Monday, June 30, 2008

The young UFAs

One of the most important and dramatic changes in the NHL's collective bargaining agreement was the age of unrestricted free agency, which was dropped to 27 for most players — and as low as 25 for some — coming out of the lockout.

Now, the difference between a 27-year-old free agent and a 35-year-old one is incredible: Not only will you get much more use out of a player's peak years, but you'll also avoid the increased risk that involves aged players. Under the CBA, any multi-year contract given to a 35-year-old free agent will count against the cap regardless of whether or not the player plays out the full deal.

In other words, if Brian Rolston signs in Tampa Bay for, let's say, $15-million over three years and retires after next season, there will be a cap hit of $5-million for the Lightning the next two seasons.

Here is a list of this year's 28-and-under unrestricted free agents (sorted by age then 2007-08 cap hit; noteables in blue):

Player Age Team Pos 2007-08
cap hit
1 Emery, Ray 25 OTT G $3.167
2 Voros, Aaron 26 MIN L $0.495
3 Kalinin, Dmitri 27 BUF D $2.000
4 Williams, Jason 27 CHI C $1.600
5 Vrbata, Radim 27 PHX R $1.225
6 Orpik, Brooks 27 PIT D $1.038
7 Miettinen, Antti 27 DAL L $0.885
8 Mezei, Branislav 27 FLA D $0.825
9 Vasicek, Josef 27 NYI C $0.750
10 Hainsey, Ron 27 CLB D $0.738
11 McCarthy, Steve 27 ATL D $0.725
12 Sauer, Kurt 27 COL D $0.719
13 Moore, Dominic 27 TOR C $0.700
14 Auld, Alex 27 BOS G $0.600
15 Hale, David 27 CGY D $0.590
16 Beech, Kris 27 PIT C $0.585
17 Hall, Adam 27 PIT R $0.525
18 Hordichuk, Darcy 27 CAR L $0.517
19 Winchester, Brad 27 DAL C $0.475
20 Weller, Craig 27 PHX R $0.475
21 Stuart, Brad 28 DET D $3.500
22 Mara, Paul 28 NYR D $3.000
23 Ryder, Michael 28 MTL R $2.950
24 Raycroft, Andrew 28 TOR G $2.000
25 Avery, Sean 28 NYR C $1.900
26 Rachunek, Karel 28 NJD D $1.400
27 Commodore, Mike 28 OTT D $1.250
28 Vandermeer, Jim 28 CGY D $1.225
29 Montador, Steve 28 FLA D $0.800
30 Hagman, Niklas 28 DAL L $0.675
31 Walker, Matt 28 STL D $0.600
32 Sanford, Curtis 28 VAN G $0.600
33 Davison, Rob 28 NYI D $0.525
34 Wozniewski, Andy 28 TOR D $0.500
35 Godard, Eric 28 CGY R $0.475
36 Finger, Jeff 28 COL D $0.475
37 Janik, Doug 28 TBL D $0.475

We've heard a ton about how restricted free agents are getting big contracts under the new CBA, but young unrestricted free agents are truly on the open market and will be overpaid even more than an RFA coming off an entry level deal.

Some of these players, like Orpik, Sauer and Avery, are going to be paid based on their potential despite having been in the league for a few years.



At 6:41 p.m., June 30, 2008, Blogger Julian said...

Based on the data from your site I'd say Avery is past potential and into production.

I was blown away when I saw he was in the top-10 points-per-minute among RFA/UFA forwards - and against tough opposition, too.

If he can stay healthy (a big if with that mouth) he could put up some really big numbers in the right situation.

I wonder how many millions his mouth will end up costing him.

At 9:49 p.m., June 30, 2008, Anonymous MikeP said...

Julian, you could ask the opposite: without that mouth (and the attitude that brought it on), where would Sean Avery be today?

Not the NHL, I suspect.

At 10:13 p.m., June 30, 2008, Blogger Julian said...

Good point, Mike - is Avery an elite hockey player because of his attitude or in spite of it?

Based on his scoring rate he could very likely succeed in the NHL without having to be an agitator. In fact, I imagine his shenanigans take away from his scoring to some degree.

He might be an even better player without the attitude or he might never have made it.

Is he a chicken s**t or does he have big eggs? Something to that effect, anyway.

At 11:22 p.m., July 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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