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The Pending Contract of Johnny Gaudreau

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He'll almost definitely get paid by the Flames - How much?

The odds of Gaudreau's contract
The odds of Gaudreau's contract
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames off-season officially began on Saturday after a two to one victory over the Minnesota Wild.  One could make the argument that it actually started well before that as they were mathematically eliminated on March 26th prior to a game against the Chicago Blackhawks.  Fans post-season excitement from last year has been replaced with off-season anxiety, one that will see the team strapped for cash and needing to re-sign their two biggest names at forward.

The most pertinent thing the front office will have to do this year is re-sign Johnny Gaudreau.  Gaudreau's contract will likely be one of the more leviathan contacts that the team has handed out.  Due to the nature of these negotiations, there is a large amount of play on how much cap space the new contact will take up.  While a ten percent swing on contract offer of 700 thousand has a swing of 70 thousand dollars each way for a total of 140 thousand, a ten percent swing on a contract of 7 million comes out to 700 thousand or 1.4 million.  The former equals about a quarter of a minimum contract; the later equals about 2.5 minimum contracts.

That's all well and good, but how much will Gaudreau actually command?  That's a considerably more complex question.  Here what's known about statistics as they relate to both winning and how much a player gets paid.

Gaudreau's Statistics

First and foremost the point of hockey is to outscore the opponent.  As such, players that score goals are obviously at a premium.  Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, and Erik Karlsson are paid because they put up points.  Steve Burtch has a good article here showing which statistics correlate with winning hockey.  While the article is a bit old showing what Dave Nonis was trying to do for the Maple Leafs, the underlying data still applies.

Beyond that, the data shows that possession, particularly Fenwick, is an important stat in getting a team to a win.  For those that don't quite understand Fenwick and Corsi, there's a primer listed here.  In addition to that, there are newer statistics like xG (or expected goals) which carry an even higher rate of correlation.

Over the past two seasons Gaudreau did quite well in each category across all situations.  This is difference is mostly due to the fact that he's particularly spectacular on special teams.  His possession numbers in five on five situations could use some work, but so could nearly everyone on the Flames - the fact that he's as close to even as possible in relative Fenwick when his percentage is at 46.88 percent points more towards a coaching problem than it does an individual player problem.

All Situations (xGF% and Rel.xGF% Score, Zone, Venue Adjusted)
G A P G60 A60 P60 xGF% Rel.xGF%
Value 54
88
142
1.09 1.77 2.86 58.85% 9.62%
Rank 23
14
11 45 19 13 72 68
5v5 Situations Score, Zone, Venue Adjusted
FF60 FA60 FF% xGF60 xGA60 xGF% Rel.FF% Rel.xGF%
Value 39.85 44.19 47.42% 2.43 2.71 47.24% .38% -.57%
Rank 275 363 329 218 380
329 198
257
Rank out of top 450 Forwards in minutes played in Situation
Data from http://www.corsica.hockey/skaters/

Costs per Point

Statistics are useful in determining how much players get paid, particularly points.  Using CapFriendly, the cost per point can be determined for players that are currently under standard contracts.  That comes out to $240,798.41 per goal, $175,259.64 per assist, and $101,433.55 per point.

The math on this doesn't add up however.  Based on Gaudreau's 78 points last season, that would get him a little over 7.9 million - a sum that would eclipse Vladimir Tarasenko's total of 7.5 million which he received last year.  That doesn't seem likely in the slightest.

In addition to this, these numbers include all players across all age ranges.  It's also retroactive to players have already been paid.  Some will exceed those values, others will fall far short of expectations (See Lance Bouma and Mason Raymond).  Better methodology would have to be used to come up with a contract value.

Recent Contracts

Looking at the data from 2013-2015, there are 146 contracts that have been awarded to players aged 22-24 and have gone on to play the next season.  These are all players that would be getting restricted free agent contacts.  Some are high profile athletes that lead their teams; others are not-so-good - roll players that play minimally.

