Overpriced or Steal?
The Nashville Predators signed Patric Hornqvist earlier this week and it is a huge step for the franchise. They were able to lock up their leader in goals and points from last season. After almost two months of negotiating with GM David Poile, the two sides finally agreed on a brand-new three-year deal worth 9.25 million over three years. He is to be paid 3 million over the first two years and then a slight increase to 3.25 in the last year of this contract. The term of this contract seems like a perfect fit, if it had been a one-year deal and had Hornqvist duplicated his previous season totals then the Predators would of had to sign him to probably a 4-5 million dollar contract as well as their franchise player Shea Weber in the same offseason. That would have been a disaster, but with this three-year deal both Suter and Weber would have either of been re-signed or traded as well as J.P Dumont’s contract is up and Colin Wilson would have already been re-signed. Another point about this contract that I like is the fact that after the three years are up, Hornqvist remains a RFA, which might add to the contract a little. Overall I think it is a good contract for both the Predators s well as Hornqvist, but I would like to compare it to other players around the league who are similar in goals and stats.
Let us start this off by looking at players who got similar totals to Hornqvist, by that I mean from about 25-35 goals last season and around 50 to 60 points.
Patric Hornqvist NSH R 80 30 21 51
Phil Kessel TOR R 70 30 25 55
Matt Moulson NYI L 82 30 18 48
Mikael Samuelsson VAN R 74 30 23 53
Mike Knuble WSH R 69 29 24 53
Lee Stempniak TOR, PHX R 80 28 20 48
Thomas Vanek BUF L 71 28 25 53
Stephen Weiss FLA C 80 28 32 60
Joe Pavelski SJS C 67 25 26 51
Mike Fisher OTT C 79 25 28 53
Mason Raymond VAN L 82 25 28 53
When looking at this table, which is in no particular order, we see that there are about 11 players who had similar seasons to what Hornqvist had. Now not all of these players are the same as Hornqvist, for example Vanek is a former 40-goal player so comparing his contract to Hornqvist’s seems somewhat pointless. So I have decided to cut the list somewhat and narrow it down to about four players who are the closest, that being Hornqvist, Kessel, Moulson and Raymond. All these players are in mid-twenties, have been re-signed either this year or last year, and are closest in points and goals. Now this isn’t going to be exact and I will take in to account previous seasons and etc with the players but for argument sake, let us compare their contracts.
Hornqvist was drafted in the 2005 draft last overall by the Nashville Predators, before last year he had played 28 games with the Preds posting 7 points in 28 games. He then played 49 games with the Admirals and posted 35 points and 17 goals. Last year he was maybe the surprise of the season posting 30 goals and 51 points leading the Predators in both offensive categories as well in +/- with 18. He was a major reason for the Predators making the playoffs and was among the league leaders in game winning goals with 8, one behind Danny Heatley for the league leader.
Kessel’s deal runs for 5-years and is worth 27 million, and his cap hit per year is 5.4 million. Now before being signed by the Maple Leafs last year he had played 3 seasons with the Bruins. In his rookie year he had put up 11 goals and 29 points in 70 games. Then in his second year he had 19 goals and 37 points in 82 games and in his final year he had 36 goals and 90 points in 70 games played. That is quite the jump for a player, but that was also the year that the Bruins were second in the league and had quite the season. Not to take anything away from him but for one good season he was awarded with a huge contract from Brian Burke. With that said I think some of the money came from him being a top 5 pick in the 2005 draft so a pay increase like that with a prospect with his accolades can be expected.
Next is Moulson, after his Cinderella season with the Islanders, he was awarded a contract worth 1 year 2.45 million. He has put up 48 points in all 82 games and previously had done nothing with the L.A Kings scoring 6 goals and 10 points in 29 game over 2 seasons. Before last year he was about a point a game player in the AHL with the Monarchs but had never done anything in the NHL. He too will be an RFA when his contract expires next year. He was drafted 263rd in the 2003 draft so it’s safe to say he came a little out of nowhere.
Finally is Mason Raymond, he was re-signed by Vancouver to a two-year deal worth 5.1 million at a cap hit of 2.5 million each year. Raymond was drafted 51st overall in 2007 and played 49 games for the Canucks in 07-08 posting 9 goals and 21 points, then in his second year he improved slightly by posting 23 points along with 11 goals in 72 games. Then last season he had a career year with 53 points and 25 goals scored. Before last season, he too had had not had a standout year and is just being awarded for promise, and not necessarily points.
By looking at these three players in comparison to Hornqvist, I would like to think that he is in the middle of them and is being paid accordingly. Only Kessel has played a year off his current contract and has proven to be “worth” the money. Compared to both Moulson and Raymond, Hornqvist has more years on his contract as well as got more goals than Raymond and more Points than Moulson. When looking deeper into the situation there care key factors that point at the price of each player. For Kessel he wanted a huge increase from the Bruins but they weren’t going to give it to him, so he was traded to Toronto where they had very little so he could get the same price maybe more that he was asking for from Boston. With Raymond, he played on mostly the second line in Vancouver and put up good numbers with the team and is being paid based of off steady improvement. Moulson has only a one-year deal so they paid him for the 30 goals from last season and are testing to see if it wasn’t a fluke. With Hornqvist since he lead his team in two offensive categories as well as +/- and had relatively less ice time compared to other 30 goals scorers he was given a raise because the Predators had to as they couldn’t afford to lose their top goal scorer who is only 23.
With all that in consideration I believe that this is a good deal for Nashville if Hornqvist continues to produce, if not it’s another wasted contract that was given because Poile based of off “potential” and not production.