Capped: Top-200 free agent salary projections

Alexander MacLean


In Michael Clifford's Ramblings on Wednesday he started to cover some teams and their cap outlooks for the coming seasons. It's a good practice to get into for all cap league managers, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he digs up as that train of thought continues for the next few days. It can be especially useful for RFAs, as the teams with more cap space for their RFAs are less likely to pinch every penny and pull the average annual value (AAV) down. That means that with Sam Reinhart and Ryan Pulock both being projected for a $6.7 million AAV next year, odds are that Pulock's number will come in lower due to being pressured by the Islanders' cap situation.

Below we have Pulock, Reinhart, and 198 other free agents projected for their next salaries. After two iterations of the skater salary projections I have made all the updates necessary, fully reviewed all of the inputs, projections and formulas for the projection output, and now there is just the final list to publish. There have been a few signings thus far such as Jared McCann, Joel Edmundson, and Sean Walker that have been exceptionally close to my numbers. It's great to see, and hopefully the rest of the summer plays out that way as well. Unfortunately, that is never the case, but with every deviation from expected, we can learn from it and adapt for the future. That's my plan anyways.



My overall thoughts on the projections:

Most importantly, these projections aren't perfect – keep that in mind. These projections try to take all of the player biases out of the equation, and it's all based off of numbers. As a result, if you don't agree with something, then it could mean you have some existing biases that are showing through (or that there is something I haven't considered in my work – so please let me know). On the flip side, this also means that a lot of the NHL GM biases can't be taken into account, and what we end up with is partially a projection of a player's value instead of exactly what they will sign for. This means that it can be a useful tool to ballpark a player's value before they sign and to give an approximation on their potential cost. It can then also be used after a contract is signed to compare their value to the contract versus the expectation, easily signaling whether the initial reaction to the contract should be positive or negative.

The list that I put out in February had a few major bugs that were fixed for the July edition. Since then, there have been some further tweaks to accommodate for the flat cap numbers among other minor tweaks. I am very happy with the results now, but as a writer and publisher of numbers I love to hear criticism and comments as they point out the areas for improvement. You can find me on Twitter