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Vulgar Statistics: Who’s Earning Their Money?


With the Sabres this season being underwhelming at best (and not scoring goals), I though it would be fun (in kind of a morbid way) to figure out who is or isn’t earning their pay among the forwards.  Narrowing down a study like this is difficult as with hundreds of concepts of value things can get quite complicated.  I didn’t want to simplify things too much, after all, anyone can just divide cap hit by points and let that be the end of it, but I needed to make it doable for myself.  Thus I’ll be comparing our forwards’ production and cap hits this season against everyone else in our division.  With 24 games a season, you definitely want to match up well against those guys.

First of all, the problems with something like this. It’s difficult to really gauge forwards by anything other than points (or in this case points per icetime), thus the players who bring other skills to the table or fulfill different roles will be underrepresented here. Although the case can be made that it’s also probably not to pay those guys a salary that lumps them in with goal scorers. Just a thought Darcy.

Granted this doesn’t tell you a lot of things that you don’t already know, but it does provide a bit more depth than a sheer cost per point analysis would.  That sort of simplification would definitely shortchange our higher paid players when a comparison to similarly payed guys around the division shows that they can more than hold their own.  Likewise guys like Tyler Ennis and Patrick Kaleta don’t look so good.

This seems to suggest that the Sabres don’t do a great job of evaluating their talent and paying out accordingly.  Thomas Vanek, the only slam-dunk superstar (everyone was calling Pominville overpaid until this season) makes the money that he obviously should, but virtually everyone else has been overpaid (though some are merely suffering bad years).  You can get past one or two bad contracts, but when almost your entire second and third lines aren’t worth their money, you team tends to not be very good, even with arguably the best pool of young talent in the league making a fraction of what they eventually will.

That’s troubling because it feels like the organization just doesn’t know how to handle forwards.  And with Teppo Numminen, James Patrick, and Lindy Ruff on the coaching staff, that admission shouldn’t be shocking.  The defensemen contracts we’ve seen for the past several years have been markedly better than those of the forwards.  Sure Dmitri Kalinin and Shaone Morrisonn were misses, but we’ve gotten decent to good value out of Craig Rivet (for a year and a half), Jaroslav Spacek, Jordan Leopold, Toni Lydman, Henrik Tallinder, Tyler Myers, Andrej Sekera, Steve Montador, Robyn Regher, Christian Ehrhoff, and even Chris Butler and Marc-Andre Gragnani to a certain extent.

The only final thought that comes to me is that it might be a good idea to split Darcy Regier’s duties with someone that’s a bit more adept at handling offensive talent.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sam permalink
    02/04/12 10:06 PM

    I like the idea of having a more offensive coach and/or asst gm… Who would you bring in? I can only think of past players.

  2. Sam permalink
    02/04/12 10:08 PM

    I like the idea of having a more offensive coach and/or asst gm… Who would you bring in? I can only think of past players. Peca and Patty La come to mind as past players I wouldn’t mind seeing in a coaching or evaluation position. But past players don’t always make that transition well. And of course those guys just show my hommer….

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