Saturday, May 28, 2016

Worst NHL Contracts 2015

Here is my list of the 15 worst NHL contracts of 2015. The amount listed at total money is calculated by Average Annual Cap Hit multiplied by years remaining. I tried to stick mainly to contracts with at least 2 seasons remaining, but could not exclude Bryan Bickel, the AHL's highest paid player. By that standard, Tanner Glass should probably be here too. There are no expiring contracts on the list because those can all be easily unloaded for assets at the trade deadline.

1) David Clarkson, Clb, $21M owed over 4 more years @ $5.2M AAV - It's a wonder that the Leafs managed to unload this contract. Granted, they took back another terrible contract in return. The worst thing Nonis ever did as Leafs GM was sign Clarkson. Ironically the best thing he ever did was dump his contract on the Blue Jackets.

2) Nathan Horton, Tor, $21.2M owed over 4 more years @ $5.3M AAV - Normally I try to avoid putting players on the worst contracts list due to injury, except in situations where the player had injury issues prior to signing the contract. When they signed Horton, he was already injured which put his insurance premiums very high. To save some money, Columbus management decided to wait until he was healthy insure the contract. He returned to the line-up, played 36 games in 2014, and hasn't played since. With no insurance the team has to pay for him not to play, which was why he fit so comfortably in the pockets of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment's unlimited budget. When this is all said and done, Horton will have been paid $37M to play 36 games. Not too bad.

3) David Bolland, Fla, $16M owed over 5 more years @ $5.5M AAVDale Tallon has been receiving a lot of praise for the Florida Panthers team he has built here in 2015, but he certainly doesn't hit home runs on every contract. One mulligan I'm sure he'd love to take is Dave Bolland, who has been paid a lot of money to sit in the press box so far in the 2015/16 season.

4) Dustin Brown, LA, $35M owed over 6 more years @ $5.8M AAV - Dustin Brown has done a lot for the LA Kings organization and was rewarded with a luxurious contract that should take him to the end of his playing career. Problem is, he's got a lot of hard miles on the odometer, and he has started to slow down with age.
5) Marian Hossa, Chi, $26M owed over 5 more years @ $5.3M AAV -  We are still waiting for one of the players with the inflated "cap recapture penalties" to retire. Not sure Hossa will be retiring soon, but he is on pace for his worst statistical season in over a decade. He has been very effective in his mid 30s, but alas father time is finally starting to win that battle. He's scheduled to make $7.9M this season, $4M next season, then $1M after that. All signs point to him retiring in the summer of 2017. If he does, that contract won't be "off the books" for Chicago. No, they are going to be feeling it for years to come. But hey, they won 2 Stanley Cups with him. Despite the pain that's coming, this contract was absolutely worth the price.
6) Jordan Staal, Car, $42M owed over 7 more years @ $6M AAV - Every year that Jordan Staal makes this list, I say the same thing "the best 3rd line center in the NHL". Any club that has him pencilled into their 3rd center spot is in great shape, but no team paying their 3rd line center that much money is going to make it very far. He's more of a $4.5M player, but locked in at too high a price for too long a time period.

7) Ryan Suter, Min, $67M owed over 9 more years @ $7.5M AAV - Suter is still a very good defenseman in this league that many teams would love to have, but he's now 30 years old with 9 years left on the contract. Generally I don't put these long term contracts on the worst contracts list until the player's production value falls below the Average Annual Value of the contract (call it the Henrik Zetterberg rule). The problem with Suter is that Minnesota played him way too much in the early years of the deal and the negative effects of the work load are starting to show. 

8) Andrej Sekera, Edm,  $27M owed over 5 more years @ $5.5M AAV - Yes it is true that Edmonton needed help on their blueline, but when I saw this contract last summer, I cringed. He was not what Edmonton needed, even if he's put up a few points. The Edmonton defense has been terrible and this guy is on the ice lots.

9) Phil Kessel, Pit, $48M owed over 6 more years @ $8M AAV - When the Pens acquired Kessel, I may have predicted he'd score 90 goals this season. He's on pace for 23. Granted, this isn't all bad for Pittsburgh with Toronto paying 15% of the remaining salary. There are no forwards making as much or more money as Kessel with fewer points. He's currently at the low end of expected production for a forward with that AAV.

