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Numbers Game: NHL Trade Value, Top 25

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Scott Cullen
8/21/2008 3:25:53 AM
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In Tuesday's column, I set out the parameters for ranking the Top 50 NHL players in terms of trade value.

After listing numbers 50 through 26 in the first installment, there's little need for more preamble before getting right into the top 25.

#25
Player: Miikka Kiprusoff
Position: G
Team: Calgary Flames
Age: 31
Contract Expires: 2014
Salary Cap Hit: $5.833M
Comment: His numbers have declined every year he's been in Calgary, but Kiprusoff has won 121 games over the last three seasons and is still in the upper echelon of NHL goaltenders.

#24
Player: Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Position: G
Team: Anaheim Ducks
Age: 31
Contract Expires: 2011
Salary Cap Hit: $6.0M
Comment: Not as durable as some of the other top goaltenders, but Giguere is an elite puck stopper who has proven to be at his best when the chips are down in the postseason.

#23
Player: Roberto Luongo
Position: G
Team: Vancouver Canucks
Age: 29
Contract Expires: 2010
Salary Cap Hit: $6.75M
Comment: Front and centre in the discussion of the game's best goaltenders, but limited playoff experience and a contract that ends in a couple of seasons prevents Luongo from earning higher placement.

#22
Player: Jason Spezza
Position: C
Team: Ottawa Senators
Age: 25
Contract Expires: 2015
Salary Cap Hit: $7.0M
Comment: One of the game's most prolific scorers, Spezza is undoubtedly going to have tremendous career scoring numbers, yet he still needs to work on his all-around game to reach the next level.

#21
Player: Martin Brodeur
Position: G
Team: New Jersey Devils
Age: 36
Contract Expires: 2012
Salary Cap Hit: $5.2M
Comment: A veritable senior citizen for this list, Brodeur still has four more years on his current deal and his numbers over the past two seasons (2.17 GAA, .921 SVPCT) have been among the best of his certain Hall of Fame career.

#20
Player: Zach Parise
Position: RW
Team: New Jersey Devils
Age: 24
Contract Expires: 2011 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $3.125M
Comment: A rising star who already has back-to-back seasons of more than 30 goals and 60 points, to say nothing of his cut-rate contract this early in his career.

#19
Player: Nicklas Backstrom
Position: C
Team: Washington Capitals
Age: 20
Contract Expires: 2010 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $2.4M
Comment: After a 69-point rookie season, the skilled Swedish playmaker sure looks like he could have 100-point potential in the not-too-distant future.

#18
Player: Nathan Horton
Position: RW
Team: Florida Panthers
Age: 23
Contract Expires: 2013
Salary Cap Hit: $4.0M
Comment: Already has back-to-back seasons with 82 games, 62 points and a plus-15 rating, which is impressive in its own right, let alone doing it for a subpar Panthers team.

#17
Player: Mike Green
Position: D
Team: Washington Capitals
Age: 22
Contract Expires: 2012 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $5.25M
Comment: Turned in a spectacular 2007-2008 season, emerging as possibly the most electrifying young offensive defenceman in the game.

#16
Player: Patrick Kane
Position: RW
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Age: 19
Contract Expires: 2010 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $3.725M
Comment: Diminutive playmaker made a seamless transition to the NHL, putting up 72 points as a rookie, and looks like he'll be a big-time scorer for many years.

#15
Player: Eric Staal
Position: C
Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Age: 23
Contract Expires: 2009 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $5.0M
Comment: Hit 100 points as a 21-year-old and hasn't reached those heights since, but it's hard to get too critical after 113 goals over the last three seasons.

#14
Player: Mike Richards
Position: C
Team: Philadelphia Flyers
Age: 23
Contract Expires: 2020
Salary Cap Hit: $5.75M
Comment: In the course of one season, Richards went from a promising young checking centre to face of the Flyers franchise, scoring better than a point per game. His reward? A new 12-year contract.

