Friday, August 24, 2007

The collective bargaining agreement
Salary breakdown by age

Maybe it's a theme week.

I'm not exactly sure the reason, but I'm on a salary analysis bent and you, unfortunately, are the poor souls stuck with me. (Unless you end the madness and stop coming by, of course.)

And since there are so many sticklers in the crowd, I'll try and make this analysis as transparent as possible (see 'methodology' at the bottom).

But first, the glorious numbers:

Age No. of players Avg. salary % of NHL % of $
U-20 11 $2.137 1.47% 1.7%
20 22 $1.208 2.93% 1.9%
21 32 $1.115 4.27% 2.6%
22 61 $0.952 8.13% 4.2%
23 53 $1.192 7.07% 4.5%
24 61 $1.337 8.13% 5.9%
25 51 $1.483 6.80% 5.4%
26 45 $1.364 6.00% 4.4%
27 64 $1.829 8.53% 8.4%
28 55 $2.035 7.33% 8.0%
29 41 $1.781 5.47% 5.2%
30 53 $2.440 7.07% 9.3%
31 37 $2.348 4.93% 6.2%
32 51 $2.702 6.80% 9.9%
33 19 $2.474 2.53% 3.4%
34 32 $2.746 4.27% 6.3%
35 18 $2.709 2.40% 3.5%
36 17 $2.578 2.27% 3.1%
37 15 $3.297 2.00% 3.6%
38 7 $2.968 0.93% 1.5%
39 2 $2.300 0.27% 0.3%
40+ 3 $2.583 0.40% 0.6%
Totals 750 $1,391.56



Alright, so what we've got here is a look at the top 750 projected NHLers for next season, 25 per team as determined by me (with some serious help from the McKeen's Yearbook). Using the Under-20s as an example, there will be 11 teenagers in the league next season, making an average of $2.137-million (including bonuses), which makes up 1.7 per cent of total salaries.

Twenty-two-year-olds are apparently the cheapies, whereas it's those old buggers at 37 who are hauling, on average, down the biggest paycheck.

It's interesting stuff, data made far more digestible with these handy dandy line charts:

Thirty-five appears to be the checkout age, at least for this coming season, while you can really see how the 38-and-over crowd are freaks of nature (only 12 players fit into this category: Chelios, Hasek, Roberts, Recchi, Numminen, Wesley, Shanahan, Drake, Taylor, Richardson, Schneider and Sakic).

Thirty-two per cent of the league is under 25, while only 8.3 per cent is 35-and-over. The 30-plus crowd is just under 34 per cent of the league.

And how are they paid based on age?

Younger players are cheaper, sure, but, then again, there are more of them. The big change we've seen with the implementation of the new CBA to this point has seen those players at around age 27 start to quickly climb the salary scale, and players who have gone through multiple unrestricted free agency periods aren't doing too badly either.

It's fascinating (and unexpected) that the 37-year-olds are the highest-paid group, something that ties into the fact that, if you're still playing at that age, it's generally because you're pretty darn talented.

Here's a quick runthrough of the 15 players in that age bracket, from high salary to low: Lidstrom, Fedorov, Blake, Kolzig, Zubov, Roloson, Brind'Amour, Modano, Hedican, Carney, Walz, Hill, Gelinas, Linden, Klemm.

There's a couple big tickets in there, to be sure, and a few are undeserved. My guess is, another few years with a cap around the $50-million mark, and we'll see those legacy contracts all but disappear.

Still, this proves, somewhat, that teams are still getting a bargain on their younger players, and that players under 30 are both more prevalent and cheaper on average than the league's graybeards (something that's undoubtedly tied together).

Only 10 of the 61 players who are 22 make more than $1-million (again, from high salary to low): Bergeron, Staal, Horton, Zherdev, Kesler, Carle, Fleury, Bernier, Brown and Nilsson. On the flip side, only 10 of the 51 players at age 32 make less than $1-million: Donovan, Pandolfo, Thibault, Nichol, Weekes, Adams, Roy, Nasreddine, Strudwick and Karlsson.)

Methodology: Top 750 players, 25 per team (generally using five forward lines, eight defencemen and two goaltenders), including rookies likely to make the starting lineup. Figures used are all cap hits, including bonuses (which is why you see the Under-20s grabbing a big slice of the pie). Players' ages are calculated as of today. Free agents or players without salary data available not included. This post honestly only took an hour or two to compile.

All salary information courtesy of nhlscap.com, the best salary resource available.

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3 Comments:

At 1:23 PM, August 24, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

Great piece of analysis James. It will be very useful as a baseline to measure changes in the salary/age structure in the years ahead as the full impact of the CBA starts to be felt.

With regard to Kesler, I believe he is 23 as of today - and 24 as of next week (DOB Aug. 31, 1984).

It is interesting that all of the 22 year olds making over $1 million were 1st round draft picks in 2003 - with the exception of Bergereon and Carle who were high 2nd round picks in 2003.

Other 1st round draft picks in 2003 who have had big paydays or who are soon to have them include: Vanek,Milan Michalek, Parise, Perry, Getzlaff,Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Eaves, Ryan Suter, Phaneuf, Mark Stuart and Brent Seabrook.

As time progresses and these players fully develop, I believe this will be seen as one of the best draft year in NHL history in the NUMBER of quality players drafted.

 
At 1:26 PM, August 24, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

Correction James, You ar right Kesler is 22 and 23 next week. I apologize.

 
At 2:41 PM, August 24, 2007, Blogger Brushback said...

This is awesome stuff. Plus, I guess in a way it proves what some of the players who went over to Europe this year are saying-- that the NHL isn't offering the 22-to-26-year-old players as much money.

 

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