(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.
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|
*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.