One thing to note is that none of them had shown the offensive prowess that Gaudreau has demonstrated in his first two seasons.  Tarasenko's offensive numbers were certainly steller, but Gaudreau put up 26 additional points in the two years prior to his contract.  That said, others came close to Tarasenko's numbers and received substantially less money, so maybe a Tarasenko type contract is not in the cards.  The contracts given out are listed below.

Name Contract Year G A P Most Recent Contract Name Contract Year G A P Most Recent Contract
Vladimir Tarasenko 20152016 58 58 116 $7,500,000 Quinton Howden 20152016 4 2 6 $851,000
Matt Duchene 20142015 40 73 113 $6,000,000 Anders Lee 20142015 10 6 16 $851,000
Jordan Eberle 20132014 50 63 113 $6,000,000 Emerson Etem 20152016 12 9 21 $850,000
Brandon Saad 20152016 42 57 99 $6,000,000 Kenny Agostino 20152016 1 1 2 $830,000
Sam Gagner 20132014 32 53 85 $4,800,000 Stephane Da Costa 20132014 4 3 7 $825,000
Tyler Ennis 20142015 31 43 74 $4,600,000 Micheal Ferland 20152016 2 3 5 $825,000
Max Pacioretty 20132014 48 56 104 $4,500,000 Jacob Josefson 20142015 2 4 6 $800,000
Cody Hodgson 20132014 34 41 75 $4,250,000 Jeremy Morin 20142015 6 7 13 $800,000
Nazem Kadri 20152016 38 51 89 $4,100,000 Beau Bennett 20152016 7 12 19 $800,000
Nick Bjugstad 20152016 40 41 81 $4,100,000 Johan Larsson 20152016 6 14 20 $800,000
Adam Henrique 20132014 27 40 67 $4,000,000 Devante Smith-Pelly 20142015 2 8 10 $800,000
Ryan Johansen 20142015 38 36 74 $4,000,000 Lance Bouma 20142015 5 10 15 $775,000
Marcus Johansson 20152016 28 63 91 $3,750,000 Peter Holland 20142015 9 7 16 $775,000
Brendan Gallagher 20152016 43 45 88 $3,750,000 Dmitrij Jaskin 20152016 14 6 20 $775,000
Jakob Silfverberg 20152016 23 39 62 $3,750,000 Mike Hoffman 20142015 3 3 6 $750,000
Kyle Turris 20132014 24 34 58 $3,500,000 Zac Rinaldo 20132014 5 9 14 $750,000
Mark Stone 20152016 30 42 72 $3,500,000 Brad Malone 20132014 1 3 4 $735,000
Reilly Smith 20152016 33 58 91 $3,425,000 Calle Jarnkrok 20152016 9 18 27 $735,000
Tyler Johnson 20142015 27 29 56 $3,333,000 Teemu Pulkkinen 20152016 5 3 8 $735,000
Ondrej Palat 20142015 25 38 63 $3,333,000 Joakim Andersson 20132014 3 5 8 $733,000
Josh Bailey 20132014 24 27 51 $3,300,000 Andrei Loktionov 20132014 11 8 19 $725,000
Tyler Toffoli 20152016 35 43 78 $3,250,000 Tyler Pitlick 20142015 1 0 1 $725,000
Jonathan Huberdeau 20152016 24 58 82 $3,250,000 Zac Dalpe 20142015 5 5 10 $700,000
Charlie Coyle 20152016 23 42 65 $3,200,000 Jordan Nolan 20132014 4 6 10 $700,000
Derek Stepan 20132014 35 60 95 $3,075,000 Magnus Paajarvi 20152016 6 7 13 $700,000
Mikael Granlund 20152016 16 64 80 $3,000,000 Greg McKegg 20152016 0 0 0 $700,000
Evgeny Kuznetsov 20152016 14 32 46 $3,000,000 Shane Prince 20152016 0 1 1 $700,000
Tomas Tatar 20142015 23 23 46 $2,750,000 Eric Tangradi 20132014 1 5 6 $675,000
Nino Niederreiter 20142015 14 22 36 $2,667,000 Garrett Wilson 20152016 0 0 0 $675,000
Mika Zibanejad 20152016 36 43 79 $2,625,000 Curtis McKenzie 20152016 4 1 5 $675,000
Mikkel Boedker 20132014 18 32 50 $2,550,000 Lane MacDermid 20132014 2 0 2 $660,000
Brayden Schenn 20142015 28 39 67 $2,500,000 Luke Adam 20142015 2 0 2 $650,000
Brock Nelson 20152016 34 34 68 $2,500,000 Carl Klingberg 20142015 1 0 1 $650,000
