Newsworthy – Mikhail Grabovski’s New Contract

8 Mar

2011-12 Score - Mikhail Grabovski

So, my initial reaction on this Mikhail Grabovski signing the other day was, “great, the Leafs signed him long-term.  Pretty good player to lock up, because really, they don’t have anyone else.  Way to go, Burke.”  Then, I found out how much money they were going to pay him.  My opinion changed quickly.  This was a colossal clusterfuck of a bad contract.  $27 million over five years?  Pretty high.

It seemed like a lot of people felt the same way as I did.  I could tell this because Joe Public was saying and writing a lot of things on the radio and the internet and the Twitter.  However, unlike Joe Public, I felt like I was intelligent enough to make an informed comment rather than just venting my emotions irrationally.

So, I went to NHLNumbers.com to see if the contract made sense.  I figured going in that I’d find Grabovski’s deal was in line with comparable players in the league.  Well, that’s what I wanted to find out.  I wanted this to be a good deal for the Leafs.  I wanted it to make sense, because I wanted Joe Public to be wrong.

What I actually found was that, with a few exceptions, he’s going to be getting paid at a level above what he should.  He’s getting paid star money – and in some cases, franchise player money, when in reality he’s a very good player, not a great one, on a bad team.

Grabovski’s new contract kicks in for the 2012-13 season.  In the first year, the cap hit will be $5.5 million.  What I did was look at the 10 forwards above that cap hit, and 10 below, as well as the other two forwards with identical $5.5 million hits.  I realize that there are a ton of factors to take into consideration – player age, stage of career, when the contract was signed, length of contract, and the fact that other players on the list are not available to the Toronto Maple Leafs at this time as teams don’t give players away for nothing (see Nash, Rick and 2012, Trade Deadline).  But, there is also just the simple fact that there is a salary cap in the NHL, and comparing players based on their cap hits is completely reasonable in this money-driven environment.

Here is the list:

$6.300 – Jonathan Toews
$6.300 – Patrick Kane
$6.100 – Henrik Sedin
$6.100 – Daniel Sedin
$6.083 – Henrik Zetterberg
$6.000 – Mike Cammalleri
$6.000 – Patrik Elias
$5.900 – Patrick Sharp
$5.750 – Mike Richards
$5.625 – Martin St. Louis
$5.500 – Mikhail Grabovski
$5.500 – Shawn Horcoff
$5.500 – John Tavares
$5.400 – Phil Kessel
$5.325 – Corey Perry
$5.325 – Ryan Getzlaf
$5.300 – Jason Pominville
$5.273 – Jeff Carter
$5.250 – David Krejci
$5.233 – Marian Hossa
$5.100 – Bobby Ryan
$5.000 – Ryan Kesler
$5.000 – Ales Hemsky

The only players on this list that I would pick Mikhail Grabovski ahead of for my team would be Patrik Elias, because he’s 58 years old, and Ales Hemsky, because, well, because I just don’t think he’s as good at hockey as people think he is.  Oh yeah, and Shawn Horcoff.

I know this list will change in a year or two as contracts expire, new ones are signed, and who knows what the new CBA will bring or what free agents will be available, but right now, I’m really not convinced that this is money well spent.  Prove me wrong, Crosbovski.  Prove me wrong.

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