• Ryan Lake

Matt Duchene And Jordan Eberle Primed For Big Contracts After First-Round Playoff Performances

As unrestricted free agents Duchene and Eberle are allowed to sign with any club once the new league year starts on July 1. This gives them a lot of leverage in negotiating a new contract since they can create a bidding war for their services. For more on Free Agency and the different statuses of players, check out “How free agency works in the National Hockey League.”

Unrestricted Free Agents in the First Round of Playoffs

PlayerGPGAPTSp/pg+/-Matt Duchene, C, CBJ43471.755Jordan Eberle, C/RW, NYI44261.506Erik Karlsson, SJS70991.29-3Artemi Panarin, LW, CBJ42351.253Anders Lee, LW, NYI41230.755Brock Nelson, C/LW, NYI43030.751Joe Thornton, C, SJS61340.67-1Joe Pavelski, C/RW, SJS72240.57-3Justin Williams, RW, CAR71340.570Kevin Hayes, C, WPG62130.502Mats Zuccarello, RW, DAL63030.502Gustav Nyquist, LW/RW, SJS70330.432Jake Gardiner, TOR70220.29-2Marcus Johansson, LW, BOS51010.20-4Wayne Simmonds, RW, NSH20000.001Micheal Ferland, LW/RW, CAR30000.00-1Ryan Dzingel, LW/RW, CBJ40000.003Derick Brassard, C/LW, COL20000.00-1

*ranked by P/GP

The first round of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs was unpredictable, exciting, controversial and filled with some great individual performances. The four best players on this list have significantly outperformed everyone else. Matt Duchene scored 7 points (3G, 4A) in the first round for a points per games played average of 1.75. Jordan Eberle comes in second on the list with 6 points (4G, 2A) for a P/GP of 1.50. Erik Karlsson comes in third on the list having produced at a 1.29 P/GP rate., Artemi Panarin comes in fourth with a 1.25 P/GP rate.

Three of the top four players also helped their teams sweep their first-round opponent. Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks had to go to overtime in game 7 to move past the Vegas Golden Knights.

The first step a player and his agent take when they sit down with teams to negotiate a contract is to determine the players market value. A multitude of factors go into this process; however, it usually boils down to the players past performance. A player’s agent and the team offering a contract will look to find players that have played for roughly the same amount of time and who have performed similarly to determine how much a particular player is worth.

It has been reported that before the start of the playoffs Panarin was seeking a deal work $10-11 million per season. A contract at this level would make Panarin one of the top-paid players in the league. The fact that Panarin is having an excellent playoff’s will only help bolster his bargaining power. The same is true of Erik Karlsson.

Duchene and Eberle could benefit the most from their strong playoff performances. Duchene is in the last year of a five year $30 million deal, and Eberle is finishing up a six-year $36 million contract. Both deals are worth an annual average value (“AAV”) of $6 million. In fact, whichever player signs a new deal first between Duchene and Eberle could set the market for the other player.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6331″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Both Eberle and Duchene are 28 years old and have played in a similar number of games in their careers. Duchene has performed better in the regular season, but until this year Eberle had played in more playoff games. If you look at the stats below, you can see how these players may be compared against each other.

Regular season

GPGAPTSp/pg+/-Duchene10 yrs7272323155470.75-86Eberle9 yrs6662092694780.72-49

Playoffs*

GPGAPTSp/pg+/-Duchene3 yrs12410131.082Eberle2 yrs174480.470

*Through the first round of the 2019 Playoffs.

As you can see from the stats above, these players have performed relatively similarly. It is important to note that both Eberle and Duchene have gathered most of their playoff points this year. Of Duchene’s 13 playoff points 7 of them occurred in the 2019 playoffs. Eberle scored 6 of his 8 career playoff points this year.

Entering the playoffs, it was widely rumored that Duchene was looking for a deal in the $8-9 million per season range. If Duchene and Eberle can continue their strong playoff performances, they both may be able to drive their market value even higher.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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