The year was 2008, and draft experts were calling it the year of Stamkos and the defensemen. The 2008 NHL Entry Draft may go down in history as one of the best, and almost certainly the best for defensemen. Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, Erik Karlsson, Jake Gardiner, Luca Sbisa, Michael Del Zotto, John Carlson and Zach Bogosian were the best to come out of the first round.
The then Atlanta Thrashers held the third overall pick and selected New York native Zach Bogosian out of Peterborough in the OHL. Fast forward 6 years later, and it’s obvious the Thrashers made a mistake selecting Bogosian in favour of Alex Pietrangelo.
While Bogosian has proven to be a solidified NHL player, he has yet to live up to his potential. Still, for some reason, Cheveldayoff felt it was necessary to extend the injury-riddled defender to a 7-year contract.
BREAKING DOWN THE DOLLARS
After coming off a 2-year deal worth $5 million following his entry level contract, Bogosian more than doubled his cap hit without doubling his performance.
Last year was the first year of his new 7-year contract that will pay him $4 million next season, $5.2 million in 2015-16 and 2016-17, $5.5 million in 2017-18, and a whopping $6 million in the final two years. According to NhlNumbers, Bogosian’s cap hit will come in at exactly $5,142,857
Bogosian’s contract puts him in the same league as effective players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson (6 years, $5.5m cap hit), Ryan McDonagh (6 years, $4.7m cap hit), Alexander Edler (6 years, $5.0m cap hit), Dan Girardi (6 years, $5.5m cap hit) and Niklas Kronwall (7 years, $4.7m cap hit).
It almost feels like Cheveldayoff hit the panic button and hoped potential and good luck would come his way when he made this agreement, much like he did when he signed Ondrej Pavalec to a 5-year contract, despite average goaltending.
Honestly, who would you rather commit 7 years to if you had to choice between a player like Zach Bogosian and a stud like Ryan McDonagh????
WHAT DOES BOGOSIAN’S ON ICE PERFORMANCE HAVE TO SAY?
Now I want to be very clear that I like Zach Bogosian, and I think he legitimately still has a chance to realize his potential and become a solid top-pairing defensemen. I should warn you however, that I am an optimist.
The realist inside me believes that Bogosian’s injury history has taken its toll on the young player and he may never be more than a 3/4 pairing kind of guy.
As Kevin McCartney stated in his article looking at the depth chart of the Jets defenders, Bogosian played some easier minutes when paired with rookie Jacob Trouba and he excelled. When he was given tougher assignments alongside Tobias Enstrom, he struggled. That sounds like a 3/4 guy and not somebody you commit 7 years and $36 million to.
The other staggering issue is that Bogosian is producing less and less as his career goes on. Bogosian only 49 games as a rookie, but he still produces 9 goals and 19 points and had an impressive +11 start to his career.
His sophomore season was his only full NHL season, appearing in 81 games, scoring 10-13-23 but his rating plummeted to -18. It got worse in 10-11 where he dropped his point totals to 17 in 71 games, while posting a ghastly -27.
His first season in Winnipeg looked like he was turning into the player that Don Waddell thought he was getting at 3rd overall, and scored a career high 30 points in only 65 games. His 14 in 33 games during the lockout season pro-rated to 34 points so once again it looked like he was turning the corner.
Last season was a step back for Bogosian, and it can’t be easy knowing that that was the first of the seven year commitment made by Cheveldayoff.
WHY CHEVY WHY???
While I may criticize Kevin Cheveldayoff quite openly (like the majority of the Jets fan base), I can see his side in questionable moves like this.
Winnipeg has a great fan base, but apparently the city has little to offer and is not a very desirable place to live for the millionaires known as NHL hockey players. That’s why the team needs to grow their own talent, and when they have something decent that doesn’t mind the city, they lock it up.
The Bogosian and Pavalec deals make sense in that light. Cheveldayoff obviously didn’t expect to get a starting goalie and top 4 defenseman via trade or free agency, so he locked up poor men’s versions that grew in the organization.
If Bogosian can get that kind of money, can you even begin to imagine what Jacob Trouba will get in two summers when his entry level deal comes off the books??? It’s scary to think about.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Zach Bogosian is being grossly overpaid and if he continues to have injury issues, he may be subject to a buyout before this deal expires. The fact that Zach Bogosian is making more money than Ryan McDonagh is absolutely absurd.
McDonagh is a proven shut-down defender that can produce offence, punish the opposition physically and lead by example. Those kind of guys win Stanley Cups. Not 3/4 guys like Bogosian.