10 Best Returns on Investment

Here at the Sports Forecaster, we are all about data and how those data points work together. Today, we are looking at the 10 best returns on investment so far with most teams having played 15 games (on average).

How is return on investment measured? We are looking for the best points per game and how that compares to the players' current salaries.  For safe measure, we’ve eliminated all players that have not yet played 10 games.

10. Greg Johnston – Anaheim ($250,000)

The 29-year-old left wing had a tremendous season last year, his first as a pro, when he scored 41 points in 79 games. This year in his sophomore season, he has 1 goal and 5 assists so far for 6 points in 15 games. 

9. Jim Cummins – Buffalo ($300,000)

The 23-year-old rookie registered 1 point in 4 games last year in Chicago. This year for the rebuilding Sabres, he has 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points in 10 games.  He could probably have a lot more if he stayed out of the penalty box where he has spent 78 minutes so far.

8. Aaron Broten – Tampa Bay ($350,000)

The middle child of the 3 Broten brothers in Tampa, Aaron is living somewhat of a resurgence of sorts.  With only 12 points in 35 games last year, he already has 9 points in 15 games so far. Paul is doing slightly better with 10 points in 13 games but his cool $1M salary keeps him out of this list.  We will keep our comments for Neal for a little later.

7. Mike Craig – Buffalo ($450,000)

Buffalo seems to have a knack at finding young cheap rookies that can produce.  Another 23-year-old, Mike Craig is playing his first career pro minutes this season. His 3 goals and 8 assists in 14 games give him a solid 0.78 PPG, better than the $5.5M Guy Carbonneau, $4.7M John Tonelli, $4.5M John Cullen, $4M Steve Larmer or $4M Steve Yzerman, $3M Dino Ciccarelli, $2.5M Vinny Damphousse …. Ok ok… I think you get the drift.

6. Mario Marois – Buffalo ($250,000)

One of two defensemen on this list, Marois is paid the league minimum. At age 37, he’s also the oldest player on this list.  It may not seem like much, but his 6 points in 13 games are an excellent return on investment, not to mention all the intangibles he brings with him with his experience and mentoring.

5. Rob McClanahan – Buffalo ($250,000)

Buffalo strikes once more with their fourth player on the list so far. Another veteran, the 35-year-old is also signed to a league minimum contract. Injured just a few nights ago, he has so far managed 2 goals and 5 assists, good for 7 points in 14 games.  I can sit here and name about 20 players (actually there’s 69 forwards and 58 defensemen) making millions (i.e. 1M +) who have less than 0.5 PPG.  McClanahan a good investment? He’s a great one!

4. Bruce Cassidy – Anaheim ($350,000)

The 2nd and more productive defenseman on the list, Cassidy is neither a veteran nor a rookie. At age 29, a late bloomer, he is playing his first pro minutes in the NFHL, after signing in Anaheim as a free agent in the off season. Officially too old to be considered a rookie, he has plied his trade in the NMFHL for the last 11 years.  Last season, he had 51 points in 80 games playing for Rochester, Buffalo’s farm team.   With 4 goals and 6 assists in 14 games, he is 26th overall in PPG amongst all defensemen (bet you Buffalo regrets losing him now!). We’re guessing $6M Larry Murphy or $8M James Patrick wished they were as productive.

3. Neal Broten – Tampa Bay ($350,000)

We talked earlier about the incredible success of the Broten brothers in Tampa Bay. The most successful of the three? Why Big Brother of course! The 35-year-old Broten comes in at a cheap $350K and is amongst Tampa’s leaders with 11 points in 15 games. Although the baby in the family Paul commands the biggest salary, he also has the fewest number of points (in fairness he has one fewer point and two fewer games played).  We’re pretty sure here that big brother Neal is going to remind Paul who’s paying the bill at the next family get together!

2.  Al Secord – Buffalo ($250,000)

With a league minimum $250K salary and 8 points in 14 games, the journeyman is playing his first pro minutes in a long time.  His top production was back in 1991 with Calgary with 0.37 PPG.  The most impressive part of his story? He was left unsigned during the free agency period. Somehow, though, Buffalo had second thoughts and brought him on just in time to start the season.  Talk about a great last-minute investment! Playing an average 16.9 minutes per game for a rebuilding Buffalo, he has a good crack at playing his best season at age 35. Probably too late to ask for a raise now….  

1. Lyndon Byers – Anaheim ($750,000)

Our top point getter on this list, Byers is having an exceptional season with 7 goals, 13 assists or 20 points in 15 games. To make things crazier, he’s also the top PIM leader on this list with 89 PIM.  Byers seems to be coming out of nowhere this season as his top production was back in 1989 with 29 points in 73 games. Can he keep it up? The Ducks have clearly found a diamond in the rough here.  If he does keep it up, he can look forward to some special camps to help boost his abilities for future seasons.


There you have it folks, the top 10 best investments so far this season! Kudos to Anaheim with three players on this list, Tampa with two and Buffalo with an impressive five players! These three teams clearly have strong front offices and with all three teams in a building/rebuilding phase, they are showing the other bottom dwelling teams how to build a successful franchise.

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-The Sports Forecaster