10) Vincent LeCavalier, LA,  $9M owed over 2 more years @ $4.5M AAV - If it were not for retirement rumours, this contract would probably be higher on the list. His professional career should be over, but if God forbid he decided to play out the contract, it makes no sense that the Kinds acquired him. Even with Philly paying part of the freight, it's still a terrible contract.

11) Jimmy Howard, Det, $15.9M owed over 3 more years @5.3M AAV - The emergence of Petr Mrazek makes this contract even more ominous for the Red Wings, who will soon have to sign him long-term. I'm sure Holland would love to dump this contract, but good luck finding a buyer. They might have to package a prospect into the deal to get anyone to bite on their expendable former #1 goalie who has struggled this season in a back-up role.

12) Matt Carle, TB,  $11M owed over 2 more years @ $5.5M AAV - He was a highly coveted free agent when they signed him, but now he's barely their 6th defenseman. He has more healthy scratches than points.

13) Kevin Bieksa, Ana,  $8M owed over 2 more years @ $4M AAV - He's one of those guys who is getting old fast, after having a very physical pro career.

14) Bryan Bickel, Chi,  $4M owed over 1 more year @ $4M AAV The Blackhawks can't even give him away.

15) Luca Sbisa, Van, $7M owed over 2 more years @ $3.6M AAV - He is too mistake prone to ever be relied upon on a winning team. He's just a depth guy who should never be paid more than $1.5M

Honourable mentions to)

Mike Smith, Ari,  $17M owed over 3 more years @ $5.7M AAV –
Craig Smith, Nsh, $17M owed over 4 more years @ $4.2M AAV -
Ryan Getzlaf, Ana, $41M owed over 5 more years @ $8.2M AAV, -
Nick Leddy, NYI,  $33M owed over 6 more years @ $5.5M AAV -
Marian Gaborik, LA, $24M owed over 5 more years @ $4.9M AAV -
Matt Moulson, Buf, $15M owed over 3 more years @ $5M AAV -
Carl Hagelin, Ana, $12M owed over 3 more years @ $4M AAV -
Mike Green, Det,  $12M owed over 2 more years @ $6M AAV -
Matt Stajan, Cgy, $6M owed over 2 more years @ $3.1M AAV -
Eddie Lack, Car,  $5M owed over 2 more years @ $2.7M AAV -

Friday, May 27, 2016

Best NHL Contracts 2015

Here is my list of the top 15 NHL contracts of 2015. It is largely based on players current production over several statistical categories multiplied by the years remaining on the contract. Entry level contracts are not included, since they are a simple product of CBA. The list was compiled at the end of December 2015, but I'm posting it on this site in May 2016.


1) Tyler Seguin, Dal, 3 more years @ $5.7M AAV - This one still stings Boston fans. These 4-6 year deals for between $4M - $6M for elite young players signing their second contract can often produce the greatest bargains. Seguin is no exception. If he went UFA tomorrow, he'd get $8M plus. He will be a perpetual contender for the Art Ross trophy.

2) John Tavares, NYI, 2 more years @ $5.5M AAV - He is the two time defending champion of my best contracts list, but Tavares production slowed down in 2015 so he fell to the 2nd best contract in the NHL. He will be a perpetual contender for NHL MVP. He's one of the best players in the world, a truly exceptional specimen.

3) Roman Josi, Nsh, 4 more years @ $4M AAV - This is where Montreal could be with PK Subban, had they rolled the dice with on a longer term bridge contract. Those can turn out to be bad contracts, but they can also turn out to be great contracts. Josi has blossomed into a great defenseman at both ends of the ice, and having him locked in with that term and price is a steal.

4) John Klingberg, Dal, 6 more years @ $4.2M AAV - He played 4 seasons in Europe before coming to America and scoring 40 PTS in 65 GP, earning himself a 6 year contract. After signing that extension, he continued to improve, scoring 58 PTS in 76 GP this year. He was even in the conversation for the Norris trophy. That's a great price for that calibre of player.

