Vezina Winner Comparables – How big of a raise should Sergei Bobrovsky get?

I was listening to the #CBJ Sunday Morning Skate radio show this past weekend with special guest host, John Davidson, when something he said caught my attention. JD was discussing the ongoing contract negotiations with Bobrovsky’s agent and mentioned that his agent would be flying in for face to face meetings this week. JD mentioned that during the meetings they were going to take a look at comparable players to try and come up with a fair number.

Out of curiosity I decided to take a look and see what exactly the effect of winning a Vezina can have on an NHL goaltender’s salary. I only went back as far as the most recent lockout/start of the salary cap era.

Player Year Age Record GAA SV% Salary
Miikka Kiprusoff 2005-06 29 42-20-11 2.07 0.923 $2,900,000
Martin Brodeur 2006-07 35 48-23-7 2.18 0.922 $5,200,000
Martin Brodeur 2007-08 36 44-27-6 2.17 0.920 $5,200,000
Tim Thomas 2008-09 35 36-11-7 2.10 0.933 $1,100,000
Ryan Miller 2009-10 29 41-18-8 2.22 0.929 $6,250,000
Tim Thomas 2010-11 37 35-11-9 2.00 0.938 $6,000,000
Henrik Lundqvist 2011-12 30 39-18-5 1.97 0.930 $6,875,000
Sergei Bobrovsky 2012-13 24 21-11-6 2.00 0.932 $900,000

The first things that jumped out at me at just the winner’s list is:

  • Bob is the lowest paid Vezina winner since the last lockout
  • He’s also the youngest by 5 years
  • Only Henrik Lundqvist in 2011-12 had a lower GAA than Bob’s in 2012-13 (Tim Thomas matched Bob’s number in 2010-11)
  • Only Tim Thomas in 2008-09 and 2010-11 had a better SV% than Bob did in his trophy year.

After looking at the winners list I wanted to take a look at the actual stats of each goaltender for a few years before and after they won. Bold = the year they won the Vezina. “New Contract” means that they started a new contract this year.

Miikka Kiprusoff – Calgary Flames

Year Age Record GAA SV% Salary Contract
2003-04 27 24-10-4 1.69 0.933 $880,000
2004-05 28 –Lockout–
2005-06 29 42-20-11 2.07 0.923 $2,900,000 New Contract
2006-07 30 40-24-9 2.46 0.917 $3,500,000
2007-08 31 39-26-10 2.69 0.906 $3,600,000
2008-09 32 45-24-5 2.84 0.903 $8,500,000 New Contract

Martin Brodeur – New Jersey Devils

Year Age Record GAA SV% Salary Contract
2004-05 33 –Lockout–
2005-06 34 43-23-7 2.57 0.911 $5,237,238
2006-07 35 48-23-7 2.18 0.922 $5,200,000 New Contract
2007-08 36 44-27-6 2.17 0.920 $5,200,000  
2008-09 37 31-19-9 2.41 0.916 $5,200,000
2009-10 38 45-25-6 2.24 0.916 $5,200,000

Tim Thomas – Boston Bruins

Year Age Record GAA SV% Salary Contract
2005-06 32 12-13-10 2.77 0.917 $450,000
2006-07 33 30-29-4 3.13 0.905 $1,200,000 New Contract
2007-08 34 28-19-6 2.44 0.921 $1,000,000
2008-09 35 36-11-7 2.10 0.933 $1,100,000  
2009-10 36 17-18-8 2.56 0.915 $6,000,000 New Contract
2010-11 37 35-11-9 2.00 0.938 $6,000,000  
2011-12 38 35-19-1 2.36 0.920 $5,000,000

Ryan Miller – Buffalo Sabres

Year Age Record GAA SV% Salary Contract
2006-07 26 40-16-6 2.73 0.911 $2,000,000
2007-08 27 36-27-10 2.64 0.906 $2,500,000
2008-09 28 34-18-6 2.53 0.918 $3,500,000
2009-10 29 41-18-8 2.22 0.929 $6,250,000 New Contract
2010-11 30 34-22-8 2.59 0.916 $6,250,000
2011-12 31 31-21-7 2.54 0.916 $6,250,000
2012-13 32 17-17-5 2.81 0.915 $6,250,000

Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers

Year Age Record GAA SV% Salary Contract
2007-08 26 37-24-10 2.23 0.912 $4,250,000
2008-09 27 38-25-7 2.43 0.916 $7,750,000 New Contract
2009-10 28 35-27-10 2.38 0.921 $6,875,000
2010-11 29 36-27-5 2.28 0.923 $7,750,000
2011-12 30 39-18-5 1.97 0.930 $6,875,000  
2012-13 31 24-16-3 2.05 0.926 $6,875,000

Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets

Year Age Record GAA SV% Salary Contract
2010-11 22 28-13-8 2.59 0.915 $900,000 New Contract
2011-12 23 14-10-2 3.02 0.899 $900,000
2012-13 24 21-11-6 2.00 0.932 $900,000  

 

More interesting things I found while looking at these numbers:

  • Only Tim Thomas won the Vezina in the last year of a contract. And when he did his pay went up by nearly 500% ($1.1M to #6M)
  • Miikka Kiprusoff, Martin Brodeur and Ryan Miller all won the Vezina in their first year after getting a new contract… talk about justifying the cost…
  • Only Kiprusoff and Thomas have gotten new contracts after winning a Vezina, Kiprusoff’s wasn’t until 3 years later but his actual salary went from $3.6M to $8.5M.

Some Non-Vezina Winner Comparables

Player Age 2012-13 Record GAA SV% 2012-13 Salary Contract Status
Tuukka Rask 25 19-10-5 2.20 0.929 $3,500,000 RFA (1 year deal)
Cory Schneider 26 17-9-4 2.11 0.927 $3,500,000 2 yrs remaining (UFA)
James Reimer 24 19-8-5 2.46 0.924 $1,600,000 1 yr remaining (RFA)
Jonathan Bernier 24 9-3-1 1.88 0.922 $1,525,000 RFA
Devan Dubnyk 26 14-16-6 2.57 0.921 $3,250,000 1 yr remaining (UFA)
Ben Bishop 26 11-9-1 2.67 0.920 $650,000 Just signed 2yr deal, $2.3M AAV
Braden Holtby 23 23-12-1 2.58 0.920 $1,700,000 Just signed 2yr deal, $1.85M AAV

I pulled up a list of the top performing goaltenders of 2012-13 and picked out the ones that were the closest to Bobrovsky in age.

  • Stats-wise he’s most comparable to Cory Schneider who is only 2 years older but earned $3.5M in salary in 2012-13.
  • From this list, only Ben Bishop made less than Bobrovsky in 2012-13.
  • One of the more interesting cases is Tuukka Rask who is only 1 year older than Bobrovsky and is due for a contract extension this season while currently up 2 games to 1 in the Stanley Cup Final. I would expect to see Rask walk away with at least a $6M/yr deal after the playoffs are over.
  • Every goaltender on this list either had their contract expire, has 1-2 years left, or just signed a 2 year deal. No one is signed to a long term deal.

Some conclusions/predictions

Based on all of the factors laid out above it’s clear that there is definitely a “Vezina bump” when it comes to signing a new contract. Additionally, young goaltenders that haven’t proven themselves to be able to perform consistently year to year don’t seem get long-term deals. Because Bobrovsky has 3 more years of restricted free agency left, I would expect to see the #CBJ push to sign him to a 2 year deal. I think earning comparable money to Rask & Schneider is certainly fair and when you factor in the “Vezina bump” I would expect to see the contract to be somewhere in the range of $4.25-5M/yr. Tim Thomas went from $1.1M to $6M, but he was a UFA at the time and it was his second straight season of putting up good numbers. I don’t think Bob will get quite so large of a bump. By signing him to a 2 year deal it will allow the Blue Jackets to hold onto his rights as he will still be an RFA at the end of his new contract.

Prediction: 2 year deal, $4.25M year 1, $4.75M year 2.

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