Hey Sens fans!! I will be posting a season in review in 3 parts over the next few days. In the meantime, a reader by the nam e of Will submitted this great info to me and I thought it would create great discussion here at the site from all NHL fans, not just Sens fans. Here it is, enjoy the info and post a comment!
I printed out the NHL’s top shot blockers and it’s no coincidence these guys are also the league’s top hitters, see attached. The analysis takes the top 11 players, as hits drop off dramatically thereafter, but one could easily argue to expand the list to twenty. Again, based on the top 11 players this is what I found:
· The avg salary for 2009/10 was $3.5 Mill, therefore both A-train & Sutton were fairly compensated.
· The avg salary for those that have contracts for 2010/2011 is $4.86 Mill, therefore both A-train & Sutton will likely be commanding a raise next year in the order of 39% (not bad work if you can get it!)
· The player group had on average 28 points/player, therefore both A-train and Sutton were 50% below their peer group in this regard. In fact they were the one and two lowest of the group, respectively.
· On average the +/- rating of these type of defenders was -2. When Pronger is removed from the group that figure increases to -5. Therefore, on average, these type of players will cost you more points than they will get you while being on the ice.
· 64% of these players (7 of the 11) played on losing teams (which I define as teams that did not make the playoffs (or would not have made the playoffs had they not been traded in the case of Seidenberg & Sutton).
My conclusions are these guys are pretty expensive for what they produce, statistically anyway. The successful/stronger teams seem to have omitted these type of players in favor of the more offensive minded. Perhaps these guys block shots and hit people to slow down the play and compensate for their lack of foot speed? At any rate, no team has two of these types of players and its questionable if you even need one player of this type. Therefore it’s obvious that one of A-train and/or Sutton are gone before next season. Sutton is 35 years old and 6’6’’ 245 lbs (much bigger and stronger) vs A-train at 28 yrs old and 6’1’’ 226 lbs. Who should we keep? Historically the Senators have favored the homegrown player and #24 is entering the prime of his career – therefore it’s no stretch to assume the Sens will focus their attention on A-train.
Given Volchenkov’s lack of offensive production I would suggest a salary of $4.0 – 4.25 mill is not unreasonable for both sides, however paying him $5 million seems to be off market. I’d say if #24 doesn’t sign by June 15th in this dollar range the Sens should move on trying to extend Sutton at $3.0-3.5/yr for 2 years. Another option might be Brett Clark with COL as he is a UFA next year and statistically similar to Volchenkov.
About the Author
Written by Kevin Lee
Kevin has had an extensive career as a sports writer and radio show host for almost 10 years. Kevin has covered the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA College Football and Basketball. From covering the BCS Championship Game to the Final Four and the Stanley Cup Finals, he has done it all. He has been featured on numerous sports radio stations in Canada and the United States and often a weekly guest on numerous XM and Sirius Satellite radio shows. He has also had his work featured on FoxSports.com.