One Player from Each NHL Team That Deserves a Bonus in 2012-13
Each NHL team has at least one player that deserves a bonus ahead of the 2012-13 season.
Many of these players are either underpaid, fill an important role, work harder than their teammates or carry the team regularly among other things.
Let's look at each team's player that is most deserving of a bonus.
Note: All salary information courtesy of Capgeek.com
Anaheim Ducks, Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan has had to deal with trade rumors over the last year, but he was still able to score 30-plus goals for the fourth-straight time in his career last season.
The Ducks should give Ryan a bonus for remaining productive despite constant distractions.
He's also been very durable for the team, evidenced by the fact that he's missed just one game in the last three seasons.
Boston Bruins, Dennis Seidenberg
Dennis Seidenberg is one of the most underpaid defensemen in the NHL with a salary of $3.25 million for each of the next two seasons.
The Bruins are getting tremendous value on Seidenberg's deal.
He's a dominating presence on the blue line and the perfect defenseman for the Bruins' physical style of play.
Buffalo Sabres, Cody Hodgson
Cody Hodgson scored 19 goals and added 22 assists for 41 points in 83 games last year between the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres.
Hodgson, 22, is one of the team's best young players and will play an important role in the Sabres offense next year as a goal scorer and a playmaker.
Calgary Flames, Miikka Kiprusoff
Miikka Kiprusoff is one of the few untradeable players in the NHL because he is the player responsible for almost all of the Calgary Flames' success in recent seasons.
He finished in the top five in the league in wins and games played among goaltenders last season and finished in the top 10 in a few other statistical categories.
Kiprusoff will make $5 million in salary next season, which means he will be severely underpaid given the value he has to his team.
Carolina Hurricanes, Justin Faulk
After a fine rookie season, Justin Faulk deserves a small bonus for his impressive play at both ends of the ice for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The 20-year-old defenseman scored eight goals and added 14 assists in 66 games last year. He also skates very well and is a good power-play quarterback.
Chicago Blackhawks, Viktor Stalberg
Chicago Blackhawks right winger Viktor Stalberg set career highs in goals (22), assists (21), points (43) and plus-minus (6) last season.
This improvement is certainly worthy of a raise.
Stalberg is just 26 years old and will be expected to reach the 20-goal mark again next season. With so much offensive talent around him on the Blackhawks, there's no reason why Stalberg can't have another fine year in Chicago.
Colorado Avalanche, Ryan O'Reilly
Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly had a breakout season last year with 18 goals and 37 assists in 81 games. His 55 points were more than double his total from the previous season. He also established himself as an elite defensive forward.
O'Reilly is a restricted free agent and surprisingly has not signed a new deal yet. He only made $900,000 in salary last year, so he deserves a large bonus and salary next season.
At just 21 years old, O'Reilly is a big part of the Avalanche's future.
Columbus Blue Jackets, Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson scored 14 points in just 21 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season and was arguably the team's best offensive defenseman.
He is a tremendous talent who also has plenty of room for improvement, so the Blue Jackets can expect a full season of impressive offensive production from Johnson next year.
Dallas Stars, Jamie Benn
Jamie Benn made just $650,000 in salary last season and deserves a considerable bonus and salary increase when he agrees to his next contract with the Dallas Stars.
He is currently a restricted free agent.
Benn had 63 points last season, despite missing 11 games due to injury. He has the ability to score 30 goals per season and be a point-per-game player.
He could reach both those levels next year.
Detroit Red Wings, Valtteri Filppula
Valtteri Filppula had a career season for the Detroit Red Wings last season. His 66 points were 26 points more than his previous career high.
The 28-year-old winger deserves a bonus for his impressive year.
Filppula's next challenge is to have another great season, which shouldn't be too difficult since he's entering the final year of his contract.
Edmonton Oilers, Jordan Eberle
Jordan Eberle will make $787,000 in salary next season, which is actually less than the $875,000 he earned in salary last season.
Eberle deserves a massive bonus after his amazing 2011-12 season in which he scored 34 goals and added 42 assists.
He might not get a huge raise until next summer when he's a restricted free agent, but when he does receive his next contract, it should be worth not a penny less than Taylor Hall's new seven-year, $42 million deal.
Florida Panthers, Tomas Fleischmann
Florida Panthers forward Tomas Fleischmann entered the first year of his new contract last season, but still showed the hard work that makes him an important part of the team's future.
After coming off a career year, Fleischmann deserves a small bonus. He scored 27 goals and added 34 assists for the Panthers last season.
Los Angeles Kings, Slava Voynov
Now that Slava Voynov is going to play an important role on the Los Angeles Kings blue line going forward, he deserves a small bonus.
He also played well offensively for the Kings last season and also looked composed in his first time playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Minnesota Wild, Kyle Brodziak
Kyle Brodziak had a career year for the Minnesota Wild last season. He set career highs in points, goals and penalty minutes.
He also played in all 82 games.
Brodziak will be an important forward on the Wild next season, and if he continues to improve offensively, he will give the team important depth at center.
Montreal Canadiens, Lars Eller
Lars Eller's 16 goals last season were more than two times his previous career high. He improved tremendously in his sophomore season and will be expected to take another step in his development next year.
Eller's next challenge will be to reach the 20-goal plateau, and it would be surprising if he didn't accomplish this goal next season.
