KEY JETS PIECE KEPT: ENSTROM RE-UPPED, PERHAPS JUSTIFIABLY

Vintage Flame
July 30 2012 03:13PM

 

(Longtime Jet's fan and frequent commentor, MC Hockey, weighs in on Winnipeg's decision to re-sign the defenseman to a long term contract with a hefty increase in pay.)

Rumors were abound and on Friday the Jets confirmed the re-signing of defenseman Tobias Enstrom to a new 5-year contract that begins in the 2013-14 season, not during this upcoming year. Given the recent less-than-desirable news the Jets have needed to manage, meaning the legal penalties handed down to key players Dustin Byfuglien and Ondrej Pavelec for their “under the influence” activities, this was a welcome bit of news for Jets fans and the whole organization. While the Jets officially do not release the contract numbers, NHLnumbers shows it as a $28.75M contract with the salary even over the term at $5.75M per annum.

THE NUMBERS:

In terms of key advanced and closer-to-mainstream statistics, here’s is how Enstrom ranked for the 2011-12 season versus other Jets players and versus the league. Statistics in A through D are from the indispensable www.behindthenet.ca and are narrowed to players with 20+ games played. Meanwhile stat E (plus/minus) is from www.nhl.com while GVT comes from www.hockeyprospectus.com. Here is how Enstrom fared versus other Jets and versus the league last year:

A. Corsi-On: Score of 11.18 was 3rd on team, 1st among Jets defensemen. Versus the whole league, Enstrom ranked 14th among D-men and 60th among all skaters.

B. Relative Corsi: Among 20+ GP-ers, his score of 14.5 was 3rd on team, 1st among Jets D. Meanwhile Tobias ranked 4th among D-men and 32nd among all skaters.

C. Off Zone Finish%: Mr. Enstrom’s score of 53.7% was 9th on team, 2nd among Jets D (after now-departed Mark Flood). The 53.7% was strong at 14th place among all NHL defensemen at and 58th among all skaters.

D. P/60 (Points per 60 Minutes). Toby’s score of 0.99 was 14th on team and 3rd among defensemen on the team. This score puts him at 35th among NHL defensemen and 337th among all NHL skaters.

E. Plus-Minus: His plus-6 was 3rd on Jets and 2nd among Jets defensemen. Among NHL players, this puts him at 70th versus other defensemen and 165th if you include all NHL skaters.

F. GVT (Goals vs. Threshold) including all players appearing in 2011-12: Score of 7.6 was 6th on team, 2nd among defensemen on team. That score also puts him at 206th in NHL (of all 983 players who appeared) and 47th among defensemen (298 of whom appeared last year).

FIRST LOOK AT WHAT THE NUMBERS MEAN

In looking at the numbers, one can draw the following conclusions: Enstrom is certainly a valuable team member given he drives possession when on the ice (indicated by Corsi-On) and the Jets possession is not as strong when he is office the ice (per the strong Relative Corsi value). The NHL Winnipeggers tend to finish in the other team’s zone at a relatively high rate with him on the ice (Off-Zone Finish). And for a defenseman, he scores points at a good clip with a P/60 score of just under 1. Finally, without being as much a risk-taker as his defense partner Dustin Byfuglien (since he had a positive plus/minus value versus Big Buff at minus-8), and using what some may call the “ultimate” measure of an NHL players value toward his team winning (namely Tom Awad’s Goals versus Threshold), Enstrom is a top player for the Jets.

BUT IS ENSTROM WORTH IT?

Skeptics may say “yes, Enstrom is good, but not 5.75M per year good” and so it’s worth a further look at the contract value and which other defensemen make that much, and some less-than-scientific factors to answer the question.

First, however, a key reminder is that his new salary is not in effect until 2013-14, so we will use the salary he had for the past 3 years because it still is in effect for 2012-13. The 5.75M question will have to wait for another year before it comes into effect, but fortunately it will give us another year of data.

Starting with the 3.75M cap hit that Toby has for 2012-13, we start by using CapGeek.com’s Cap Hit Comparables tool, and we quickly find that they are currently about 20 defensemen who will have cap hits within $250,000 of his $3.75M. Also, we are noting at least one free agent (Carlo Colaiacovo) may end up signing within that range as well.

