Friday, August 3, 2007

Numbers, Schnumbers

I know that salaries depend on numerous factors, but for simplicity, let's compare the play and salaries of Sean Avery and Dustin Penner during the 2006-2007 season.

Sean Avery84183048+1174
Dustin Penner82291645-258

And what will the baby and man make this upcoming season?

27-year old Avery (can you believe he's 27?) was recently awarded a one-year $1.9 million salary and the Ranger promptly signed him. Apparently he's not that detrimental to the team, yet.

24-year old Penner (soon to be 25 next month) was recently offered and signed to a five-year $21.25 million contract, which averages out to $4.25 million per season. During the '07-'08 season, Penner will be making $2.35 million more than Avery. The season after that? Probably about the same or just slightly less because I doubt that Avery will be able to garner much more than $1.9 million, but with inflation he could get a similar contract.

So is Penner really worth $2.35 million more than Avery? 2 years, 6 inches, 60 pounds, and years of maturity separate these two players. But how effective will each player be on his respective team?

As of right now Penner won't have much to work with and I think it'll be an amazing feat if he can match the numbers from last season. I mean seriously, who is on the Oilers? Unless KLo can bribe another player or two to play in the tundra I highly doubt Penner will produce 45 or more points next season. I'm not saying he's without a doubt the next Lupul, but he might be.

On the other hand, Avery has the potential to be on a line with some big names. While some (or all) of those names are well overpaid, being on a line with some of them will only help his career. Will Avery match or better the 48 points he had last season? Yes. Will he match or better the 174 PIM he had last season? No. Playing alongside the likes of Jagr, Shanny, Gomer, Drury, and the dark, dark shadow of "Mr. Detrimental" will improve his stats and lower his PIM. Don't worry, I still think Avery will take his unhealthy dose of jackass before every game, which will undoubtedly lead me to fall off the "Avery Fanclub" bandwagon, or rather the two person club car, but I think he will be better this upcoming season than he has ever been before.

If you're a GM, how in the world do you decide what number to throw at a player? When should one player be given a moderate, rational amount while another player can be given almost any amount at all, while still others are expected to take a discount? The numbers game is weird.

I understand that the Oilers need players, but is it really worth it to (potentially) overpay for a player and give up three draft picks in a highly touted draft? For what? To field a team in this season? Penner isn't going to guarantee a playoff spot. His presence isn't even going to guarantee that the Oilers won't be embarrassing this season. Instead of bribing players to come to Edmonton, why not deal with a couple bad seasons but keep the draft picks and develop your franchise by starting with the farm team and prospects? But what do I know? I'm just a fan of a team that's been bad for seasons; a team that has slowly developed their prospects and could potentially be a threat in the near future.

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