Chris Kreider 20142015 19 21 40 $2,475,000 Michael Chaput 20152016 1 5 6 $650,000
Andrew Shaw 20142015 29 25 54 $2,000,000 Oscar Lindberg 20152016 0 0 0 $650,000
Craig Smith 20132014 18 30 48 $2,000,000 Paul Byron 20132014 3 3 6 $643,000
Antoine Roussel 20142015 21 23 44 $2,000,000 Nicolas Deslauriers 20142015 1 0 1 $637,000
Cody Eakin 20142015 23 36 59 $1,900,000 Max Friberg 20152016 0 0 0 $632,000
Marcus Foligno 20142015 12 25 37 $1,875,000 Jordan Szwarz 20142015 3 0 3 $630,000
Zack Kassian 20142015 21 19 40 $1,750,000 Patrice Cormier 20142015 0 3 3 $625,000
Kyle Clifford 20152016 9 14 23 $1,600,000 Matt Fraser 20132014 1 2 3 $625,000
Alex Burmistrov 20152016 0 0 0 $1,550,000 Brandon McMillan 20142015 2 5 7 $625,000
Mikael Backlund 20132014 12 15 27 $1,500,000 Jordan Martinook 20152016 0 1 1 $613,000
Nick Spaling 20132014 19 16 35 $1,500,000 Brandon Mashinter 20132014 0 0 0 $605,000
Tanner Pearson 20152016 15 8 23 $1,400,000 Joakim Nordstrom 20152016 1 5 6 $605,000
Marcus Kruger 20132014 13 26 39 $1,325,000 Zach Boychuk 20142015 2 4 6 $600,000
Joe Colborne 20142015 10 18 28 $1,275,000 Jordan Caron 20142015 2 4 6 $600,000
Alex Chiasson 20152016 24 37 61 $1,200,000 Mattias Tedenby 20132014 1 6 7 $600,000
Cam Atkinson 20132014 16 16 32 $1,150,000 Tomas Vincour 20142015 2 2 4 $600,000
Brett Connolly 20152016 13 5 18 $1,025,000 Cory Conacher 20142015 18 37 55 $600,000
Casey Cizikas 20142015 12 19 31 $1,000,000 Jonathan Marchessault 20152016 1 0 1 $600,000
Erik Haula 20152016 13 16 29 $1,000,000 Tye McGinn 20142015 7 3 10 $600,000
Linden Vey 20152016 10 19 29 $1,000,000 Colton Sceviour 20132014 0 1 1 $600,000
Matthew Calvert 20132014 9 10 19 $988,000 Christian Thomas 20152016 1 0 1 $600,000
Anton Lander 20152016 6 15 21 $988,000 Brett Bulmer 20152016 0 0 0 $600,000
Richard Panik 20152016 14 16 30 $975,000 Craig Cunningham 20142015 0 0 0 $600,000
Gustav Nyquist 20132014 4 9 13 $950,000 Landon Ferraro 20152016 1 0 1 $600,000
Riley Sheahan 20142015 9 15 24 $950,000 Philip Varone 20152016 4 3 7 $600,000
Ryan Spooner 20152016 8 21 29 $950,000 Andrew Agozzino 20152016 0 1 1 $600,000
Jesper Fast 20152016 6 8 14 $950,000 Ronalds Kenins 20152016 4 8 12 $600,000
Jimmy Hayes 20142015 12 10 22 $925,000 Nicholas Shore 20152016 1 6 7 $600,000
Brandon Pirri 20142015 13 12 25 $925,000 Brody Sutter 20152016 0 0 0 $600,000
Andrej Nestrasil 20152016 7 13 20 $912,000 Chris Wagner 20152016 0 0 0 $600,000
Jason Zucker 20142015 8 2 10 $900,000 Andy Andreoff 20152016 2 1 3 $588,000
Sven Baertschi 20152016 4 13 17 $900,000 Corey Tropp 20132014 3 5 8 $578,000
Tomas Jurco 20152016 11 22 33 $900,000 Riley Nash 20132014 4 6 10 $575,000
Jean-Gabriel Pageau 20152016 12 9 21 $900,000 Jason Akeson 20142015 1 1 2 $575,000
Taylor Beck 20152016 8 8 16 $875,000 Chris Brown 20152016 2 1 3 $575,000
Jayson Megna 20142015 5 4 9 $874,000 Austin Watson 20152016 0 0 0 $575,000
Vladislav Namestnikov 20152016 9 7 16 $874,000 Michael Latta 20142015 1 3 4 $575,000
Timothy Schaller 20152016 1 1 2 $874,000 Stanislav Galiev 20152016 1 0 1 $575,000
Gabriel Bourque 20152016 12 27 39 $866,000 Gabriel Dumont 20132014 1 2 3 $562,000
Carter Ashton 20142015 0 3 3 $851,000 Anthony Peluso 20132014 0 2 2 $562,000

