2011-12 Most Overpaid Forwards

Similar to defensemen, a couple of the most overpaid forwards did not play a full season.  The exception is Alex Ovechkin who played the full season (except for his suspension) but is clearly paid for more than just his performance on the ice. He is one of few players who puts butts in the seat and eyeballs in front of the television.

We discussed Scott Gomez’s contract previously, but in 2011-12 injuries did play a partial role in how much he was overpaid by only playing in  38 games, but it is likely he still would have been on our list.

Team GP Goals Assists Points True Value ($M) Cap Hit ($M) Difference ($M)
1. Scott Gomez MTL 38 2 9 11 0.94 7.36 -6.42
2. Chuck Kobasew COL 58 7 7 14 1.20 6.75 -5.55
3. Alex Ovechkin WSH 78 38 27 65 4.61 9.02 -4.42

Sidney Crosby and Kristian Huselius would have been on this list but both missed many games in 2011-12. In particular, Crosby’s numbers in just 22 games were essentially on pace for his $8.7M cap hit.

2011-12 Most Valuable Forwards

For the forwards the Top 3 most valuable players were not much of a surprise. They were hands down the top forwards in the league last year over the course of 82 games.


Team GP Goals Assists Points True Value ($M) Cap Hit ($M) Difference ($M)
1. Evgeni Malkin PIT 75 50 59 109 7.13 8.70 -1.57
2. Steven Stamkos TBL 82 60 37 97 6.58 7.50 -0.92
3. Claude Giroux PHI 77 28 65 93 6.27 3.75 2.52

The only question may be about Ilya Kovalchuck, but at 83 points we a tier below the top 3.

Scott Gomez – No surprises, but what should he have been paid?

It is no secret that Scott Gomez’s contract that was signed with the New York Rangers and is now being carried by the Montreal Canadiens is out of whack for his value. Since day one of the signing just about everyone mentions that he is not worth the $7M+ average annual salary of his contract.  Obviously he is an easy target to criticize as a result, but at what salary would the comments go away?

Scott Gomez
GP G A Pts Cap Hit ($M) True Value ($M)
2008 81 16 54 70 7.36 3.77
2009 77 16 42 58 7.36 3.57
2010 78 12 47 59 7.36 3.79
2011 80 7 31 38 7.36 2.82
2012 38 2 9 11 7.36 0.94

2011-12 was a tough year for Gomez given injuries and a lack of productive numbers, but there had been some consitency to his game in previous years. If Scott Gomez’s contract was in the $3M-$4M range it is likely he would not be such a lightning rod. Unfortunately his outsized contract may lead to him playing in Hamilton in 2012-13 (or less likely, having his contract being bought out).

Logan Couture: The Sharks got a great deal

Last summer Doug Wilson, GM of the San Jose Sharks, announced that he had re-signed Logan Couture for a 2 year deal which kicked in when his entry-level contract was completed at the end of the 2011-12 season.  Couture had just come off a great first full-year campaign with the Sharks and finished second for the Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year.  It made sense that the Sharks wanted to lock him up for a longer period of time and address the contract before he reached RFA status.

What was very surprising to me at the time was the size of the contract.  Couture’s first year stats were impressive, ranking #66 in overall point with a +18 plus-minus. When you factor in his playoff performance in 2010-11 (14 points in 18 games) it was clear that even if he just maintained that level of performance he was a Tier 1 player in the NHL.  When I looked at the numbers of the two-year contract of $2.75M and $3M ($2.875 cap hit) it seemed rather low. Now that the 2011-12 year is done (which included an All-Star game appearance), it seems even more obvious that Doug Wilson and the Sharks are getting a smoking deal for the next two years (assuming he stays healthy and continues to perform at a similar level).

Logan Couture
GP G A Pts Cap Hit ($M) True Value ($M)
2010 25 5 4 9 0.30 0.59
2011 79 32 24 56 1.24 3.72
2012 80 31 34 65 1.24 4.57

Keep in mind these numbers are regular season only and do not include playoffs (see the Puckonomics methodology for an explanation) so adjusting for playoffs would likely make his True Value even higher than the amounts shown above.

While Couture would have only been an RFA at the end of the 2011-12 season and probably not been able to capture the full amount of his True Value like a UFA would, it is clear that he is worth significantly more than the $2.75M & $3M he will be earning the next two years.  I certainly hope that whoever is the GM of the Sharks at the end of this contract is ready to compensate Logan Couture not only for his future value on the ice, but also recognize that the organization underpaid him since day one on the team.



Zach Paries – How much will he get?

Zach Parise is probably this year’s biggest UFA name. Even though he has said he wants to stay in New Jersey, there will be many teams lining up to make him an offer.  Former GM Lou Nanne has said the Minnesota Wild will make him the highest offer.  What makes his comments interesting are how they must factor into Parise’s value.  Zach Parise’s on-ice performance is pretty consistant, with his true value worth about $5M during the regular seasons for three of the past four years (he had a significant injury in 2010-11 which kept him out most of the season):

Zach Parise
GP G A Pts Cap Hit ($M) True Value ($M)
2008 81 32 33 65 3.13 3.49
2009 82 45 49 94 3.13 5.33
2010 81 38 44 82 3.13 5.03
2011 13 3 3 6 3.13 0.46
2012 82 31 38 69 6.00 4.96

Then when you look at his performance during the playoffs, his leadership and captaincy and the supply/demand of this elite level UFA he will surely get at least $6M per year.  But in a market like Minnesota where his father J.P. Parise played for many years, Zach’s value is even greater as his presence could be directly tied to increased revenue for the Wild (TV viewers, ticket sales, ticket prices) as people come to games specifically to watch him play. If only 150 people become season ticket holders because of Zach Parise, that could easily allow the Wild to pay him an additional $1.5M (150 x 44 games x $200 (2 tickets/gm)).

We shall see how this all plays out, but it would not be surprising if Zach Parise gets up to $7.5M per years if he goes to a market where he will be the center-piece player (compared to NJ where he shares the spotlight with Martin Brodeur and Ilya Kovalchuck).