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.
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
Martin Brodeur – New Jersey Devils
Tim Thomas – Boston Bruins
Ryan Miller – Buffalo Sabres
Henrik Lundqvist – New York Rangers
Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
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)|
|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.
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.