Managing a salary cap in today's NHL isn't simply about making sure you don't go over—apologies to Mr. Lamoriello—but about making sure you get proper value for your cap expenditures. While I am not going to discuss here what is the right and proper cap hit for someone with Deryk Engelland's skill set, we can talk about who is a relative bargain so far this year and whose salary is an albatross.
Jump with me.
I constructed an extremely rudimentary value measurement that could stand to be refined greatly, but for now we'll just call it Value. Value is defined for this purpose as GVT divided by cap hit to date expressed in millions. So, to take Sidney Crosby as an example, a GVT of 17 divided by a cap hit to date of $5.425806MM gives you about 3.13. I'm positive that someone else has already done this, and there might even be a website dedicated to it, but I haven't found such a thing.
The unquestionable winner in this contest, if you want to call it that, is Dustin Jeffrey, with a score of 26.96. However, he's only played 7 games on his nearly-minimum contract, so his cap hit to date is hilariously low. If we only include people who have been semi-regulars on the team, the scores look a little different.
Penguin Player Bargain Scores
Name GVT Cap Hit Bargain Chris Conner 2.2 245430 8.96 Alex Goligoski 8.6 1143369 7.52 Tyler Kennedy 3.1 452151 6.86 Mark Letestu 2.1 311828 6.73 Ben Lovejoy 2.2 327419 6.72 Kris Letang 14.3 2182796 6.55 Pascal Dupuis 5.1 873118 5.84 Craig Adams 1.7 343011 4.96 Matt Cooke 5.3 1122581 4.72 Maxime Talbot 2.4 654839 3.67 Sidney Crosby 17.0 5425806 3.13 Deryk Engelland 0.9 311828 2.89 Chris Kunitz 5.0 2323118 2.15 Arron Asham 0.9 436559 2.06 Brooks Orpik 4.0 2338710 1.71 Paul Martin 4.3 3118280 1.38 Evgeni Malkin 4.7 5425806 0.87 Michael Rupp 0.3 514516 0.58 Jordan Staal 0.9 2494624 0.36 Zbynek Michalek 0.6 2494624 0.24 Eric Godard 0.0 467742 0.00 Mike Comrie -0.3 311828 -0.96
Now, one must keep in mind that this does not mean that Conner is "better than" Crosby. What you can take from this table are that a) you can see who is overperforming their current salary, and b) there are definite diminishing returns when comparing cost and performance, perhaps even when talking about players of Crosby's caliber.
Small caveat as well: it's a common misconception that time on LTIR lowers a player's cap hit. It does not. The team gets a cap credit under certain circumstances when a player has been on LTIR, but it doesn't actually affect that player's salary cap number. See Cap Geek for more information, under the "How does long-term injured reserve work?" header.