If you missed the first half of this feature, check out last week’s article here. In that article, I touched on some examples of my player projection hits and misses while writing the Capped column here at DobberHockey.
This week, we shift to the cap related projections, going through some hits, misses, and lessons learned.
Since starting my little project of trying to model player salary projections, I think my numbers have become a little more reliable. The real test will be the first offseason trial run of the project, so stay tuned for some updates on that through the free-agency period.
July 2017 UFAs
Providing early projections for some of the top options in the 2017 UFA crop based on comparable players proved to be a fruitful exercise in tempering expectations. Joe Thornton was not going to get a bargain deal after his successful seasons past. Kevin Shattenkirk was due a raise as the top rearguard on the market, and T.J. Oshie settled into the same range as previous 50-60 point wingers. Going into the offseason, if you have a good understanding of what your top players will be making, then it trickles down and gives the ability to get ahead of the game, making smart moves to accompany them with depth players.
RFAs from September 2016
In my first article here, I profiled five RFAs that had made it into September without contracts. For those five, I provided some expectations, but also an expected salary comparison. Three of the five were right in the range expected, while Jacob Trouba sat out longer, eventually taking a bridge deal, and Johnny Gaudreau took more term but less money annually than was expected. On the whole, it turned out to be a fairly accurate portrayal of the landscape, and opened some eyes to the variable contracts given out to those in similar situations. RFAs can be the toughest group to project a contract for, and a large part in that variability comes down to the preference of the team for certain styles of contracts.
RFA Defencemen from January 2017
Not a whole lot to be said here. The contracts to Shayne Ghostisbehere and Colton Parayko were right in the estimated range, Justin Schultz didn’t surprise, while the Dmitry Orlov guess was reasonable enough. This made up for my last prognostication from 2016 on Orlov (more on that below). All in all, it seems that I had a decent handle on most of the defencemen in this range.
Looking back, I was surprised that there weren’t too many contract projections at which I cringed. And perhaps that is due to the fact that putting out projections is a difficult task, and no one wants to be wrong with it. As a result, a large portion of my projections to this point have been leaning towards the safe side. Additionally, very few of the numbers published from the contract prediction model (still in the works) were for contracts that have been signed to this point, so they are generally excluded. With the tweaking of the model though, I hope to be a little less restricted in future, putting out contract estimations, and evaluating who is due what, and why.
In the meantime, some of these numbers may give you a chuckle or make you shake your head.
RFAs from September 2016
Also quoted in the “hits” section above, this article provided a few misses too. The Johnny Gaudreau one hurts especially, as he has gone on to become one of the best bargains in points-only cap leagues across the entire NHL. On top of that, right at the end of the linked article, there were a few quick predictions on other secondary RFAs from that summer, none of whom ended up taking close to what I had estimated. Granted most of the difference stems from the short vs long term contract estimation, but a lesson to be learned there nonetheless.
RFA Forwards from January 2017
There were two key misses in this article, one low, and one high. On the low end, I had Evgeni Kuznetsov pegged at around $6 million, while in reality he got $7.8 million on a long-term deal. Having someone get paid an extra 30% more than you are expecting is not going to do your fantasy teams any favours.
On the flip side, Galchenyuk received neither the term, nor the dollar value I was expecting. There was hope last year that the former third-overall pick could finally break through on the potential he showed in junior, and there was an expected cap-hit to match. Neither has panned out so far, and the production is still lagging far behind his lower-than-expected contract.
As mentioned above with the RFAs, when projecting term and/or salaries for them, the team history can be as good an indication as any. General Managers such as David Poile and Steve Yzerman who have a history of getting players to sign bargain contracts, will more likely do so again.
Even before that however, it seems as though the biggest thing is to determine whether a player will be receiving a bridge contract, or be locked up long-term. Without having a good idea where the term is going, it is much more difficult to evaluate a possible monetary value for the contract. Most of my big misses were from misunderstanding where the player and the team saw the best use of the contractual commitment, and less-so from poor evaluation of the players themselves.
Try to keep all of that in mind, especially when dealing with your RFAs, as they seem to fluctuate even more than the UFAs.
Looking back through all of my articles, this one caught my eye as being relevant this summer, due to the two mega-deals kicking in on July 1st. Take a gander at it if you own either player (or are considering trading for one).
On top of that, the end of that article explains why the signs are still pointing to a lockout in the 2020-2021 season. This is your annual warning.
Recent Capped articles:
Candidates to rebound next year.
That caps off another Thursday.
If you want to talk hockey, salary caps, or anything even remotely related, you can find me on twitter any day of the week @alexdmaclean
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