5) Oliver Ekmanlarsson, Ari, 3 more years @ $5.5M AAV - Ever since Larsson signed this deal, pundits have speculated that the Coyotes want to trade him. That never made sense to me. When you get a player this good at that price, that's something you generally want to hold on to. He'll demand a hefty price when this contract expires.

6) Gabriel Landeskog, Col, 5 more years @ $5.6M AAV - This is going to look really good when he's making $5.6M at age 26, 27, 28. He's already a very effective player at age 23 serving as team captain. 

7) Justin Faulk, Car, 4 more years @ $4.8M AAV - He scored nearly 50 PTS last season, and that kind of defenseman tends to be much more expensive than this. He is just 23 years old, so there is still much more room to grow. He acclimated to the NHL far faster than most young D.

8) Max Pacioretty, Mtl, 3 more years @ $4.5M AAV - He scored 76 Goals in the first 2 years of this contract. The average salary of 30+ goal scorers in 2015 was $6.4M (entry level deals not included). They are getting Mad Max at about a $2M discount. At age 28 he's still in his peak years. By the time he turns 30 the contract will be expiring.

9) Mats Zuccarello, NYR, 3 more years @ $4.5M AAV - Zuccarello has developed into a very effective player, at a great price for a few more years. In the first half of the 2015/16 season he is producing at the rate of a $6M player.

10) Jamie Benn, Dal, 1 more year @ $5.2M AAV - 1 more year of Jamie Benn at that price is a great bargain, but with only 1 year left, it does not provide as much long term value as the deals above. He's going to be expensive on his next contract.

11) Victor Hedman, TB, 1 more year @ $4M AAV - If Hedman were UFA this summer, he'd get $7M AAV easy. The last year on this contract will provide incredible value for a reasonable price, but it's going to be expensive to lock him up long term.

12) Blake Wheeler, Wpg, 4 more years @ $5.6M AAV - Over the first 3 seasons of this contract, Wheeler has scored over 200 PTS. He is closing in on 30, so there is not a bigger contract waiting at the end of the rainbow for Wheeler. But 5.6M for a nearly point per game player is a bargain, even if his production diminishes by the last year.

13) Ryan McDonagh, NYR, 3 more years @ $4.7M AAV - That is a great price for a legit top pairing defenseman, who will easily top $6M AAV on his next contract.

14) Brendan Gallagher, Mtl, 5 more years @ $3.7M AAV - Expect Gallagher to be on the best contracts list for at least the next 4 years. He has been a valuable contributor almost since the day he arrived in Montreal. He's a sparkplug.

15) Bryan Little, Wpg, 2 more years @ $4.7M AAV - He's been producing above his price since signing this contract.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Age of Empires: Castle Seige Attack Strategy

Here is a helpful tip to those who play Age of Empires Castle Seige on your phones, for attacking other human players. I have often used this strategy successfully against other human players, but have rarely seen it used against me.


I call it....


BLITZ THE KEEP


The best heroes you can have for this are Belisarius (who tunnels under walls) and Charlemange (who leads cavalry to attack a target). You use siege equipment with Belisarius to bust the opponent's walls forging a route to the opponent's keep. Then once you have busted down all the required walls, release all your cavalry (between 8 and 12) with Charlemange and use his special ability to blitz the keep (by dragging his sword and dropping it on the keep). The keep will be destroyed in about 3 seconds. You can use any combination of other soldiers to accomplish secondary objectives (like resource collection). But winning or losing depends on sacking the opponent's keep and the "Charlemange Blitz" is one easy way to do it.


How easy depends on the levels of your heroes. Early on, Belisarius can only collapse one wall. Upgrade him, and he can punch through 2 walls. So early on, if you are facing an opponent that requires you to punch through 2 walls, you require siege equipment to break through the first wall, then blitz Belisarius to take out the second wall. You need to be good at this, otherwise he can die before the 2nd wall is breached, and you be *bleeped*. When you only have the ability to use one hero at once, it has to be Charlemange. He and 10 horses can blitz over 90% of keeps, provided you have the siege equipment to bust through walls.


