Capped: Projecting Player Salaries – Part 5

Alexander MacLean

2018-02-01

 

This week's Capped finishes our series looking into how to project player salaries, with a few goalie projections.

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As outlined last week, I don’t yet have a working model for goaltenders, but I’m using the articles from this week and last to start off the thought process behind that section of the project. And because it didn’t seem fitting to finish off the projection series without a few goalie numbers, we’re going to go through a handful of goalie contract predictions based on some of the theories from last week. Enjoy.

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Robin Lehner (Age as of July 2018 – 26) – Buffalo Sabres

Expiring Cap Hit: $4,000,000

Projected Cap Hit: $4,500,000

Projected Number of Years: Four

Robin Lehner has had some ups and downs as a starter in the NHL over the last few seasons. Whether he moves on to greener pastures, or tries to anchor a Buffalo Sabres team that is green itself, he should be in line to continue receiving a majority of the available starts. For that reason, he will continue to be paid as a starter, albeit a lower end one. As a result, Lehner will be looking to use this contract as a bridge to his peak years, opening up the avenue to sign a big deal at the age of 30. His stats should improve a little over the next few seasons too, either moving on to a better team, or through the internal growth of the Sabres.

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Petr Mrazek (26) – Detroit Red Wings

Expiring Cap Hit: $4,000,000

Projected Cap Hit: $3,500,000

Projected Number of Years: Three

Petr Mrazek is the same age as Lehner, and coming off a contract with the same cap hit. The similarities end there though, as Mrazek has battled with Jimmy Howard over the last few years just to see playing time. Mrazek is still viewed as having a higher upside, and will likely be transitioning into more of a starter’s role this coming year. Whether the Red Wings part ways with Howard or Mrazek, one will likely be on the move, and this could see Mrazek platooning as a worst-case scenario. As a result, a slightly shorter contract on a slightly smaller deal is probably what we can expect.

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Cam Ward (34) – Carolina Hurricanes

Expiring Cap Hit: $3,300,000

Projected Cap Hit: $4,500,000

Projected Number of Years: Two

Cam Ward seemed to peak as a rookie, winning the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006. Since then, he has kept owners waiting for that same dominance, and it has never come. Last season, Scott Darling was brought in, given a bigger contract, and the assumption was that Ward would be phased out. Except Ward is having the better season. Darling’s extreme struggles are masking the fact that Ward hasn’t looked great either, and are actually buoying the perception of Ward. As a result, with Ward maybe looking at his last decent contract, we should see a bit of a cost increase with a shorter term. A two-year, $9 million contract would provide a good match with a team looking for a stopgap goaltender.

 

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Connor Hellebuyck (25) – Winnipeg Jets

Expiring Cap Hit: $2,250,000

Projected Cap Hit: $6,5