Flames fans took a
sigh of relief with the resigning of captain Mark Giordano to a 6
year, 40.5 million dollar (6.75 AAV) extension, while looking
over at their Jets rivals in contempt as they patiently await the
re-signing of Dustin Byfuglien.
Byfuglien is coming off a contract
that has had an average cap hit of 5.2 million dollars and will be
looking for a raise, like most NHL players.
The Jets cannot
afford to lose Dustin Byfuglien if they expect to build on last
season and the current core. As Garret Hohl recently noted, the Jets are all in for a youth
movement for this upcoming season and they will need Byfuglien for
stability on the back end. As well, Byfuglien’s offensive production of 18 goals and 27 assists would be needed for any team, but especially the Jets, who ranked 16th in goals for.
Before we start
talking dollars, lets talk hockey and compare Byfuglien with
Giordano, as well as a few other similar defencemen.
Both players are
coming off of injury filled seasons, with Giordano playing 61 games
and Byfuglien playing 69 games. As they get older, durability will be
an issue. Byfuglien has not played a full season since 2009-10 and
Giordano since 2010-11. This most likely played a factor with Giordano’s negotiations, especially coming off of a significant
injury, and will affect Byfuglien as well.
Let’s use the Horizontal Evaluative Rankings Optics (HERO) charts from Own the Puck to
illustrate how each player affects their teammates.
HERO charts display a player’s TOI, point production rates, and impact on linemate Corsi over the past three seasons combined.
Dustin Byfuglien’s HERO chart
We should note that the numbers are substantially impacted by Byfuglien’s time as a forward over the past two seasons, where Byfuglien actually carried a negative impact. This means Byfuglien likely would post a better Corsi had he only played defense, but we do not know the extent.
As you can see here,
Byfuglien has the offensive output of a top pair defenceman and plays
minutes like one too. His Corsi output is lower, although much of this could come from his time as a forward.
Mark Giordano HERO’s chart
In every category, Giordano ranks in the
top pairing category of his HERO chart, unlike Byfuglien who averages in
the top four section for his impact on Corsi.
However, when we
look at a player like Drew Doughty, who is in the midst of a contract
with an average cap hit of 7 million, we will notice that their HERO
charts are fairly similar.
Drew Doughty HERO’s chart
Doughty scores at a lower pace but has a stronger impact in Corsi. He is however much younger than Byfuglien.
Johnny Boychuk is another player similar in age who also signed an extension within
the past few years.
Johnny Boychuk HERO’s chart
As you can see, the
stats are very similar to Drew Doughty’s, but Boychuk comes at a
price of a 6 million dollar cap hit.
The HERO charts are
an easy way to quickly evaluate a player, but there are other ways as well.
Does Byfuglien actually improve the play of his
The answer is yes.
Using a With or Without You (WOWY)
chart from Hockey Viz, we can see that Byfuglien’s linemates experience a boost in their shot attempt differentials.
Based off of the
HERO charts, the Calgary Flames look to have re-signed Mark Giordano for a steal, especially when comparing to the market value of these three other comparable defenders.
It seems safe to say that the
Jets can hope to re-sign Dustin Byfuglien at a similar cap hit as
Giordano. A similar term of 6 years would be reasonable as well, with
the term ending when Byfuglien is 37. There is no question that 6.75
million will at least be the starting point for Byfuglien’s camp, if
not more. They may try to push 7.5 and 8 million. The real question
will be contract length.
Another factor that
plays into Byfuglien’s favour for contract negotiations is his
ability to play forward. The Jets have enough depth on defence that
they can play him as a forward if injuries require Byfuglien to be
A brief glance alludes that Giordano signed for under market value. Still, his 6.75 contract over six seasons has set the tone for what we can
expect to be used as a comparable in future negotiations between Byfuglien and the Jets. Boychuk’s and Doughty’s contracts also suggest placing around a similar starting point.
The major factors affecting Byfuglien’s contract
negotiations will be his ability to produce shots, improve his
teammates’ play, and both his age and durability.
However, the Jets management should avoid handcuffing themselves longterm with young players like Jacob Trouba and Mark Scheifele looking for substantial raises in the future.
If Dustin Byfuglien should be re-signed, the sooner the better.
All contract information is courtesy of NHL Numbers.