Of course all of this assumes that contracts are rewarded based solely on a player's point total.  There are a number of other statistics which players can be graded on from traditional stats like hits to advanced ones like blocked shots.  Each of them can carry different clout.

Statistical Correlation with Salary

There are a plethora of statistics from rates to net totals which show a players production in a given category.  As previously aforementioned there's already enough data to show which ones correlate with winning.  They do not ultimately show what a player winds up getting paid.

Taking the statistics from the R^2 values helps to paint a picture of which ones they do get paid on.  The picture shows that points do matter, but the type of point matters as well.  Secondary assists were largely ignored, instead going with the primary assists and goals.  As a matter of fact, merely being out on the ice for a goal was more reliable of a statistic than the secondary assist.

Stat 5v5 - No Min 5v5 - 500 Minute Min All - No Min All - 500 Minute Min PP - No Min PP - 50 Minute Min
P1 .8252 .7909 .8667 .8453 .7086 .5561
P .8125 .7744 .8552 .8306 .7023 .5467
G .7976 .7394 .8434 .8095 .5846 .3866
A .7508 .6678 .7998 .7415 .6459 .4792
GF .7505 .6881 .7990 .7549 .6493 .4680
A1 .7513 .6692 .7956 .7316 .6456 .4872
iSF .7224 .6365 .7649 .7074 .6581 .4738
iFF .7245 .6461 .7630 .7076 .6586 .4734
iCF .7119 .6114 .7514 .6815 .6786 .5056
ixG .7217 .6386 .7393 .6631 .5224 .2903
xGF .7007 .6256 .7290 .6562 .6026 .3898
A2 .6158 .4593 .7242 .6341 .5176 .3306
SF .6722 .5871 .7159 .6516 .6404 .4451
FF .6748 .5955 .7151 .6518 .6261 .4231
CF .6719 .5872 .7115 .6447 .6263 .4230
iRS .6566 .5298 .6759 .5728 .2665 .1221
SA .6572 .5600 .6548 .5721 .6315 .4331
iGVA .6064 .4490 .6538 .5381 .5505 .3437
FA .6504 .5506 .6472 .5595 .6309 .4328
CA .6442 .5395 .6406 .5486 .6543 .4672
xGA .6673 .5760 .6398 .5418 .6265 .4220
iTKA .6569 .5468 .6346 .5211 .3250 .1339
GA .6076 .4608 .6043 .4798 .5377 .3432
iRB .5081 .3092 .5622 .4124 .3868 .2068
iPEND .4181 .2073 .4768 .3019 .1851 .0715
iHA .3504 .1048 .3965 .1904 .5301 .3129
iBLK .4126 .1764 .3826 .1801 .1464 .0657
iFOL .2348 .0978 .2493 .1230 .2988 .1414
iFOW .2242 .0939 .2434 .1235 .2991 .1461
Rel.CF60 .1208 .2942 .2056 .3841 .1408 .0189
xGF60 .0929 .2826 .2039 .3520 .1619 .0080
iPENT .1631 .0071 .1997 .0365 .1310 .0662
Rel.xGF60 .0841 .3915 .1803 .4255 .0827 .0127
Rel.FF60 .0925 .2539 .1752 .3583 .1434 .0282
iPENDIFF .2414 .2165 .1617 .1805 .0629 .0284
CF60 .1086 .1617 .1581 .2140 .1559 .0053
FF60 .0937 .1554 .1551 .2134 .1860 .0156
P160 .0791 .4977 .1509 .5346 .2647 .1799
