Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who's Going to Parlay a Big Playoff to a Big Payday?

I find myself starting these types of posts without any clear indication where I'm going with it; just a question I want to know the answer to.  So I figure; if in all my glory I'm curious enough to sit down and start blathering away about it, then there's got to be someone else out there who's wondering the same thing.

So after watching last night's throwdown, I started wondering, what guys are going to paid for a relatively decent playoff showing?  I guess that means RFAs who blossomed, mid-season acquisitions with a career resurgence, or maybe the Druce-types who explode come playoff time.  We'll find out.  So, boom; let's go.

Sean Bergenheim, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning
How fortuitous of Mr. Bergenheim, him of 14 regular season goals and 29 regular season points, to suddenly turn into Steven Stamkos.  With 8 postseason goals (currently leading the playoffs), you can bet that the 27 year old Bergenheim is going to get a hefty raise, and term, from the $700,000 1 year deal he signed last Summer.

Joel Ward, RW, Nashville Predators
Contract years make guys do crazy awesome things.  Joel Ward was no exception during the Predators playoff run.  Coming up on the final moments of his 2 year, $3 million (total) contract, Ward went 10 goals, 29 points during the regular season.  Playoffs? He played over a PPG pace, leading the Preds in goals, assists, plus/minus, and power play goals; scoring 13 points in 12 games (7 goals, 6 assists).  The 30 year old had one more chance to get paid, he did what he needed to do.  Now if only he would've had a little help.

Ville Leino, LW, Philadelphia Flyers 
It's hard to believe that Leino was only making $800,000 this year as is; add in a solid, not spectacular playoff run (how the hell was Leino barely averaging more ice time than Scott Hartnell?) and he's bound to get a raise, like a 200% raise.

Marc-Andre Gragnani, D, Buffalo Sabres
If there was one guy this playoff season that you were like "Who the shit is that guy?" It was probably Marc-Andre Gragnani, who ran with his chance after some inauspicious play from Sabres blueliners.  Making a mere $500,000 he led the Sabres in playoff points and assists, coming in with 7 in 7.  Looks like he'll be in the blue and gold permanently next season, with a bigger paycheck.

Eric Brewer, D, Tampa Bay Lightning
Eric Brewer's time in St. Louis was obviously coming to an end.  Riddled with injuries and "overpaid", not to mention the increased roles for Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk towards the end of the year, Brewer was jettisoned off to Tampa without hesitation.  With 6 points in 13 playoff games, and a towering presence in front of Dwayne Roloson, there's a chance Brewer gets one more shot at some cash, definitely not $4.25 million again, but enough to feed his family (if he had like 800 kids).

Ray Emery, G, Anaheim Ducks
Although he couldn't save the Ducks from the surprising Predator's run, he did get the Ducks to wear they were after some seriously surprising play.  He won't really be needed in Anaheim once Lucille Austero, rather, Jonas Hiller, returns from vertigo, but the late season run he pulled together will be enough to get him signed to something greater than a $500 K contract. 

Scott Hannan, D, Washington Capitals
A lot went wrong in the series against Tampa Bay, but it can't really fall on the shoulders of the 32 year old Hannan.  Coming in with the 2nd most TOI of any Capital in the playoffs, as well as providing that needed physical edge on the blueline, Hannan proved his worth to his new mates.  Unfortunately, Hannan won't be making $4.5 million next season, but if he would've stayed in Colorado, he'd be making a hell of a lot less next year than he's set to now.  I guarantee it.

"How many times do I have to tell you? Backcheck...douche"
Jason Arnott, C, Washington Capitals
Take Jason Arnott out of the uber-disciplined Lemaire regime and throw him into a disheveled, lackadaisical  mess like the midseason Washington Capitals and what do you get?  Outside of a crying Alexander Semin we saw a Capital turnaround into the Eastern Conference champions.  While Arnott proved he still had plenty in the tank, and plenty of clout in the locker room, he'll definitely be signing, somewhere, next year, with a bigger paycheck than if he would've stayed with the Devils.  Yeah; he'll take a cut from the $4.5 million he made last year, but it'll be worth it.

So what do you think?  Good mix here I'd say.  We've got the role players who blossomed under the pressure, vagabonds who made good, some young'ns who're gonna get bigger raises, and the wily vets who're gonna get a little more out of that last contract than they would have otherwise.

Hell maybe I'm writing this too early and a guy like Tanner Glass or Kent Huskins is going to go buck wild and dominate for 8 straight games.  Doubt it, but you never know.

We'll revisit this.  Maybe. Next year.  Maybe July 1st.
Fact: BanginPanger is not meant as an insult to the one and only Darren Pang, nor do I claim to be him. The views and opinions presented on BanginPanger are of my own, and no other namesake of the site, the NHL, Buffalo Sabres, Washington Capitals, or anyone else.