The Contrarian – Motivational Forces

by Thomas Drance on July 20, 2014



Motivated, hungry, cheap - on free agents, one-year contracts and redemption seasons.

Lately there is talk about cheap one year contracts given out to players in the hopes that they redeem themselves and prove to the hockey world that they are deserving of more.

Players like Mike Ribeiro, Dany Heatley and Derek Roy.

The talk goes something like this.


"He had a bad year last year and wants to prove that he can be a positive force for the team."


"He's going to come to camp hungry and be ready to fight for those top line minutes."


"If he wants to earn the kind of money that he did before he has to prove that he still has what it takes. Prove that last season was an aberration."


"He'll be motivated because he's only making a little more than the minimum salary."
It sounds logical but it is true?


I took a look at the players who signed one year contracts last summer at a reduced salary.


These seven players were good signings: (all salary values were compiled from


Jaromir Jagr: He has earned 121.3 million dollars in his career but last season he took a two million dollar contract with New Jersey. He got 67 points in 82 games which was not bad considering that he is over 40 years old. It was about the same points per game pace that he set the year before.


Benoit Pouliot: He has earned 12.9 million in his career but was earning only 1.3 million playing for the Rangers last year. His career average would have been to get 33 points and he got 36.


Mason Raymond: He racked up 45 points playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs while earning one million dollars. His career average would have been 39 points. The previous season he tallied 22 points in 46 games so he did bounce back nicely. By the way, he has earned 13.6 million over his career.


Tom Gilbert: He had 13 points in 43 games during the shortened season. He was earning $900,000 with the Florida Panthers last year while he got 28 points in 73 games. It's a bit lower than his career average but not by much. He has earned 28.2 million over his whole career.


Mike Santorelli: He has earned 7.6 million but last season only took home $550,000. He bounced back from a one point in ten game season to have 28 points in 49 games with the Vancouver Canucks.


Nathan Gerbe: Similar to Santorelli, he has earned 7.7 million, had recovered from a 10 point in 42 game season to score 31 points in 81 games with Carolina last year. All while earning $550,000.


Mark Fistric: Received $900,000 to get five points in 34 games. His career average was seven points.


There was one player, Andre Benoit, who I did not include on the list of good contracts because he never really earned a lot previously so his one year contract wasn't so much as a redemption as it was what he was used to. He, however, did great last season. For $900,000 he surpassed his career average of ten points pro-rated to an 82 game a season with 28 points last year.


Good for them but those are merely seven players. I have 22 other players that were not so successful.


Pierre-Marc Bouchard: Nine points in 28 games were not worth the 2 million dollars that he earned. His career average was 51 points. He has earned 29.2 million over his whole career.

Dustin Penner: Career average at the time would have been 46 points but he only got 21 points. Also for $2M.

Douglas Murray: Earned 1.5 million for two points but I think he was paid mostly for other aspects of the game because his career average was 11 points.

Brendan Morrow: Played on St. Louis for 1.5 million and got 25 points.


Rostislav Olesz: Earned one million for two points. Would you have guessed that he has already earned over 20 million dollars over his career?


Brad Boyes: Actually he wasn't terrible but when you get 36 points in 78 games a year after getting 35 points in 48 games it doesn't look like he was properly motivated by his one million dollar contract.

The list continues: Joe Corvo, Scott Gomez, Ryan Whitney, Peter Regin, Mike Komisarek, Jeff Schultz, Matt Gilroy, Tim Kennedy, Hal Gill, Adam Pardy, Radek Dvorak, Jeff Halpern, Manny Malhotra, Matt D'Agostini, Chuck Kobasew and Carlo Colaiacovo all got paid less than one million dollars last year only to produce below their career averages.

Were they not motivated by the reduced salaries? Maybe it is because the majority of these guys have already earned quite a bit over their careers.

This brings me to Derek Roy and an article from The Tennessean by Josh Cooper, "Gary Roberts camp shows Derek Roy means business".

I think Roy has figured out that money alone is not always a good enough motivational force, especially for established players. Good for him to seek out Roberts and to change more than the size of his wallet.

He won't want to go back for a remedial training session next summer.


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