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Diving Into the NEFHL Bargain Bin

What do four Golden Knights, a Soviet defector, and Cam motherf’ing Atkinson have in common?

Together, they form the short list of the best bang-for-your-buck contracts in the NEFHL.

In order to determine which players fit this bill, I devised the following simple criteria:

  • They must make less than $1,000,000 (and are not currently on an ELC).
  • The average of their PA, PC, and SC ratings must be greater than 70.

Based only on these two basic criteria, only 6 active NEFHL players make the cut.

Below is the full list which includes each player’s positional rank based on the three aforementioned rating categories, along with their aggregate positional rank based on the average of those same three categories(PA/PC/SC):


The first thing that pops out is that the list is dominated by players from the NHL’s expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights. It should come as no surprise that multiple players experienced huge boosts in their counting numbers after being given a fresh start on the Strip last season. More opportunity equates to better numbers, naturally, and all of these players benefitted greatly from that, experiencing career years across the board. Jonathan Marchessault leads the pack, boasting both the highest average SC/PA/PC rating of all 6 players listed above at a whopping 82 AVG, along with the lowest salary, earning himself only a meager $600,000 for his troubles this season. Though of course, an argument could also be made for Wild Bill Karlsson being the best bargain out there. Wild Bill boasts the highest AOV of all 6 players, and is the only player on the list to eclipse the vaunted 80 AOV plateau. Rounding out the list in 5th spot is Karlsson and Marchessault’s NHL linemate, Reilly Smith, along with their Vegas teammate Erik Haula, who rates as the 6th best bargain league-wide. NEFHL GMs should take note of this phenomena with Seattle expansion looming.

Coming in at fourth is another player who finds his name listed in large part due to unusual circumstances. Evgeni Dadonov played a total of 55 NHL games between 2009 and 2012, before returning home to star for SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. Last season he decided to give the North American game one more shot, and fans in Florida were the major benefactors. Dadonov tallied 28 goals, and 65 points in only 74 games for the NHL’s Panthers, and seeing as this (NEFHL) season he is still honouring the final year of the 4 year $725,000 deal he signed way back in 2012, it’s no wonder how he found his way onto the list of best bargains in the league.

Perhaps it reasons then, that the best bargain in the league is actually the only name on the list who does not find himself there due in large part to unusual circumstances. Cam Atkinson is the final name listed, ranking as the second best bargain in the NEFHL. Atkinson signed his current 4 year $813,750 (Mike, wtf?!) deal back in 2015, coming off a respectable, albeit unspectacular season in which he tallied 22 goals and 40 points in 78 games. Since then his ratings have increased steadily almost every year, and this summer he’s poised to make the Sens fork over what they owe in arrears, currently sitting at 35 goals and 59 points in only 60 games this NHL season.