Rel.SF60 .0743 .2500 .1491 .3666 .1027 .0350
SF60 .0834 .1613 .1474 .2326 .1611 .0362
iHF .1177 .0007 .1348 .0050 .2372 .0359
ixG60 .0677 .2101 .1311 .2733 .1311 .0037
xFSh% .0286 .2244 .1227 .3145 .0638 .0000
Rel.CF% .0226 .0690 .1177 .2706 .0069 .0016
Rel.xGF% .0212 .1303 .1136 .3352 .0058 .0030
xGF% .0298 .0253 .1121 .1831 .0618 .0048
PENDIFF .1942 .1722 .1089 .1159 .3169 .2274
Rel.FF% .0203 .0395 .1088 .2506 .0069 .0041
SF% .0215 .0001 .1002 .1121 .0774 .0001
FF% .0230 .0025 .0977 .1045 .0679 .0027
CF% .0225 .0058 .0951 .1042 .0397 .0138
Rel.SF% .0153 .0283 .0950 .2450 .0047 .0030
iFF60 .0753 .1687 .0939 .1988 .1324 .0008
G60 .0451 .3237 .0904 .3792 .1324 .0091
iCF60 .0736 .1602 .0834 .1876 .1644 .0062
Rel.xFSh% .0260 .3506 .0832 .3729 .0022 .0018
iSF60 .0631 .1936 .0802 .2301 .1179 .0030
A160 .0427 .3695 .0799 .3864 .1883 .2244
GF% .0322 .1328 .0658 .2587 .1811 .0011
Rel.ZSR .0123 .0778 .0650 .1382 .0237 .0219
P60 .0250 .5209 .0575 .5653 .2946 .1615
FSh% .0172 .3211 .0422 .3961 .0772 .0636
xPDO .0085 .0660 .0416 .2283 .1419 .0030
Sh% .0145 .3133 .0380 .3895 .0992 .0507
Rel.GF% .0115 .1647 .0366 .2776 .0030 .0017
Rel.FSh% .0159 .3103 .0342 .3718 .0246 .0206
GF60 .0103 .3725 .0319 .4615 .2050 .0803
Rel.Sh% .0135 .3017 .0318 .3648 .0301 .0188
PDO .0153 .1802 .0315 .2414 .1612 .0039
iFO% .0227 .0050 .0314 .0014 .0832 .0009
Rel.GF60 .0107 .3989 .0303 .4705 .0158 .0472
ixFSh% .0044 .0064 .0279 .0216 .0548 .0293
iCSh% .0104 .1399 .0274 .1332 .0183 .0040
iSh% .0105 .1197 .0262 .1218 .0304 .0010
CSh% .0091 .3055 .0249 .3929 .0985 .0755
iFSh% .0080 .1409 .0230 .1445 .0250 .0000
Rel.CSh% .0082 .3059 .0195 .3754 .0364 .0247
A60 .0061 .3816 .0168 .4422 .2446 .1738
CA60 .0033 .0743 .0143 .0046 .0664 .0469
FA60 .0018 .0927 .0103 .0007 .0511 .0286
SA60 .0128 .1225 .0080 .0000 .0372 .0277
Rel.CA60 .0077 .1128 .0064 .0416 .0365 .0078
Rel.FSv% .0036 .0067 .0052 .0031 .0006 .0009
FO% .0000 .0167 .0047 .0002 .0189 .0056
Rel.CSv% .0031 .0128 .0046 .0074 .0013 .0005
Rel.FA60 .0045 .1574 .0043 .0187 .0312 .0046
Rel.xGA60 .0165 .2043 .0026 .0344 .0489 .0002
xGA60 .0056 .1235 .0019 .0001 .1247 .0092
xFSv% .0005 .0321 .0016 .0000 .1202 .0037
Rel.Sv% .0008 .0047 .0015 .0026 .0015 .0003
Rel.SA60 .0193 .1571 .0014 .0121 .0242 .0063
FSv% .0001 .0000 .0007 .0014 .1177 .0035
CSv% .0001 .0007 .0006 .0001 .1119 .0012
Rel.GA60 .0031 .0438 .0006 .0000 .0076 .0031
GA60 .0003 .0249 .0002 .0018 .0118 .0112
A260 .0001 .1378 .0001 .2271 .1193 .0376
Adj.FSv% .0000 .0048 .0001 .0019 .0006 .0012
Avg.DIST .0006 .0052 .0001 .0014 .0957 .0625
Rel.xFSv% .0023 .0402 .0001 .0374 .0097 .0013
Sv% .0001 .0009 .0000 .0024 .1280 .0026