You may blitz a keep without Charlemange, it just happens slower, and if you can't punch holes in walls, you're going to lose.


Anyone with any other strategy advice is encouraged to leave a comment below.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

NHL Defensemen Goals Against Average 2014/15

Have you ever wondered what the Goals Against Average is for NHL defensemen per 60 minutes of ice time, much how we measure quality of play for goaltenders. The difference is that for defensemen, I'm only looking at even strength goals against. Not all defensemen kill penalties, but all goalies kill penalties.




We are currently at the 1/4 mark of the 2014/15 season, and here are the stats for all defensemen with at least 10 Games Played.


Player  Team  GP  GA TOI/GP  GAA/60
Patrick Wiercioch OTT 15 3 16.5 0.73
Sergei Gonchar MTL 10 3 19.2 0.94
David Rundblad CHI 11 2 10.9 1.00
Ian Cole STL 24 7 15.6 1.12
Niklas Hjalmarsson CHI 24 11 22.0 1.25
Carl Gunnarsson STL 17 6 16.8 1.26
Joe Morrow BOS 14 5 17.0 1.26
Kevin Shattenkirk STL 24 12 22.6 1.33
Grant Clitsome WPG 16 5 14.1 1.33
Christian Ehrhoff PIT 24 12 21.9 1.37
Lubomir Visnovsky NYI 17 8 20.0 1.41
Jonas Brodin MIN 14 8 23.7 1.44
Trevor Van Riemsdyk CHI 18 6 13.5 1.48
Simon Despres PIT 23 8 14.1 1.48
Alec Martinez LAK 18 9 19.7 1.53
Adam Pardy WPG 13 5 15.0 1.54
John-Michael Liles CAR 17 8 18.2 1.55
Mattias Ekholm NSH 24 11 17.7 1.56
Paul Postma WPG 25 9 13.6 1.58
Jason Demers SJS 20 10 18.2 1.65
John Klingberg DAL 11 7 22.8 1.68
Nikita Zadorov BUF 14 7 17.6 1.70
Ryan Ellis NSH 24 13 18.8 1.73
Brayden McNabb LAK 25 12 16.7 1.73
Jakub Kindl DET 20 9 15.6 1.74
Torey Krug BOS 22 13 20.1 1.76
Shea Weber NSH 24 19 26.8 1.77
Matt Hunwick NYR 22 12 17.7 1.85
Nate Schmidt WSH 24 11 14.8 1.85
Jared Spurgeon MIN 18 14 24.7 1.89
Eric Gelinas NJD 20 11 17.5 1.89
Roman Josi NSH 24 20 26.4 1.90
Kevan Miller BOS 11 6 17.1 1.91
Adam Larsson NJD 17 9 16.5 1.93
Chris Phillips OTT 19 14 22.8 1.94
Johnny Oduya CHI 24 16 20.5 1.95
Tom Gilbert MTL 24 15 19.3 1.95
Ryan Suter MIN 23 22 29.3 1.96
Dennis Wideman CGY 25 19 23.2 1.97
Michal Rozsival CHI 15 8 16.2 1.98
Jake Muzzin LAK 19 15 23.2 2.05
Nick Leddy NYI 25 17 19.9 2.05
Raphael Diaz CGY 10 4 11.7 2.05
Francois Beauchemin ANA 18 14 22.7 2.05
Marc-Edouard Vlasic SJS 26 20 22.5 2.06
Kris Russell CGY 24 19 23.0 2.07
Zach Trotman BOS 11 6 15.8 2.07
Andrej Sustr TBL 23 13 16.3 2.08
Mark Streit PHI 24 19 22.8 2.08
Dmitry Kulikov FLA 19 15 22.6 2.10