We find that, at the current time with final salaries and players signed not finalized, we need to make adjustments and assumptions to get meaningful numbers. The goal is to compare the percentage of the team’s total (or aggregate) cap hit that Tobias Enstrom takes up versus the same measure for the other players in my list. I am calling this value the Percent of ACH (Aggregate Cap Hit). For Percent of ACH, a team would want the number to be low which means the player is a good value based on how much dollars his team pays him against their total spend on salaries. Below is the list and further down is the final explanation.

Comp No Name Team 2012-13 Cap Hit Adjusted ACH to 23 players Cap Pct with Adjusted ACH Difference in Cap Hit vs. Enstrom GVT
14 Letang, Kris PIT $3,500,000 $63,002,575 5.56% $250,000 11.4
10 Gorges, Josh MTL $3,900,000 $63,897,976 6.10% $150,000 9.7
9 Stuart, Brad SAN $3,600,000 $74,323,542 4.84% $150,000 9.3
2 Orpik, Brooks PIT $3,750,000 $63,002,575 5.95% $0 8.7
18 Meszaros, Andrej PHI $4,000,000 $66,643,373 6.00% $250,000 7.9
Subject Enstrom, Tobias WIN $3,750,000 $58,499,303 6.41% $0 7.6
4 Quincey, Kyle DET $3,775,000 $57,142,045 6.61% $25,000 6.5
1 Salo, Sami TBL $3,750,000 $63,246,916 5.93% $0 6.4
11 Schenn, Luke PHI $3,600,000 $66,643,373 5.40% $150,000 5.4
5 Souray, Sheldon ANA $3,666,667 $62,173,792 5.90% $83,333 5.3
16 Beauchemin, Francois ANA $3,500,000 $62,173,792 5.63% $250,000 5.3
3 Johnson, Erik COL $3,750,000 $56,515,530 6.64% $0 5
20 Gilbert, Tom MIN $4,000,000 $68,848,867 5.81% $250,000 4.5
7 Brewer, Eric TBL $3,875,000 $63,246,916 6.13% $125,000 4.3
13 Michalek, Zbynek PHO $4,000,000 $46,874,610 8.53% $250,000 4
6 Liles, John-Michael TOR $3,875,000 $70,326,333 5.51% $125,000 4
15 Zidlicky, Marek NJD $4,000,000 $58,632,575 6.82% $250,000 2.5
19 Whitney, Ryan EDM $4,000,000 $60,311,111 6.63% $250,000 2.5
17 Schultz, Nick EDM $3,500,000 $60,311,111 5.80% $250,000 0.1
8 Ohlund, Mattias TBL $3,607,143 $63,246,916 5.70% $142,857 0*
12 Staal, Marc NYR $3,975,000 $64,080,556 6.20% $225,000 -0.4
*Ohlund did not play in 2011-12 so GVT value is placed at Zero. 

For simplicity, the author has assumed that every team who has not signed at least 23 players will sign players the required players at the exact average salary they have paid the others players already signed. Thus, the Excel spreadsheet needed to make some adjustments and come up with a figure called Cap Pct with Adjusted ACH to 23 players. For example, while the Anaheim Ducks have only 20 players signed for a Current ACH of $54,064,167, one would find they will spend $62,173,792 in total if they sign 3 more players at the average salary of the 20 currently signed.

Re-starting the analysis at this “leveled-out basis point”, just 5 of these players will use up a higher percentage of their team’s aggregate cap hit (ACH for short) and interestingly enough, these players have a lower GVT score than Enstrom since we like to use a single value (namely GVT) as our “best singular measure” of a player’s worth. Meanwhile 14 comparables will use up less % of their team’s ACH versus Toby’s 6.60%. Interestingly and more importantly, it is also 5 different comparable players have a higher GVT score than Enstrom. Stated another way, 5 of the defenseman use up more of their company’s money than Enstrom, but he ranks 5th among all the comparables when using GVT as our key performance measure.

Therefore, at the currently salary level of 3.75M, we find Enstrom’s value to his team to be very much on par with his salary. Starting in 2013-14, things may be different, but again the Jets are counting on his performance climbing over time.

