When I posted my thoughts on which second-line centers might be a fit for the Capitals, many of you asked me: “What about Stephen Weiss of the Florida Panthers?” So I am going to use that as today’s collective Feed the Machine question and see what the numbers say.
The first step is to take a look at what it is going to cost in terms of the salary cap. Since Washington has $6,686,351 in cap space at the deadline, Weiss’s $3.1 million cap hit should not be an issue. Plus, he is under contract through the 2012-13 season so it is important to note that this wouldn’t be a rental.
Because Weiss would be with the Caps for multiple seasons, we need to find out what type of production to expect in the future. For the purposes of this article I will project one year of production using similar players to his 2009-10 season.
|19 Similar players||80||24||41||66||177||1589||13.9|
|Weiss 82 game pace||82||22||33||55||195||1622||6.9|
|Sims in Year+1 (2011)||71||19||37||56||157||1372||10.9|
|Sims in Year+2 (2012)||72||20||38||58||161||1433||11.9|
I found 19 players who had similar seasons to Weiss’ 60-point campaign last year. Those skaters include the likes of Henrik Sedin, Saku Koivu and Mike Modano at similar ages. The comparable players posted a better average GVT — Tom Awad’s Goals Versus Threshold statistic. GVT measures how many goals (on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck) above a replacement player were contributed. The six goal difference between Weiss and his Sims is significant, since six goals equate to roughly one win over the course of a season. I would guess the disparity between the closeness of boxcar stats and GVT is due to the defensive side of the puck. Weiss may not be as sound defensively as his peer group.
These 19 similar players averaged 56 points the following year while playing 71 games and logging about 1,400 minutes on average. Weiss should come close to that production if we project his current boxcar stats over an 82 game span. To put another way, he should produce the same as the similar players did but would need another 11 games and approximately 200 minutes of ice time to do it. Again, we also see Weiss under-performing his peer group in regards to GVT by about 60%.
This brings us to next year, where we could reasonably expect to see a 58-point season along with a GVT of around 6-8 if we discount him to his peer group as he was the previous two seasons. This number is important. Based on his cap hit ($3.1 million), we can figure out how much value Weiss needs to provide and compare that with the value Weiss is expected to provide. This is also called Goals Versus Salary (GVS) and is similar to what I did to evaluate Ovechkin’s contract.
To calculate it, you subtract $0.5 million from the cap hit (the cost of a replacement level player and also the League minimum) and multiply that by three, because to be competitive a team must get 120 GVT from their remaining $40 million in cap space.
In Weiss’ case, he would have to produce a GVT of 7.8 during the 2011-12 season to “justify” his $3.1 million cap hit. Based on his age and the fact he plays with better teammates in Florida then he might in Washington it is quite possible we have seen his best, which is good, but not quite where it needs to be for a $3.1 million cap hit.
So I stand by my original recommendation: Take a flier on Marty Reasoner and either look for something better in the offseason, take the gamble that Marcus Johansson improves significantly or persuade Evgeny Kuznetsov to soften his stance on playing in the KHL for one more year.
Edited by Chris Gordon and Ian Oland.