Sunday, August 26, 2007

2007-08: Teams by position
A break down by age and salary

I posted a look at all 30 teams ranked by age last week (with salary data), something that Earl Sleek mentioned would work well if broken down further by position.

That's a tough thing to do given we don't know exactly who will make NHL teams this season, but given some solid assumptions based on rosters are they are now, I crunched the numbers and came up with the following:


No. of players Avg. age Average salary
Goalies 70 28.53 $2,144,165
Defence 239 28.24 $1,851,053
Forwards 441 27.72 $1,817,375
- centres 192 27.39 $1,907,427
- left wing 121 28.29 $1,715,591
- right wing 128 27.68 $1,778,516
Totals 750 27.96 $1,858,607


Forwards
(Top 13)
Avg. age Avg. salary Salary rank
BUF 25.36 $2,095,110 12
S.J 25.66 $1,803,456 23
PHI 25.79 $2,199,472 7
FLA 26.30 $1,897,503 19
PHX 26.38 $1,208,436 30
EDM 26.54 $2,091,972 13
CHI 26.59 $2,454,167 2
MTL 26.94 $1,816,164 22
WSH 27.02 $1,679,241 26
BOS 27.06 $2,163,718 11
L.A 27.07 $1,903,878 17
PIT 27.38 $1,842,887 21
CBJ 27.40 $2,178,785 9
OTT 27.46 $1,756,047 24
ANA 27.74 $1,587,832 29
N.J 28.04 $2,177,884 10
MIN 28.14 $2,195,923 8
NYR 28.24 $2,700,037 1
COL 28.45 $2,060,779 15
TOR 28.75 $1,851,713 20
NSH 28.93 $1,618,737 28
T.B 28.96 $2,228,974 5
VAN 29.04 $1,903,526 18
CGY 29.14 $2,216,830 6
DAL 29.26 $1,732,500 25
DET 29.55 $1,620,972 27
CAR 29.72 $2,368,015 3
NYI 29.74 $1,905,377 16
STL 30.05 $2,078,910 14
ATL 30.36 $2,256,227 4


Defence
(Top 7)
Avg. age Avg. salary Salary rank
CHI 24.35 $1,303,074 30
WSH 25.27 $1,482,639 28
PHX 26.13 $2,354,881 8
NSH 26.35 $1,495,810 26
S.J 26.63 $1,484,629 27
STL 26.73 $2,648,529 4
BOS 26.90 $2,275,700 10
CBJ 27.25 $1,565,278 24
T.B 27.29 $1,548,530 25
OTT 27.30 $2,506,076 6
EDM 27.35 $2,216,436 11
NYR 27.43 $1,879,071 18
TOR 27.62 $2,848,571 1
COL 27.65 $1,785,131 20
FLA 28.02 $1,921,429 17
NYI 28.10 $1,333,714 29
N.J 28.13 $1,681,143 21
PIT 28.49 $2,023,125 15
VAN 28.91 $2,025,000 14
PHI 28.99 $2,294,819 9
CGY 29.04 $2,132,571 12
ATL 29.08 $1,579,702 22
L.A 29.36 $2,649,857 3
BUF 30.14 $1,866,071 19
DAL 30.60 $2,060,913 13
MTL 31.05 $2,550,000 5
MIN 31.41 $2,007,143 16
CAR 31.53 $1,568,857 23
ANA 31.83 $2,408,214 7
DET 31.89 $2,845,714 2


Goalies Avg. age Avg. salary Salary rank
MTL 24.77 $2,110,417 17
PIT 24.86 $903,625 28
CGY 25.20 $2,107,083 18
S.J 26.07 $2,990,417 9
MIN 26.36 $1,912,500 22
NYI 27.25 $2,500,000 12
ANA 27.66 $3,590,625 3
CAR 27.74 $2,033,333 19
NYR 27.75 $2,433,750 14
COL 27.94 $3,016,667 8
PHX 28.04 $700,000 30
VAN 28.14 $3,675,000 2
PHI 28.61 $2,362,500 16
FLA 28.71 $3,125,000 7
DAL 28.73 $3,325,000 5
TOR 28.79 $1,687,500 24
STL 28.92 $1,341,000 26
OTT 28.95 $3,433,333 4
ATL 29.04 $1,425,000 25
CBJ 29.27 $950,000 27
NSH 29.27 $875,000 29
L.A 29.48 $1,962,500 20
T.B 29.66 $1,933,333 21
BUF 29.87 $1,713,333 23
BOS 33.18 $2,716,667 11
EDM 33.75 $2,383,333 15
N.J 33.85 $2,943,750 10
CHI 33.88 $3,850,000 1
WSH 33.92 $3,131,250 6
DET 38.66 $2,475,000 13


It's tough to differentiate between the bottom rung defencemen and forwards on many teams, but with the majority of those players coming in at the same age range and salary, that's not going to sway the results monumentally.