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Vintage Flame is a Calgary based sports junkie that prefers to call hockey a "religion" rather than an addiction. He believes there are two types of hockey fans. Those who cheer for the Flames, and those who don't understand the sport yet. Follow Vintage_Flame on Twitter
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#1 garret9
July 30 2012, 11:28PM
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I understand you were using caphit/gvt as determining the comparisons but I have a few small problems with that. There is no differentiation on how contracts differ from RFA vs UFA and also how years may differ more than the last for reasons beyond inflation.

I think Wideman, Carle and Garrison may be better comparisons as their contracts were signed this offseason.

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#2 Truck
July 31 2012, 09:26AM
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I hate GVT! Hate it hate it hate it!

Like everything about this piece aside from GVT.

That's just me though. :)

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#3 howard stewart
July 31 2012, 01:48PM
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I think it was interesting to fill this article with numbers, ratios and flattened salary cap influence analysis. The real issue is Tobias Enstrom too small to play defense in the NHL? As such is a five year signing of a defenseman who is skilled but too small a good long term signing for the Jets? Those are the issues being debated. Against larger forwards Enstrom is incapable of getting possession of the puck along the boards or moving the players from the front of the net. That is a liability...and a fact of life for "Teeny Tiny Tobias."

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#4 garret9
July 31 2012, 04:53PM
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@Howard Stewart

I would say he isn't too small for the NHL or the Jets.

What do we know: 1) His pts/gm is in the top10 when combining the last 3 years and last season was in the top20. So offensively speaking he's not just good enough for the NHL, he's elite. 2) You mentioned possesion. Currently, Corsi, is the best measure of possesion possible. As shown above, Enstrom has very good possesion stats. So while he may lose a board battle due to his small stature, his skill level seems to outweigh his weakness more often than not. 3) Remember when he got injured and Buff got angry and got a 4 min penalty for "ragdolling" the guy... Ya it appears he's got some protection.

Summary: Yes, he is short. Yes this can cause him to lose a puck battle or two which sucks. But, no one is a NHL 13 10/10. Everyone has their faults. Some guys have the size but can't skate worth anything and some have the size but don't use it. In the end it is the end package and overall outcome that matters. So far the results have shown, you are wrong.

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#5 garret9
July 31 2012, 04:54PM
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@Howard I forgot to add that an "undersized" (ie: smaller than 6') dman has been on every NHL team but Canucks to reach the finals since the lockout

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#6 Truck
August 01 2012, 10:08AM
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howard stewart wrote:

I think it was interesting to fill this article with numbers, ratios and flattened salary cap influence analysis. The real issue is Tobias Enstrom too small to play defense in the NHL? As such is a five year signing of a defenseman who is skilled but too small a good long term signing for the Jets? Those are the issues being debated. Against larger forwards Enstrom is incapable of getting possession of the puck along the boards or moving the players from the front of the net. That is a liability...and a fact of life for "Teeny Tiny Tobias."

I see those issues as nonsensical.

He has consistently proven to be among the best in the league at both offence and at defense. Shot differentials are about puck possession. If you possess the puck, you are winning defensively.

If the Jets consistently allow less shots and goals against with Toby on the ice than they do while he is on the bench, is there really an argument that he is too small to be effective?

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#7 MC Hockey
August 02 2012, 01:01PM
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Hi all, Thanks for commenting on my article and your compliments...just a bit more to add/reply on:

1. I am not sure size, but perhaps strength could be an issue with Enstrom. However, if you look at Cup Winners like ex-Devil and ex-Red Wing Brian Rafalski, his ability to skate and do other things well made him a good defender while being smallish, so perhaps Tobias can follow that lead.

2. Truck - Thanks for the kind words in comment #2. But what don't you like about GVT...can you explain? Perhaps you can offer some wisdom to the advanced-stats community.

