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Evan Rodrigues’ contract is proving to be one of the NHL’s best deals

Through 16 games, the Penguins are paying Rodrigues $167k per goal.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals
Evan Rodrigues skates against the Capitals on Nov. 14, 2021.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Through 16 games of the 2021-22 campaign, Evan Rodrigues is tied with Jake Guentzel at the top of the Penguins scoring race (six goals) and trails only Guentzel for the team production lead (11 points). When the Penguins signed Rodrigues to a one-year, $1 million contract extension in July, could they have guessed that they were inking one of the best value contracts in the NHL?

Like any self-respecting hockey fan or executive, I spend a healthy amount of their free time scrolling through the blue-and-white paradise that is CapFriendly.com. One of the best places to waste time is by perusing the website’s breakdown of how much each player is paid for each point they produce.

There you’ll find that Rodrigues’ six goals, on his $1 million salary, make him one of the most efficiently paid players in the NHL. In fact, among non-entry level contracts, his cost of $166,666 per goal is actually the fourth-best value in the League, behind only San Jose’s Jonathan Dahlen, Anaheim’s Troy Terry and Nashville’s Tanner Jeannot.

Even when you add rookies who are off to hot starts on entry-level deals (looking at you, Detroit’s Lucas Raymond, Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras and Ottawa’s Josh Norris) Rodrigues still ranks among the top-ten values in the NHL— and he is the oldest player to be performing so well on such a relatively cheap contract.

Best contract values in the NHL (through Nov. 18, 2021)

Player Age Team Contract type Pay per goal
Player Age Team Contract type Pay per goal
Dahlén, Jonathan 24 SJS Standard $107,142
Terry, Troy 24 ANA Standard $120,833
Raymond, Lucas 19 DET ELC $132,142
Luostarinen, Eetu 23 FLA ELC $149,583
Zegras, Trevor 20 ANA ELC $154,166
Norris, Joshua 22 OTT ELC $154,166
Jeannot, Tanner 24 NSH Standard $160,000
Rodrigues, Evan 28 PIT Standard $166,666
Höglander, Nils 21 VAN ELC $178,333
Wahlstrom, Oliver 21 NYI ELC $178,833
Data from CapFriendly.com

Rodrigues is off to one of the best starts of his career (he currently has six goals in 16 contests— his career high is nine, scored in 74 games with the Sabres in 2018-19) because he is being given the biggest role he’s ever been offered at the NHL level. The former Boston University star has topped 19 minutes of ice time in four of the 16 games this season as injuries and illnesses left opportunities scattered throughout the Penguins’ lineup. Overall, he has averaged a career-high 16:46 minutes per game.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Ottawa Senators
Evan Rodrigues celebrates his goal against the host Ottawa Senators on Nov. 13, 2021.
Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

All of that combines to give Rodrigues’ contract a sneaky-good value: as of Nov. 19, the 28-year-old is one of the oldest players in the NHL to have so far cost less than $200,000 per goal against the Penguins’ valuable cap space.