While he's one of those "rookie cap" steals, it's impossible to overlook the cost/value ratio of Sid The Kid. His listed salary is less than half of what he'll actually receive after bonuses, but let's face it: if the league's leading scorer and premier gate attraction gets a penny under the league max ($7.8 million), he's still grossly under-compensated.
2 of 10David E. Klutho/SI
Chris Kunitz, left wing
The faint hope of discovering an overlooked diamond like Kunitz is what keeps NHL GMs digging through the scrap pile that is the NHL waiver wire. The sophomore winger was plucked from obscurity and plays each game like a return trip is just one bad shift away. His 16 goals rank him second among Anaheim's scorers.
3 of 10Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Yanic Perreault, center
Would Phoenix have had the same rough start if they hadn't waited a month into the season to sign Perreault? Probably not. The veteran center has revived the staggering Coyotes with some of the best hockey of his career. Finally able to play coach Gretzky's puck-possession game thanks to Perreault's 60 percent rating in the faceoff circle, the `Yotes are 8-8-1 since he signed on Oct. 30.
4 of 10Lou Capozzola/SI
Jason Blake, left wing
The veteran winger epitomizes Ted Nolan hockey. He's fast, smart and a bugger to play against, providing the kind of leadership that is desperately needed on a rebuilding squad. He's also putting career-high numbers on the board -- leading the revitalized Isles with 16 goals and 30 points through their first 29 games.
5 of 10Lou Capozzola/SI
Darcy Tucker, left wing
He hasn't shed the loose cannon rep quite yet, but a maturing Tucker has become the heart and soul of the Leafs. With his propensity for sideshow drama (mostly) in check, Tucker emerged as Toronto's top offensive threat, with 28 points in 32 games. His 13 power play goals tie him for the league lead with Marian Hossa.
6 of 10Dave Sandford/Getty Images
Ray Emery, goaltender
On a team loaded with superstar talent, Emery has been Ottawa's most reliable performer, providing the top-tier goaltending that $3.7 million flop Martin Gerber hasn't. He ranks among the top 10 in wins, GAA and save percentage, and set a franchise record with 43 stops in a 3-2 win over Detroit on Dec. 12.
7 of 10AP
Fredrik Norrena, goaltender
A throw-in in the deal that sent Marc Denis to Tampa for Fredrik Modin, Norrena was slated to ride the bench in Columbus. Opportunity knocked in the form of an injury to Pascal Leclaire and the arrival of new coach Ken Hitchcock. Five wins later, his 1.99 GAA and .929 save percentage have the Columbus faithful talking playoffs.
8 of 10Lou Capozzola/SI
Michael Nylander, center
Guys with six previous NHL employers are more likely to be assistant coaches than top-10 scorers, but the subtlety of Nylander's gifts made him disposable to one team while intriguing another. It's unlikely the Rangers will make the same mistake and let him slip out of their grasp any time soon. His slick passing gives them two scoring lines and an elite power play unit.
9 of 10Bill Wippert/SI
Brian Campbell, defenseman
Campbell proved he could contribute offense from the point last season, scoring 44 points in his first full NHL campaign. This year, the 27-year is bringing D back, leading Buffalo's injury-depleted blueline in plus/minus and time on ice while establishing himself as one of the top defenders in the Eastern Conference.
10 of 10David E. Klutho/SI
Dominik Hasek, goaltender
Once hockey's highest-paid stopper, Hasek entered the season as an injury-plagued question mark. Thanks to careful handling (no consecutive-night starts or rusting on the bench as a backup), his groin has been as solid as his game. A 1.89 GAA and four shutouts in 22 starts make Hasek hockey's top bang for the buck.
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