It’s hard to think of a better value player in the NHL last season than Michael Grabner. Signed to a two-year contract worth just $1.65M per season in the summer of 2016, Grabner went on to have a resurgent first year for the New York Rangers, scoring 27 goals. That was enough to place him in second on the squad, just one shy of Chris Kreider’s 28.
Before signing in New York, Grabner spent the previous season with the Toronto Maple Leafs—the NHL’s worst team (69 points)—after being traded by the New York Islanders in September of 2015. He had just nine goals with the Leafs over a nearly full 80-game season. If you knew nothing about Michael Grabner, you might have questioned what any team saw in a 28-year old player coming off an 18-point season for the worst team in the league. But the Rangers, who have made discount shopping a key element of their free agent strategy for years now, saw more.