The most important statistics were the volumes at which players scored.   Even with high minute filters, the rates didn't matter as much as the volume did.  Rates never lead to half the standard deviation and thus can largely be ignored.

In fact, most numbers could largely ignored.  Even when thrown into more complex formulas, the most accurate formula turned out to be one of the simplest - $74,823.65 dollars per goal plus $48,319.35 per primary assist.  The projected dollar amount comes out relatively close what a player was actually paid.  The expected salary vs the actual on all players excluding those expected to make less than the minimum looks something like this:

Expected vs. Actual Salary

It's worth noting that the further away from zero expected the worse the results seem to get.  Once the value is at two million it mostly stabilizes however.  That data looks more like this.

Salary 2

The Gaudreau Estimate

In Gaudreau's previous two seasons, he put up 54 goals and 55 primary assists.  By the math, that would put his contract at around a $6,698,041.35.  For comparison, Tarasenko's contract was projected to be $5,885,990.90 and he received 7.5 million per year.

This doesn't exactly mean that Gaudreau should expect to receive 7.5 million dollars like Tarasenko did.  Tarasenko's contract was an over-payment in the sense that the Blues had to give him the money as they were not only competing with NHL teams, but also Russia.  Gaudreau is not likely to jump overseas anytime soon and he cannot be tendered an offer from an opposing team.

Gaudreau's contract would have to deviate from the expected value by approximately 800 thousand dollars to get Tarasenko money.  Based on the deviation required on the samples of players projected to make over two million, there's only about 12.8 percent chance of that occurring.  He could certainly come close. There's at least a 50 percent chance that the contract should come in somewhere between 6.1 million and 7.3 million, a 75 percent chance that the contract comes between 5.9 and 7.5 million, and a roughly 92.5 percent chance that it falls between 5.15 and 8.25 million when going by the smaller sample size.

Of course if it stays true to the original sample size of those projected to make over the minimum, that changes considerably.  With those numbers, there lies about a 50 percent chance that he takes home somewhere between 6.35 million and 7.05 million, a 75 percent chance that he winds up taking home 6.075 million and 7.325 million and a 92.5 percent chance that he winds up with a contract worth somewhere between 5.55 million and 7.85 million.  The Flames will obviously prefer to keep it to this metric and try and lock Gaudreau up and the best cost that they possibly can.