Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Negotiating On Price:

Gauthier Answers

Price and his agent have just given their rationale for a $3 million a year salary to the Canadiens (in our little game).

Now, I play the role of Gauthier and management having just heard the Price stance.

[Remember that for these mock purposes, we're assuming that Carey Price’s team is for $3 million as per HabsWorld's uncited "report" (1 to 3 years) and that the Habs are coutering with $1.7 million (2 to 4 years).]



Carey Price camp opening arguments (Team Price in italics)

Starting goalie money

The average goalie salary (cap hit) in the NHL is $2.51 million
The average among starters is $3.75 million
Removing entry level for starters gives $4.1 million

You want Carey to be a starting goalie in one of the biggest fanbases with some of the biggest revenue in the NHL. He shouldn’t be far below average.



Habs response:

Be reasonable.

First let’s remove the top tier:
The average for starters falls to $2.51 million
Even without entry level, that’s $2.87 million

Some of those guys are long-time NHLers, others have outperformed Carey recently (see Halak, Jaroslav). Removing those, we end with an average of $1.98 million.

Carey would be right in the ballpark of his peers with a salary below $2 million.


Comparables

Carey Price (3 seasons)
Season: 2.77, 0.912
Career: 2.73, 0.912

Jonas Hiller (3 seasons) ¬ $4.5 million
Season: 2.73, 0.918

Jaroslav Halak (2 full seasons) ¬ $3.75 million
Career: 2.62, 0.919

Kari Lehtonen ¬ $3.55 million
Season: 2.81, 0.911
Career: 2.87, 0.912

Pekka Rinne (2 full seasons) ¬ $3.4 million
Season: 2.53, 0.911

Their average salaries going into the next contracts are $3.8 million, so the $3 million we ask for is very reasonable considering Carey’s closest peers.



Habs response:

Closest peers? Sorry, but allow us to fill in your omissions:

Jonas Hiller (3 seasons) ¬ $4.5 million
Season: 2.73, 0.918
Career: 2.49, 0.920

Jaroslav Halak (2 full seasons) ¬ $3.75 million
Season: 2.40, 0.924
Career: 2.62, 0.919
Outplayed Carey on the same team

Kari Lehtonen (6 seasons) ¬ $3.55 million
Season: 2.81, 0.911
Career: 2.87, 0.912

Pekka Rinne (2 full seasons) ¬ $3.4 million
Season: 2.53, 0.911
Career: 2.46, 0.914, with 62W, 32L, 9OTL


Rinne is the only possible peer there, but we find it hard to be tied to what we think is a bad contract for a 3rd year NHLer handed out in Nashville.

We propose a few more peers:

Carey Price (3 seasons)
Season: 2.77, 0.912
Career: 2.73, 0.912

Mike Smith (4 seasons) ¬ $2.2 million
Career: 2.69, 0.907

Jonathan Quick (2 seasons) ¬ $1.8 million
Season: 2.54, 0.907
Career: 2.54, 0.908

Dan Ellis (3 seasons) ¬ $1.5 million
Season: 2.69, 0.909
Career: 2.64, 0.912

Josh Harding (3 seasons) ¬ $1.2 million
Career: 2.56, 0.915

The average here with Carey’s truest peers in terms of experience and performance to date is in line with what we are proposing, about $1.59 million a season.


Team Price responds:

Hang on, you omit as well.

Mike Smith (4 seasons) ¬ $2.2 million
Season: 3.09, 0.900
Career: 2.69, 0.907

Jonathan Quick (2 seasons) ¬ $1.8 million
Season: 2.54, 0.907
Career: 2.54, 0.908

Dan Ellis (3 seasons) ¬ $1.5 million
Season: 2.69, 0.909
Career: 2.64, 0.912

Josh Harding (3 seasons) ¬ $1.2 million
Season: 3.05, 0.905
Career: 2.56, 0.915


Habs again:

We’ll happily omit Mike Smith from the math if you want.


Pedigree

Drafted 5th overall
CHL goaltender of the year
WJC winning goalie and tournament MVP
Calder Cup winning goalie and tournament MVP
NHL All-Rookie team
NHL All-Star Game


Habs response:

Yes, we’re ware of the pedigree. We did draft Carey.

To be fair to us, we have already paid him for this pedigree in the original contract and offered generous bonuses because his potential merited as much. But let’s be honest, the CHL galtender of the year and WJC are as relevant to this negotiation as Kovalchuk’s contract. The AHL championship run has not been replicated in the NHL playoffs yet. We are paying for NHL play and would prefer to base our offer on NHL numbers that we can all understand.


Team Price responds:

Perhaps, but Carey is a 22 year-old. His age peers are negotiating their contracts with 3 year old CV items weighing heavily in their favour. If you want to discount past success, then we must insist on some adjustment of stance on his numbers to take into account Carey’s young age upon compiling these numbers.

Remember that you as managers must still rely on this pedigree to defend this goaltending decision. If you're using pedigree, so are we.



Save percentage

Save percentage is the only number that can be trusted among goalie statistics, as it is the only number that belongs to the goaltending performance alone. 0.912 this season and for his career are excellent at his age. It was a single tenth of a percent behind Roberto Luongo.


Habs response:

0.912 is very respectable and we were pleased with the rate at which Carey made saves, but let’s not lose the big picture. That rate was average for the league this season. 0.912 put Carey in 20th in this statistic.

We also want to look at this statistic in the context of all others, rather than do a cherry pick. But we will address this again later.


Alternatives

Having traded Halak, without Carey you would look to start the season with Alex Auld in goal and Cedrick Desjardins at back up. Carey offers a massive upgrade to that tandem, replacing the completely NHL-naïve Desjardins from the roster and providing a better start option than Auld.


Habs response:

Pensive look. [Though goes through the miind to respond: "Nabokov, Turco and Theodore can offer us the same solution." Gauthier thinks better of it. He's mocked on the internet and in the media, he doesn't need to be mocked at this negotiating table]


In the balance?

As in arbitration, average salaries and comparables can be spun more than one way. Save percentage still falls in Price's favour for the moment without a statistical riposte and pedigree and alternatives hang over the Habs as problems of their own making.

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