Monday, June 16, 2008

Hossa Backlash

James Mirtle, easily one of the best hockey bloggers on the internets, has made the argument against the offered contract to Hossa. Echoing the anonymous commenter in the post below, he believes Hossa doesn't deserve that much money for the production he provides. I can understand that, but his math seems fuzzy:

"...essentially what it comes down to, with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Hossa and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury under contract, is roughly $30-million in salary dedicated to those four players."

Crosby is making $8.7M and Hossa would make $7.15M, so according to Mirtle this would leave $14.1M for Malkin and Fleury. Malkin has stated he doesn't need to make more than Sid. Let's give him $8.7M just to be sure. That leaves $5.4M for Fleury. Seems about a million too high to me.

"Throw in Sergei Gonchar's $5-million cap hit, Ryan Whitney's $4-million and a new contract for Jordan Staal, and what remains?

About $15-million to sign another 15 players in an era where the average player earns roughly $2-million?"

This is where it gets murky. You can assume one of two things; he's overpaying for Staal by around $2-$2.5M or he's assuming the cap increases by only $2M after next year, which would go entirely against the trend we've seen ever since the cap was instated.

Dr. Mirtle, as all physicians should do, gave what may be the worst case scenario. It seems more likely we'll have about $18-$19M for those remaining 15 players in 2009-2010. You can combine Letang and the backup goaltender for about 1.5 million. That leaves $17M for the remaining 13 players, or $1.3M/player.

The median cap hit among the top 100 left wingers this past year: $1.5M
The median cap hit among the top 100 right wingers this past year: $1.25M

Out of those 13 players, 7 would likely be wingers.

I'm not saying its ideal, but that extra $3-$4M that was ignored could be the difference in signing 1-2 difference makers. I understand overpaying for Hossa could be disastrous, but it seems like Mirtle wanted to paint a picture the way he wanted to see it. Before someone says it, I know, I'm doing the same thing. Just wanted to show the other side.

[Numbers courtesy NHL Numbers]


James Mirtle said...

I do not think we're going to see the cap rise as quickly it has so far; a lot of the revenue growth in the league is unsustainable.

Even if it does go up $5-million both this season and next, and there's a $60-million cap, few teams will spend right to the edge of that.

Sam said...

Both fair points. While I agree about the growth being unsustainable, is there any indication this upcoming season will be the one that breaks the trend? I also think we'll be one of those few teams.

I'm being decidedly optimistic here, I can see that. But I just don't think Shero would turn us into the Lightning.