Marco Scandella MIN 21 16 21.7 2.11
Brendan Smith DET 19 13 19.4 2.11
Brian Campbell FLA 23 19 23.1 2.14
Hampus Lindholm ANA 26 21 22.5 2.15
Tim Erixon CBJ 18 11 17.0 2.15
Duncan Keith CHI 24 22 25.4 2.16
Adam McQuaid BOS 20 14 19.4 2.16
Nathan Beaulieu MTL 14 7 13.8 2.17
Aaron Ekblad FLA 23 18 21.6 2.18
Clayton Stoner ANA 20 13 17.9 2.18
Josh Manson ANA 14 10 19.6 2.19
Nick Schultz PHI 23 16 18.9 2.21
TJ Brodie CGY 26 24 25.1 2.21
Mike Green WSH 19 14 19.9 2.22
Erik Gudbranson FLA 23 15 17.6 2.23
Drew Doughty LAK 25 27 28.9 2.24
Olli Maatta PIT 18 14 20.6 2.27
Jacob Trouba WPG 25 22 23.3 2.27
Danny DeKeyser DET 24 19 20.8 2.28
Alexei Emelin MTL 24 20 21.9 2.29
Alexander Edler VAN 25 23 24.1 2.30
Cody Ceci OTT 24 18 19.5 2.31
Keith Yandle ARI 26 25 24.6 2.34
Dylan Olsen FLA 22 14 16.2 2.35
Mark Giordano CGY 26 25 24.3 2.37
Brad Stuart COL 14 11 19.9 2.37
Scott Hannan SJS 19 12 16.0 2.38
Paul Martin PIT 24 21 22.1 2.38
Cam Fowler ANA 25 21 21.1 2.39
Toby Enstrom WPG 22 22 25.1 2.39
Damon Severson NJD 25 23 23.1 2.39
Anton Volchenkov NSH 20 11 13.8 2.39
Seth Jones NSH 24 17 17.8 2.39
Ryan Stanton VAN 15 9 15.0 2.40
Robyn Regehr LAK 22 17 19.3 2.40
Stephane Robidas TOR 23 16 17.3 2.42
Zach Bogosian WPG 24 22 22.7 2.42
Anton Stralman TBL 26 24 22.8 2.43
Mark Stuart WPG 25 20 19.7 2.44
Mirco Mueller SJS 21 15 17.5 2.46
Kyle Quincey DET 20 15 18.3 2.46
Andrei Markov MTL 26 26 24.4 2.46
Rasmus Ristolainen BUF 25 20 19.5 2.46
Brett Bellemore CAR 13 8 15.0 2.46
John Moore NYR 18 12 16.2 2.46
Jason Garrison TBL 26 23 21.3 2.49
Nate Guenin COL 19 13 16.4 2.51
Barret Jackman STL 24 17 16.9 2.51
Matthew Carle TBL 26 24 21.8 2.54
Marek Zidlicky NJD 25 23 21.7 2.55
Christopher Tanev VAN 25 22 20.6 2.56
Justin Braun SJS 26 24 21.5 2.58
James Wisniewski CBJ 21 20 22.0 2.60
P.K. Subban MTL 26 28 24.8 2.61
Kris Letang PIT 22 24 25.1 2.61
Michael Stone ARI 26 22 19.3 2.63
Mark Borowiecki OTT 19 13 15.5 2.64
Thomas Hickey NYI 24 20 18.8 2.65
Dion Phaneuf TOR 24 25 23.3 2.68
Tim Gleason CAR 22 16 16.2 2.69
Tyler Myers BUF 24 27 25.1 2.69
Dougie Hamilton BOS 26 26 22.3 2.69
Johnny Boychuk NYI 21 21 22.2 2.71
Jay Bouwmeester STL 20 21 23.2 2.71
Eric Gryba OTT 24 16 14.7 2.73
Ron Hainsey CAR 23 21 20.1 2.73
Matt Niskanen WSH 24 24 22.0 2.73
Morgan Rielly TOR 23 19 18.1 2.74
Erik Johnson COL 24 26 23.6 2.76
Rob Scuderi PIT 24 19 17.2 2.76
Jake Gardiner TOR 22 20 19.8 2.76
Matt Bartkowski BOS 13 11 18.3 2.77
Brent Burns SJS 26 28 23.3 2.77
David Schlemko ARI 14 11 16.8 2.81
