Friday, July 21, 2017

The Draisaitl Contract: Part 2b - A Bridge Deal and Cap Management

In addition to more time for player evaluation, a bridge contract would give Edmonton salary cap flexibility they wouldn't have with a long term contract for Draisaitl. Before we get to some of the aspects of cap management to consider, we should take a quick look at what might constitute a reasonable* bridge contract for Draisaitl.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Draisaitl Contract: Part 2a - A Bridge Deal and Player Evaluation

A long term deal, or a bridge contract?  In answering that question for Draisaitl, the Oilers will have a few factors to consider.  Throughout this series of posts I will look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each, concluding with my preference (from the outside looking in) were I in Edmonton's position. 

Player Evaluation

Given his age, we know from the outset this contract will be based on projection.  Draisaitl is a young player, steadily improving (hopefully, for both the Oilers and Draisaitl himself). He's not playing at an MVP-level like McDavid already, nor is he (likely) going to be paid like one. The advantage of a bridge contract, from an evaluation standpoint, is having the time to answer any lingering questions about Draisaitl's ability to carry a line by himself. We can debate the extent to which Draisaitl benefited from playing with McDavid, but I've yet to hear the argument that he didn't benefit. The Oilers are in an unusual situation with five RFA years for Draisaitl; gathering more information wouldn't hurt the Oilers prior to signing a longer term contract. The issue at hand is the cost of acquiring that information, should the team decline to sign Draisaitl long term this summer. Part of the difficulty in evaluating this situation from the outside looking in is that we are working with incomplete information.  Presumably, if Draisaitl were willing to sign Scheifele or Monahan's deal, the contract would already be done.  Some speculation puts the number to sign long term around 9M AAV. For argument's sake, let's assume it would actually take 64M over 8 years (8M AAV) to get Draisaitl to sign long term this summer. Forwards in the NHL are largely paid on offensive production.  If Draisaitl, at C during even strength behind McDavid, posts solid, but lesser, numbers the next two seasons, it's unlikely the Oilers would have to pay a significant premium (if any) when compared to the current long term cost*; they could potentially even sign him for less long term than it would cost today. If he produces notably more than expected in that role, and Edmonton has to pay him 9M, even 10M, vs. his cost today, maybe that is perfectly fine?  Yes, they'd be paying somewhat more than if they'd have signed him long term this summer, but (a) they'd be more sure what Draisaitl is on his own, (b) they'd have gained a cap benefit in the short term (much more detail to follow on the cap benefits in Part 2b) and (c) if they get him signed for 8 years 2 years from now, they would have him under contract until 32, instead of until 30.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Draisaitl Contract: Part 1 - The "Percentage of the Cap" Argument

In the build up towards Connor McDavid signing his 8 year, $100M contract extension, much has made of McDavid's "percentage of the cap", and how it compares to Crosby's when he signed his post-ELC deal*. While I understand the temptation to look at this situation from that perspective, I don't love the "percentage of the cap" argument, even for McDavid. The idea behind it makes some sense, in theory.  However, in practice, looking at a percentage from 10 years ago is only an appropriate comparison if the general league wide allocation of salaries is the same.  Since Crosby's post ELC contract was signed, the cap has increased faster than the salaries of the highest paid players, as expressed by a percentage of the cap, which in my opinion means that a straight across comparison of percentage wouldn't capture the changing league dynamics.