How much money does Drew Stafford deserve?

Recently we looked at what Michael Frolik is worth in terms of comparable on ice impact. Drew Stafford is the Jets next big name entering the free agent market.

We are planning on doing a more in depth look of Drew Stafford’s contributions to the team in our Winnipeg Jets by the Numbers series. We thought we’d investigate, since the topic of Jets re-signing their pending free agents has come up quite a few times over Twitter and the radio.

Let’s take a look at how history suggests Stafford should get paid.

Drew Stafford created a lot of offense during his time as a Jet. 

In 26 games he scored nine goals and ten assists. That was the highest point production per minute of ice time for any Jet forward, although it is not a pace that one should expect Stafford to repeat. During his time as a Jet he shot at 16 percent and the Jets shot at 11 percent with him on the ice. Stafford has historically been a 10 percent shooter with his team shoots at 9 percent with him on the ice.

Over the season, Stafford produced 43 points, which is good enough for 108th in the NHL and bonafide top six production. There is some concerns though with Stafford’s two-way numbers being nothing short of a catastrophe, even when singling out just his minutes as a Jet.

Using the Eucludian Distance application on WAR-on-Ice developed by Manny, we can estimate recent players that performed similar Drew Staffords in terms of statistical value.

Staffords’s numbers are as follow:

Screen shot 2015-05-18 at 10.09.23 AM

The numbers looked at were goals, assists, points, and shots attempt volume relative to time on ice, plus relative Corsi differential, relative scoring chance differential, relative goal differential, and percentage of team’s time on ice. I then further filtered the list to players within a year of Stafford’s age.

The ten statistical cohorts are as follow:

Screen shot 2015-05-18 at 10.10.16 AM

This is not quite the same list that Michael Frolik was able to generate. While Frolik had players like Claude Giroux, David Backes, Carl Hagelin, Eric Staal, and Mike Cammalleri, Stafford brings up less gratifying cohorts. Many of these players were close to the ends of their careers at this point.

We then take the average salary of these players relative to the Salary Cap that season, to normalize for Cap inflation.

There range is smaller for Stafford, from Mark Letestu’s 1.0 per cent of the Cap to Ryan Malone’s 10.6. Overall we get an expected value of 4.76 per cent of the cap, which is a pay decrease from Stafford’s previous season.

Early estimates have the 2015-2016 Salary Cap ranging from 70-71 million dollars.

This would mean that the average player that performed like Drew Stafford did per minute last season would expect a compensation between 3.33 to 3.38 million per year. What’s even scarier is that underlying numbers indicate that Stafford’s success last season is likely to regress next year.

It should be noted, that this method ignores impact on special teams and any off-ice contributions or value.

All numbers are courtesy of WAR-on-Ice.