#13
Player: Anze Kopitar
Position: C
Team: Los Angeles Kings
Age: 21
Contract Expires: 2009 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $956K
Comment: Has exceptionally rare skill level for his size and is already pushing a point-per-game even though he doesn't have an ideal supporting cast in L.A.

#12
Player: Henrik Lundqvist
Position: G
Team: New York Rangers
Age: 26
Contract Expires: 2014
Salary Cap Hit: $6.875M
Comment: One of the real up-and-comers between the pipes, Lundqvist has a 2.27 goals against average and .917 save percentage in three NHL seasons.

#11
Player: Dany Heatley
Position: LW
Team: Ottawa Senators
Age: 27
Contract Expires: 2014
Salary Cap Hit: $7.5M
Comment: 141 goals and a plus-93 rating in three seasons with the Senators.

#10
Player: Jonathan Toews
Position: C
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Age: 20
Contract Expires: 2010 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $2.8M
Comment: Immensely respected already as a leader and two-way player, Toews' rookie season was undermined by injury, but he still stands as the best in class.

#9
Player: Dion Phaneuf
Position: D
Team: Calgary Flames
Age: 23
Contract Expires: 2014
Salary Cap Hit: $6.5M
Comment: Ferocious and physically intimidating, Phanuef's point and penalty minute totals have gone up in each of his three NHL seasons.

#8
Player: Joe Thornton
Position: C
Team: San Jose Sharks
Age: 29
Contract Expires: 2011
Salary Cap Hit: $7.2M
Comment: There's no denying his point production (335 in the last three seasons), yet questions linger about his continued lack of sustained playoff success.

#7
Player: Vincent Lecavalier
Position: C
Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
Age: 28
Contract Expires: 2020
Salary Cap Hit: $6.875M
Comment: Appeared ready to challenge for best player in the game status before the Lightning's tailspin last season took the wind out of his sails. With a better supporting cast, and a career contract in his pocket, Lecavalier will be better this year.

#6
Player: Jarome Iginla
Position: RW
Team: Calgary Flames
Age: 31
Contract Expires: 2013
Salary Cap Hit: $7.0M
Comment: Scored a career-high 98 points and hit 50 goals for the second time in his career in 2007-2008. Few, if any, can match his toughness at such a high talent level.

#5
Player: Pavel Datsyuk
Position: C
Team: Detroit Red Wings
Age: 30
Contract Expires: 2014
Salary Cap Hit: $6.7M
Comment: More than just a magician with the puck, Datsyuk has proven he can get the job done in the playoffs and he's improved dramatically as an all-around player.

#4
Player: Ryan Getzlaf
Position: C
Team: Anaheim Ducks
Age: 23
Contract Expires: 2013
Salary Cap Hit: $5.325M
Comment: Immensely gifted young pivot who has a contract that should prove to be a bargain if he even comes close to reaching his potential.

#3
Player: Evgeni Malkin
Position: C
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Age: 21
Contract Expires: 2014
Salary Cap Hit: $8.7M (when extension starts; 2009-2010)
Comment: When Sidney Crosby was injured, Malkin proved that he's every bit the kind of franchise player that every NHL team covets.

#2
Player: Sidney Crosby
Position: C
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Age: 21
Contract Expires: 2013
Salary Cap Hit: $8.7M
Comment: This is no attempt to impugn the abilities of a guy who has 294 points in 213 games but, coming off an injury-marred season and with a shorter contract, Sid's left to a heartbreaking No. 2 on the inaugural value list.

#1
Player: Alexander Ovechkin
Position: LW
Team: Washington Capitals
Age: 23
Contract Expires: 2021
Salary Cap Hit: $9.538M
Comment: 163 goals and 310 points in three seasons, combined with a contract that will keep him in D.C. through 2021, makes Ovechkin the premier asset in the game today.

Scott Cullen can be reached at scullen@tsn.ca 

Alexander Ovechkin (Photo: Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Greg Fiume/NHLI via Getty Images)
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