1. Brock Nelson - 2 years, $6m AAV
If you ask a non-Islanders fan who the Isles' best offensive player is, the answer you'll get will probably be either Mat Barzal or Bo Horvat. But the real answer might be Nelson, who scored 36 goals and 75 points this season, leading the team in both categories and scored 37 goals the year before, also leading the team. In fact, he's led the Islanders in goals for four years in a row.
When Nelson was on the ice at 5v5 this season, the Islanders scored 61% of the goals - third-best behind Oliver Wahlstrom and Barzal. Almost as importantly, he was one of the only bright spots of a terrible power play, leading the team in power play goals and finishing third in power play assists.
For $6 million, this is excellent value. Six forwards will have cap hits of exactly $6 million next year: Nelson, Taylor Hall, Mats Zuccarello, Nikolaj Ehlers, Jake Guentzel, and Ondrej Palat. Nelson had more points than any of the others and more goals than any except Guentzel, who he tied. Looking slightly further, of the 19 forwards with cap hits between $5.75m and $6.25m, Nelson is tied for the second-most goals (behind just Mark Scheifele) and had the second-most goals (behind Evgeni Malkin).
The Islanders always seem to have a problem with spending just a little too much money on middle-six forwards who don't score enough goals. Brock Nelson is the opposite of that problem. For $6 million, he's provided two consecutive 35+ goal seasons, and he's showing no signs of slowing down.
As a bonus for making it to the end of this article, here's Brock Nelson winning the NHL All-Star Game accuracy shooting competition.