(In other words, I think this is a reasonably close look at where teams will fit in these categories when the season starts.)

Points of interest here? Well, the Sharks and Coyotes come in with the youngest teams at every position, while several other clubs are young in only one particular area (Buffalo up front, Chicago on defence, Pittsburgh in goal, etc.).

Detroit is old across the board, something influenced heavily by the fact they have two of the league's three 40-and-over players.

As for salary rank, there are some surprises:

Goal - Chicago, Vancouver and Anaheim spend the most; Phoenix, Nashville and Pittsburgh the least.
Defence - Toronto, Detroit, Los Angeles spend the most; Chicago, the Islanders, Washington the least.
Forwards - The Rangers, Chicago, Carolina spend the most; Phoenix, Anaheim, Nashville the least.


Several teams fall into these basic categories:
$ mostly on goaltending (Vancouver, Florida, Dallas, Washington)
$ mostly on defence (St. Louis, Toronto, Los Angeles, Montreal)
$ mostly on forwards (Columbus, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Atlanta)

There's a ton of data here — I'll be interested to see what trends others can spot.

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11 Comments:

At 11:05 PM, August 26, 2007, Blogger Joe said...

Another significant reason why the Wings always turn up so old in these things is because their lineup is so deep, and has been for so long, that it makes it very hard for young draft picks to crack the lineup. The Wings are deep enough that for someone age 20 or under to actually make the team, he would have to be phenomenally talented, and theres only a handful of those type of kids in the league at all. "Youngsters" often start cracking the roster around 23 or 24, and by the time they start becoming higher line players with lots of ice time, they're already often getting into their late 20's.

 
At 11:19 PM, August 26, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With a quick glance, Detroit looks to have the largest differential between forwards and defense--ranked 27 and 2!

 
At 12:47 AM, August 27, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

It would be interesting to look at last years data and see if and how spending on different positions (and age) correlated with winning. i.e. Did those teams that spent a lot on defense do better than those spending a lot on forwards.

 
At 1:07 AM, August 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Avg. age for Detroit forwards is 38.66??? Sure.

 
At 4:56 AM, August 27, 2007, Blogger Loxy said...

As a young economics student taking a class about professional sports, I looked at salary allocation by position vs success - goal differential and placement in standings.

I don't have the essays I wrote, but essentially I found that teams did better if they put more money into their forward lines and then goaltending. But if the ratio of money to the forwards was over a certain threshold, there was a serious drop

I should look this up so that I'm not just quoting generalities...

 
At 12:02 PM, August 27, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Thanks, James. For sure there's still a lot hidden in there, but this is still pretty interesting stuff--where salary is being spent and where it is being saved.

I generally believe the IOF guys about forward-driven results, but it's tough to look at a team like Anaheim who's really put their eggs in the blue line and goal and say that they weren't the real difference makers.

Much to mull on, but thanks for the legwork.

 
At 1:01 PM, August 27, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I generally believe the IOF guys about forward-driven results, but it's tough to look at a team like Anaheim who's really put their eggs in the blue line and goal and say that they weren't the real difference makers.

I think the real difference with the Ducks might be in that their blue line could really produce points and spearhead the attack; Niedermayer and Pronger were as essential to the offence as any one forward, and justified their worth that way.

 
At 2:33 PM, August 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. You need to spend money to get the talent to produce offensively, while you need hard work to play defensively. Anaheim paid the bucks to defencemen, but not for them to play just D.

 
At 2:41 PM, August 27, 2007, Blogger Sig said...

I left an email for James. I too, like David Johnson, was curious about position salary prediciting success. I used James' data to come up with a couple of interesting findings. I'll post one: Of the top ten teams in standings points, SEVEN of them spent in the bottom third in the league on forwards. Hmm... this supports the saying that defense wins championships.

 
At 4:17 PM, August 27, 2007, Blogger Joe said...

I'm really curious about Loxy's results regarding salary allocation. I would totally believe that forwards > goal > defense would be the most commonly successful setup during the regular season, but I have to think that would change in the playoffs. The playoffs in the NHL are just plain played differently, with an emphasis on playing conservatively. That would favor paying your defense and then goalies before your forwards.

 
At 9:24 PM, August 28, 2007, Blogger Bman said...

cool stuff james... but those averages might be negatively skewed because of the few players who get a ton of money will raise the mean salary level --- maybe that is what you were trying to get at, but if it wasn't then rather than using the mean average, it might be better to use the median... or if you are going to use the mean, get a sense of whether the distribution is skewed or not.

love your blog, it's keeping me current over the summer!

 

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