Coyotes $35,536
Jussi Jokinen(notes), Carolina Hurricanes $39,552
Teemu Selanne(notes), Anaheim Ducks $42,929
Brandon Dubinsky(notes), New York Rangers $45,898
Loui Eriksson(notes), Dallas Stars $45,924
Martin St. Louis(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning $46,739
Nikolai Kulemin(notes), Toronto Maple Leafs $46,923
Matt Moulson(notes), New York Islanders $48,047

Several of these players are on new contracts since last season:

Moulson signed a 3-year deal worth $3.133 million annually; MacArthur parked himself in a new deal worth $3.25 million annually; Selanne's contract went from $3.25 million to $4 million; Yandle's new deal has a $4.75 million base salary this season and carries a $5.25 million cap hit; Jokinen's deal went from $1.7 million annually to $3 million annually; and Marty St. Louis has a new deal that pays him $5.5 million per season.

So much of this "value player" list involves low-wage players singing for their supper before signing a huge new contract.

From Tom Van Riper of Forbes.com, a reminder about the value of offense:

The top 100 scorers in the league last year earned an average of $4.25 million per man, 85% more than the overall average salary of $2.3 million.

Players who might make this list next season? Radim Vrbata(notes) of the Phoenix Coyotes, who has 21 points in 23 games and makes $3 million. Kris Versteeg(notes) of the Florida Panthers is on a torrid scoring pace and makes $3.038 million, in his walk year. Pascal Dupuis(notes) of the Pittsburgh Penguins has 20 points and makes $1.5 million.

As a Devils fan, my value player is a no-brainer: Petr Sykora(notes) has 11 points and is making $650,000 this season.

Who is the 'bang-for-the-buck' player on your team?

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