Monday, December 3, 2007

Free Agent Forward Update #2

Following up on my post from 10/24, here's part 2 of my periodic comparison of free agent forwards that were associated with the Islanders during this past offseason. The purpose is to evaluate the common perception that the Rangers, Avs...etc. were the most successful players in free agency, while the Isles settled for the "leftovers".

A few changes from Update #1...I added Josef Vasicek to the analysis, and I changed the financial side to show each player's cap hit rather than annual salary. While this makes the Rangers stats much more favorable, it's the more meaningful way to evaluate the situation.

The following shows goals, assists, and each player's cap hit for the '07-'08 season:

Bill Guerin = 5G, 6A, $4.5M
Mike Comrie = 8G, 11A, $3.375M
Ruslan Fedotenko = 6G, 8A, $2.9M
Josef Vasicek = 9G, 3A $0.750M
Total = 28G, 28A, $11.525M
Stats = 14 points per player; 4.9 points per million against the cap

Jason Blake = 3G, 16A, $5.0M
Ryan Smyth = 8G, 9A, $7.5M
Vistor Kozlov = 3G, 12A, $2.5M
Total = 14G, 37A, $15.0M
Stats = 17 points per player; 3.4 points per million against the cap

Opted to go to NYR:
Scott Gomez = 5G, 14A, $7.357M
Chris Drury = 6G, 11A, $7.05M
Total = 11G, 25A, $14.407M
Stats = 18 points per player; 2.5 points per million against the cap

So what does all this mean? Well, it confirms what I think most Islanders fans know. We're getting good value from our players, but not a lot of production. That may sound contradictory, but it's not. If we assume each player signed for fair market value, here's another way to say it - our players are outperforming expectations, but they're not as good as the guys that "got away".

The best news in all of this is that, as Greg Logan recently reported, the team has some nice room under the cap. Will that enable us to add some proven scoring later in the season? That remains to be seen, and there are too many moving parts now to even justify spending a lot of brainpower dreaming of the possibilities. But one thing's for sure - the trend of these stats from my first update in October is not what any Islanders fan wants to see, and it's 100% indicative of our struggles on the power play and (obviously) our inability to score more than 2 goals in a game. If our guys can't find a way to generate more offense, we may find ourselves sellers rather than buyers at the trade deadline.

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