3. Re; Garrett comment #1 "There is no differentiation on how contracts differ from RFA vs UFA and also how years may differ more than the last for reasons beyond inflation...I think Wideman, Carle and Garrison may be better comparisons as their contracts were signed this offseason."...two questions:

1. In what way do you think RFA vs UFA contracts have a difference in what term or amount they are signed?

2. Can you explain this part more clearly? "and also how years may differ more than the last for reasons beyond inflation"

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#8 Archie
August 03 2012, 08:35AM
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I think this was a great signing. They didn't just sign their talented D man (size doesn't matter as long as your whole lineup isn't like that), they proved that they are willing to put the bucks up for talent to the rest of the league. I really think they are making their mark on this team and I applaud what they are doing. It's kind of exciting to see the muscle this owner ship can have in a small market like Winnipeg. Having some connections close to the ownership group (and yes, both). I've over heard that they threatened two other teams about even thinking about taking a certain player. (again, this is coming from good sources and I'm a Jets fan in Calgary). Fun to watch and hear about.

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#9 garret9
August 03 2012, 07:37PM
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@MC Hockey

Well economical and monetary value (not the same but similar) of a player is created by market demands, percieved value and leverage... not just merely by their value in usage (in this case being measured in terms of GVT)...

In economics this is called the paradox of value. Water is essential but due to it's huge availability it's monetary worth is negligable. For example people can get more if that characther is in high demand (ex: all the GM's hubbing over grit after the Bruins win). Supply of the particular type of player can also affect the value.

Also, all contracts in the NHL are negotiated; and therefore, the amount of leverage an individual has against the other party can screw value. Most RFA's have very little leverage and at most can threaten a) jumping to KHL/SEL/etc or b) sitting on their a55 and not signing. Plus, UFA's have the possibility of biding war to up their monetary value.

To me, I won't know 100% on what type of "deal" or "rip-off" the Jet's recieved until I can compare Enstrom to both (and seperately) similar calibre players and similar cap hits.

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#10 garret9
August 03 2012, 07:38PM
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garret9 wrote:

Well economical and monetary value (not the same but similar) of a player is created by market demands, percieved value and leverage... not just merely by their value in usage (in this case being measured in terms of GVT)...

In economics this is called the paradox of value. Water is essential but due to it's huge availability it's monetary worth is negligable. For example people can get more if that characther is in high demand (ex: all the GM's hubbing over grit after the Bruins win). Supply of the particular type of player can also affect the value.

Also, all contracts in the NHL are negotiated; and therefore, the amount of leverage an individual has against the other party can screw value. Most RFA's have very little leverage and at most can threaten a) jumping to KHL/SEL/etc or b) sitting on their a55 and not signing. Plus, UFA's have the possibility of biding war to up their monetary value.

To me, I won't know 100% on what type of "deal" or "rip-off" the Jet's recieved until I can compare Enstrom to both (and seperately) similar calibre players and similar cap hits.

... from the same year the contract begins********

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#11 garret9
August 03 2012, 07:41PM
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@MC Hockey

haha also forgot to add that the term of a contract can affect the monetary compensation... since the player is trading monetary compensation with safety in term

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#12 MC Hockey
August 07 2012, 08:08PM
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garret9 wrote:

Well economical and monetary value (not the same but similar) of a player is created by market demands, percieved value and leverage... not just merely by their value in usage (in this case being measured in terms of GVT)...

In economics this is called the paradox of value. Water is essential but due to it's huge availability it's monetary worth is negligable. For example people can get more if that characther is in high demand (ex: all the GM's hubbing over grit after the Bruins win). Supply of the particular type of player can also affect the value.

Also, all contracts in the NHL are negotiated; and therefore, the amount of leverage an individual has against the other party can screw value. Most RFA's have very little leverage and at most can threaten a) jumping to KHL/SEL/etc or b) sitting on their a55 and not signing. Plus, UFA's have the possibility of biding war to up their monetary value.

To me, I won't know 100% on what type of "deal" or "rip-off" the Jet's recieved until I can compare Enstrom to both (and seperately) similar calibre players and similar cap hits.

Yes, I get the economics stuff. All that makes sense, I want you to be more specific...in 2nd year university I was in honors economics but I like realness vs theory inthe world. So moved on. I hope you can expand on weightings I can use, comparables, etc otherwise you are just trying to look smart without any solutions to those issues.

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