Nashville Predators, Craig Smith
Craig Smith should play a larger role in the Nashville Predators offense next season with the team needing more goal scoring.
Smith had 36 points last year in 76 games. It was also his first full NHL season.
The 22-year-old forward has great potential and has all the talent needed to become the future top-line center for the Predators in the near future.
New Jersey Devils, Adam Henrique
A 51-point season from New Jersey Devils winger Adam Henrique was a nice surprise for the team last year, and with star forward Zach Parise no longer with the team, the 22-year-old star should reach the 20-goal mark for the first time.
Henrique will make $525,000 next season, but if he continues to improve and has another fine offensive year, he could be in line for a huge raise next summer.
As a fan favorite and a playoff hero, the Devils need to keep Henrique happy.
New York Islanders, Matt Moulson
Matt Moulson will make $3 million next season, which in today's NHL, is not a fair salary for a player who has scored 30-plus goals in three straight years.
As one of the most important players on the team, Moulson deserves a good sized bonus.
Moulson doesn't get the recognition he deserves, but that might change if he reaches the 30-goal mark for a fourth straight time.
New York Rangers, Ryan McDonagh
After Ryan McDonagh's breakout season, the young New York Rangers defenseman deserves a nice bonus for his impressive performances in the regular season and playoffs.
Since he's entering the final year of his contract, he has plenty of motivation to be even better next year.
McDonagh could establish himself as one of the best shut-down defensemen in the NHL next season and earn himself a lot of money in the process.
Ottawa Senators, Milan Michalek
Milan Michalek took his game to another level last season, scoring a career high 35 goals and adding 25 assists in 77 games played.
Michalek has the talent to reach the 40-goal mark, and if he has two more good seasons, he could be one of the top unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2014.
Philadelphia Flyers, Claude Giroux
Even though many predicted and expected it to happen, Claude Giroux's rise to super-stardom is still worthy of a nice bonus.
Giroux has two more years left on his deal, but the Flyers should seriously consider offering him a long-term extension soon.
He's a top player and a role model, so he's the perfect face of the franchise.
Phoenix Coyotes, Mikkel Boedker
Mikkel Boedker is a future NHL star and certainly deserves a bonus for his regular season play last year and his even more impressive performance in the playoffs for the Phoenix Coyotes.
He scored four goals and added four assists in 16 playoff games, including two game-winning goals in overtime during the first-round series versus the Chicago Blackhawks.
The 22-year-old forward from Denmark has a bright future and will likely play a large role in the Coyotes offense for quite some time.
Pittsburgh Penguins, Pascal Dupuis
Evgeni Malkin wasn't the only player helping the Pittsburgh Penguins offense in Sidney Crosby's absence; Pascal Dupuis was too.
Dupuis set a career high with 59 points last season, and also reached the 20-goal mark for the second time, finishing the season with 25 goals.
He's entering the final year of his contract, so Dupuis has all the reasons he needs to duplicate his 2011-12 stats and earn a nice payday.
San Jose Sharks, Logan Couture
Last year, Logan Couture continued to prove that he's going to be a consistent goal scorer in the NHL, but more impressively, he became a better playmaker.
He raised his assist total by 10, which helped him set a new career high in points with 65.
Couture is about to enter the first year of his new two-year contract, and if he keeps progressing offensively, he could be a $5-6.5 million per year kind of player when he becomes an RFA in the summer of 2014.
St. Louis Blues, Kevin Shattenkirk
Kevin Shattenkirk had a career high 43 points last year, but he will only make $875,000 next season.
He's certainly underpaid, but another season of impressive offensive production could result in the young defenseman's first big payday.
Shattenkirk is quickly becoming one of the Blues' most important players, and the franchise must make sure they keep him for a long time.
Tampa Bay Lightning, Teddy Purcell
Teddy Purcell doesn't get a ton of recognition, but he is an important part of the Tampa Bay Lightning offense. He set career highs in goals, assists and points last year.
Purcell also finished third on the team in goals, second in assists and third in points. At just 26 years old, expect Purcell to continue to play a key role in the Lightning offense for several years to come.
Toronto Maple Leafs, Joffrey Lupul
Joffrey Lupul was on his way to being a point-per-game player last season before he got hurt, and going into a contract season, Leafs fans should expect another impressive year from the 28-year-old winger.
After having a great season offensively, and making the All-Star game for the first time, Lupul is definitely deserving of a bonus.
Vancouver Canucks, Alexander Edler
Alexander Edler stepped up his offensive production for the Vancouver Canucks last season. He set career highs in goals, assists and points as well.
Edler deserves a bonus for his performance last year, and he could make even more money if he has another great season. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
At just 26 years old, the Canucks would be wise to make Edler a significant part of their blue line for years to come.
Washington Capitals, Braden Holtby
Braden Holtby's performance in the 2012 NHL playoffs makes him very deserving of a bonus from the Washington Capitals.
Like many of the players on this list, Holtby is entering a contract year, so the Capitals should be optimistic that he will become a top-tier goaltender this season.
Winnipeg Jets, Evander Kane
A small market team like the Winnipeg Jets needs to hold on to its star players in free agency, so it's crucial that the franchise not only gives him a nice bonus but a new contract as well.
He's still a restricted free agent and is coming off the best offensive season of his career.
Kane has the potential to be an elite goal scorer for many years, so the Jets need to make sure he signs long term. He's the only top-tier goal scorer on the Winnipeg roster.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!