The mandate of Puck Money is to illustrate which NHL players and franchises offer the best value to their teams and fans based on their salaries or payrolls. We have developed a ranking system based on putting the players and franchises on the same scale as much as possible. In order to rank them against the same criteria, players should have equal opportunities to perform and amass statistics. Therefore, players had to suit up for a minimum number of games to qualify for ranking. Players who did not meet the minimum number of games were not ranked. As well, forwards, defencemen and goalies use different skills so we applied different formulas to analyze these skills.
Statistics are from the 2010-2011 regular season and salaries are in U.S. dollars. Salaries were rated from lowest salary (most desirable) to highest (least desirable). On ice statistics are from www.NHL.com and financial statistics are from www.NHLPA.com.
For all rankings, eligible players must meet the minimum requirement. Forwards must have at least 40 points. Defencemen must have played in at least 60 games. Goaltenders must have played in at least 35 games.
Players benefit from playing on a strong team and can be held back by being on a weaker team. In order to make them more comparable, we normalized the total points for forwards and defence and the shots against-saves ratio for goalies. This was done by measuring each team’s points and goals for performance in the regular reason as a variance from the average for the whole league. So a player on a team that over performed the league had his points reduced and a player on a team that under performed the league had his points increased.
Must have at least 40 points. Eligible players were ranked in these four categories: points, time on ice, plus/minus and salary. Salary is worth 20% of the final and the other three categories are each valued at 26.67%.
Example: Mikhail Grabovski
Salary: $2.85 million
Normalized Points: 62
Time on Ice: 1,568 minutes
Salary Rank: 57 out of 148 eligible players.
Point rank: 44 out of 148 eligible players.
Time on Ice rank: 28 out of 148 eligible players.
Plus/Minus: 27 out of 148 eligible players
Math: (57*.2) + (44*.267) + (29*.267) + (27*.267) = 37.80
Mikhail Grabovski received 37.80 points which ranked him No. 12 most valuable out of 148 players.
Players with at least 60 games are ranked in these categories: salary (20%), points (15%), time on ice (15%) and plus/minus (50%).
Example: Christian Ehrhoff
Salary: $3.4 million
Normalized Points: 42
Time on Ice: 1,895 minutes
Salary Rank: 95 out of 147 eligible players.
Point rank: 19 out of 147 eligible players.
Time on Ice rank: 21 out of 147 eligible players.
Plus/Minus: 14 out of 147 eligible players.
Math: (95*.20) + (19*.15) + (21*.15) + (14*.50) = 32
Christian Ehrhoff received 32 points which ranked him No. 5 most valuable out of 147 players.
Goaltenders must have played a minimum 50 games and are evaluated in four categories: normalized goals against (26.67%), time on ice (26.67%), goals against average (26.67%) and salary (20%).
Example: Carey Price
Salary: $2.5 million
Normalized GA: 164
Time on Ice: 1,982 minutes
GA rank: 19 out of 25 players
GAA rank: 8 out of 25 players
Time on Ice rank: 2 out of 25 players
Salary rank: 10 out of 25 players
Math: (19*.267) + (8*.267) + (2*.267) + (10*.2) = 9.7
Carey Price received 9.7 points which ranked him No. 5 most valuable out of 25 players.
The weighting of the Puck Money Fan Value Index is: overall standing (40%), playoff standing (20%), payroll (10%) and fan cost index (30%). The lower the score for payroll and fan cost, the more acceptable the team is to fans.
Fan cost index includes four (4) average priced tickets, two (2) small draft beers, four (4) small soft drinks, four (4) regular size hot dogs, parking for one (1) car, two (2) game programs and two (2) least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps. Source: 2010 Team Marketing Report.
Who is the greatest player ever? How would the stars of the past do against in today’s NHL? These are the age-old questions that fans love to argue about. We can concede that there can’t be a definitive answer. Comparing Maurice Richard with Sidney Crosby must take into account elements that are immeasurable: the overall quality of play in the league and on an individual’s team, training and coaching, equipment enhancements, rule changes, travel and physical size. However, we can rely on statistics to put the achievements of the past and present into a clearer perspective.
The following 12 great players from past years were selected: Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Dave Keon, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Paul Coffey, Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Marcel Dionne and Mike Bossy. We also took a previous career-high season of Sydney Crosby’s. In the cases of Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull, post-1967 expansion seasons were eliminated and for Maurice Richard, the war-time years were not considered.
Each player’s best point season was normalized (see above) using the same methodology as for the 2010-2011 season. We then pro-rated the normalized point total to account for extra games scheduled in current seasons. So 74 points in a 70 game season becomes 87 points in an 82 game season (74*(82/70)).
We then placed the normalized and pro-rated point totals within the context of last year’s top players to see how the greats of the past lined up against the current stars of the NHL.
The main difference between the players of the past and present is the physical size. In the 1954-55 season, the average height was about 5’11” and the weight was 176 pounds. In that year, ‘Terrible’ Ted Lindsay scored 26 goals and was fearsome 5’8″ and 165 pounds.
This year, the average height is 6’1″ and the average weight 203 pounds—more than 25 pounds heavier. To put this into perspective Gordie Howe was a giant in 1954 at 6’0″ and 205 pounds, yet today he would just be average size.
Just for fun (and with no scientific basis whatsoever) we have pumped up the greats by the same percentage by which they taller or heavier in their own era. Thus, if Ken Dryden was 6% taller than other goalies of his time, we make him 6% taller than all goalies in 2011.
POS = position
TOI = time on ice
PIM = penalty minutes
GP = games played
SA = shots against
SSV% = save percentage
TOI = time on ice
GA = Goals Against
GAA = Goals Against Average
$/GP = Salary per game played
$/P = Salary per point
$/MOI = salary per minute on ice +/- = Plus/Minus
$/SV – $/SA = dollar per save – dollar per shot against (represents ‘cost per goal allowed’)
Research and analysis: Phil Froats