by Ron Spence
We are told that the average NHL salary is a little over $1.9 million.
We know that some players are making the league minimum, and some will come close to the maximum salary allowed.
But, who are those players who are receiving the league’s average salary – the guys theoretically right in the middle of the pack?
And from what we know of the arbitration process – explained by Larry Bertuzzi – will there be any similarity between these players (Even though most won’t have been through the arbitration process, but will have had their agent and General Manager debating their worth.)?
To answer this question, I went through all of the NHL’s rosters, and picked 13 players (courtesy of sportsnet.ca
), who were in the $1.85 to $2 million range. Some teams had two players with that same income, but I only picked one from each club .
1. Tim Gleason of the Carolina Hurricanes is making $2 million this season, and has a four year contract. He was drafted 23rd overall in 2001, and has played 262 NHL games, for three different teams. Last season, he averaged 18.38 minutes, and 25.19 shifts per game, and was 21st among NHL Dmen, with 151 hits.
2. New York Rangers Dman Paul Mara was signed as an Unrestricted Free Agent and will be paid $1.95 million this season, on a one year contract. He has played in 563 NHL games for four teams, was drafted 7th overall in 1997, and scored 10 goals one season and 15 goals in another, for the Coyotes. Mara average 24.3 shifts and 17.53 minutes per game, and was tied for 75th for points by a defenseman.
3. Minnesota’s Martin Skoula is making $1.9 million this season, and was signed in 2007 to a multi-year contract. He was drafted 17th overall in 1998, and has played in 643 NHL games four four teams, and won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001. Skoula averaged 27.91 shifts and 20.29 minutes per game last season.
4. Montreal’s Francis Bouillon will be paid $1,875,000 this season. The 5’8″, 201 pound New Yorker wasn’t drafted, and has played in 431 NHL games. Bouillon averaged 17.22 minutes and 22.5 shifts per game, and finished last season with 168 hits.
5. Columbus’ Jason Chimera is making $1,875,000 this season, and has a four year contract. He was drafted 121st overall in 1997, and has been in the league for 373 games. Last season, he logged 17.30 minutes, and 24.27 shifts per game.
6. Boston’s Chuck Kobasew is earning $2,000,000 this season, on a multi-year contract. He was drafted 14th overall in 2001, and has appeared in 293 NHL games. He has been an All-star in junior and college hockey, and in the American Hockey League. Last season was his second 20 goal campaign, and he averaged 17.41 minutes 23.52 shifts per game.
7. Ottawa’s Chris Kelly will be earning $1,800,000 this season, on the first year of his four year contract. He was drafted 94th overall in 1999, and has played 243 games in the NHL. Kelly averaged 21.8 shifts and 16.36 minutes per game last season.
8. Tampa Bay’s Jussi Jokinen is earning $1,875,000, in the second year of a two year deal. He was drafted 192nd in 2001, and has played in 235 games. He averaged only 17.72 shifts and 14.27 minutes per game last season.
9. The Islanders’ Trent Hunter will be earning $2,000,000, in the first year of a five year contract. He was drafted 150th in 1998, and has played 326 games. He has scored 20 and 25 goals in the NHL, and was voted to the All-Rookie team. The 6’3″ 210 pounder was fourth in the NHL in hits last season, and averaged 22.66 shifts and 18.13 minutes per game.
10. Phoenix’s Steve Reinprecht is earning $2,000,000 this season. He wasn’t drafted and has played 479 NHL games. Reinprecht is playing for his fourth NHL team, and won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001. He has scored 19, 20, and 22 goals during three NHL seasons. Reinprecht averaged 20.3 shifts in 15.42 minutes per game last season.
11. Anaheim’s Rob Niedermayer will earn $2,000,000, in the last year of his four year contract. He was drafted 5th overall in 1993, has played in 932 games, and won a Stanley Cup in 2007. Last season, Rob averaged 24.6 shifts and 17.43 minutes per game.
12. Detroit’s Kris Draper is earning $1,850,000, in the second year of a three year contract. He was drafted 62nd in 1989, has played in 950 NHL games, and has won the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward. Draper has represented his country twice with Team Canada, and has won four Stanley Cups. Last season, the 37-year-old played 22.94 shifts and 15.38 minutes per game.
13. Calgary’s Todd Bertuzzi will earn $1,950,000. He has played in 793 NHL games and was drafted 23rd overall in 1993. Last season, Bertuzzi played 16.27 minutes and 20.8 shifts per game.
I think that we can make some conclusions from these Sportsnet.com Scouting Reports.
Kris Draper has been an excellent player for the Red Wings, but is getting older, and can’t score with any regularity.
Todd Bertuzzi is accepting only $1.95 million this season, because Anaheim paid him a buyout, and he has signed on for a cheaper salary, so that he can play, and try and resurrect his career.
Three of the four defensemen are good enough to play on their team’s top two pairings, but have either offensive or defensive problems.
The fourth Dman is small, and can’t be used in all situations.
Seven of the nine forwards, either lack skill, consistency, strength, or the ability to take their game up to the next level.
And some might have signed for a little less – than they might have been able to get – in order to ensure a multi-year deal.