Sami Vatanen ANA 26 27 22.1 2.82
Yannick Weber VAN 20 15 15.9 2.83
Matt Greene LAK 25 20 16.9 2.84
Brent Seabrook CHI 24 25 21.8 2.87
Willie Mitchell FLA 23 25 22.7 2.88
Alex Pietrangelo STL 24 30 25.8 2.90
Jay Harrison CAR 16 13 16.8 2.91
Dan Girardi NYR 24 29 24.9 2.92
Andy Greene NJD 25 29 23.7 2.94
Ryan McDonagh NYR 13 15 23.5 2.95
Kevin Klein NYR 23 20 17.7 2.95
Tyson Barrie COL 25 26 20.9 2.99
Niklas Kronwall DET 24 29 24.3 2.99
Kevin Bieksa VAN 25 27 21.6 3.00
Zach Redmond COL 14 12 17.0 3.03
Radko Gudas TBL 22 19 17.0 3.04
Karl Alzner WSH 24 23 18.9 3.04
Erik Karlsson OTT 24 34 27.8 3.06
Justin Schultz EDM 24 27 21.9 3.08
Marc Staal NYR 24 28 22.5 3.11
Luca Sbisa VAN 20 19 18.3 3.11
Mike Weber BUF 22 19 16.6 3.12
Matt Dumba MIN 20 13 12.5 3.12
Nicklas Grossmann PHI 24 23 18.4 3.13
Martin Marincin EDM 12 11 17.5 3.14
John Carlson WSH 24 29 23.1 3.14
David Savard CBJ 24 28 22.2 3.15
Jon Merrill NJD 11 12 20.7 3.16
Eric Brewer TBL 17 16 17.8 3.17
Mark Fayne EDM 25 23 17.3 3.18
Dan Hamhuis VAN 20 22 20.6 3.20
Brenden Dillon DAL 20 22 20.6 3.20
Calvin de Haan NYI 21 22 19.6 3.21
Dennis Seidenberg BOS 26 31 22.3 3.22
Jonathan Ericsson DET 24 26 20.1 3.24
Andrew Ference EDM 22 24 20.2 3.24
Tyson Strachan BUF 15 16 19.6 3.26
Travis Hamonic NYI 21 24 21.0 3.26
Zbynek Michalek ARI 26 30 21.1 3.28
Andrej Meszaros BUF 17 18 19.2 3.31
Cody Franson TOR 22 25 20.4 3.34
Andrew MacDonald PHI 13 15 20.7 3.34
Jan Hejda COL 25 30 21.3 3.38
Roman Polak TOR 21 25 21.1 3.39
Michael Del Zotto PHI 22 26 20.7 3.43
Connor Murphy ARI 25 23 16.1 3.44
Mike Weaver MTL 24 21 15.2 3.45
Oliver Ekman-Larsson ARI 26 39 26.0 3.46
Matt Irwin SJS 13 13 17.3 3.47
Andrej Sekera CAR 23 30 22.6 3.47
Alex Goligoski DAL 25 36 24.7 3.50
Fedor Tyutin CBJ 16 19 20.3 3.51
Josh Gorges BUF 18 23 21.8 3.51
Ladislav Smid CGY 24 21 14.9 3.53
Nick Holden COL 25 30 20.2 3.56
Justin Faulk CAR 24 34 23.8 3.57
Jordie Benn DAL 21 26 20.6 3.60
Nikita Nikitin EDM 21 27 20.9 3.70
Keith Ballard MIN 11 9 13.2 3.72
Jamie Oleksiak DAL 19 14 11.9 3.73
Nate Prosser MIN 19 17 14.4 3.74
Brooks Orpik WSH 24 33 21.6 3.81
Dalton Prout CBJ 21 24 17.7 3.88
Andre Benoit BUF 16 21 20.2 3.90
Brian Strait NYI 15 18 18.4 3.91
Jeff Petry EDM 24 32 20.2 3.96
Deryk Engelland CGY 21 20 14.2 4.01
Trevor Daley DAL 25 42 24.5 4.11
Braydon Coburn PHI 12 18 20.0 4.51
Jared Cowen OTT 19 28 18.7 4.74
Luke Schenn PHI 19 25 16.4 4.83
Jack Johnson CBJ 21 41 23.6 4.96
Bryce Salvador NJD 15 24 18.5 5.19