Phil Kessel and his contract comparables

It appears that Phil Kessel’s is on the verge of signing an 8 year, $8M/yr contract with the Leafs so this is a good time to compare this contract to a couple other elite wingers who have signed contracts in the past year or so. Corey Perry and Zach Parise. I have also chosen to include Rick Nash in the discussion because he is a comparable goal scoring winger with a comparable salary even though he signed his contract several years ago. Before we get into contracts though, let’s take a look at production levels by age.



In terms of goal production, both Nash and Kessel got their careers started earlier than Perry or Parise and both had their best goal production years earlier int heir careers. Kessel of course had his best goal production year playing a significant amount of time with one of the best playmakers in the league at the time, Marc Savard. He has yet to match that level in Toronto but of course he is playing with Tyler Bozak in Toronto. Aside from Perry’s career year at age 25 he has generally been at or below the production level of the other three at the same age while Nash has generally been the more productive player. Note that I have removed Parise’s Age 25 season as he missed the majority of the year to injury. Nash’s age 20 season was lost due to a lockout. Ages are based on draft year (first season after draft year is age 18)



Not really a lot different in the points/game chart which kind of makes sense because all these players are wingers and more goal scorers than play makers. Parise once again had his peak season at age 23 while Perry again had his at age 25. Nash has maintained a little more consistency fluctuating between 0.8 and 1.0 since his age 21 season though one should remember that Nash’s age 21 season was 2005-06 when goal production was inflated due to obstruction crackdown and far more power plays. Kessel appears to still be on the upswing and he has shown more play making ability with Lupul or van Riemsdyk on the other wing and the absence of a play maker at center.

Age Length Total$
Parise* 27 8 $80M
Perry 27 8 $69M
Kessel 25 8 $64M
Nash 25 8 $62.4M

*Parise’s salary over the first 8 years of his contract.

Parise’s salary is a little wonky as he signed his contract under the old CBA which was a back diving contract in which he earns $94M over the first 10 years and $4M over the final 3. Perry is the easiest to compare with as he is the most recent contract signing while Nash signed several years ago when the salary cap was lower. All things considered Kessel’s contract is at least fairly priced if not a slight bargain.

In conclusion, even though the others may have had higher ‘peak’ seasons (though it is certainly possible, maybe likely, that Kessel hasn’t reached his peak) it is fair to suggest that Kessel is deserving to be considered similarly talented to the other three which makes his $8M/yr salary not only fair but maybe a slight bargain.


This article has 6 Comments

  1. Unrelated to the article, but something I noticed in the HARO and HARD calculations is that there is an assumption that the coaching staff has no effect on the players’ ratings. Would it be possible to do a WOWY but include the coach as an additional player, as well?

    For example, if I look at Ehrhoff his HARO dropped off when he was signed in Buffalo. I suspect it has more to do with the coaching staff, since it is quite a large drop off.

    I understand it will not be as easy to do so since there are far few data points. Coaches typically stick with the same team and with the same players for most of their career. Trading isn’t as frequent, either, and even after a trade, players have to acclimate themselves with the new coaching style.

    1. I don’t disagree with the premise of your argument that coaching style and/or style of play can have an impact on results, I am just not sure how to best account for that.

      As for HARO and HARD, I am not completely happy with them anymore. I like the idea and the math behind them, I just think the end results come up a little short and I think I can do better. One of my future projects is hopefully to do some more research and try and improve on them. I may look into using some sort of ‘team play’ attribute but the challenge is figuring out the best way to do it.

      1. Out of curiosity, what ideas would you have for ‘team play’?

        I’m not sure if HARO and HART can be downplayed too much, the math behind it is pretty cool. I found HARO and HART to be a beneficial tool when it comes to fantasy hockey. The HARO and HART of players are good at finding players who have potential, especially players who are not on anyone’s radar. I play in a auction style league where I can buy players and keep them for a while. I saw that Mathieu Perreault had a very high HARO over the last 3 years, so I took a gamble on him and drafted him for $1. I also, knew that Bruce Boudreau has a more offensive style coaching, as well, so I suspected he would do well. It is paying off, so far. He has been a useful addition to my team. Other picks like Benoit Pouliot and David Desharanis have not been as good of a pick. I suspect Pouliot has seen a drop off since the Rangers are not as offensively minded as Tampa bay. That’s where I got the idea that coaching has quite a significant effect on a player’s ratings.

        What are your thoughts of accounting for coaching style by just assuming that the coach is just another player who is always on the ice? You could use the same WOWY calculations but it would be on a year by year basis, instead of per year. The coaches value could be gleaned through players who were traded over the years, or by the coaches who moved from one team to another. The players who have not played for any other coach could just be thrown out of the calculation.

        1. I am not sure yet. I would need to do some research to see if and how it can be done. One thing I am looking at doing is look at situations separately (tied, up1, up2+, down1, down2+, etc.) to better account for that type of usage differences between players. Beyond that, I am not sure.

  2. Sorry for the off-topic comment but I couldn’t find an e-mail address for you. I was looking at the player ratings at 5v4 and I was curious which players had the most power play time but the list is not sortable by that column (although it is sortable by every other column except name I think). Is there a way to see a sorted list by power play time?

    1. If you want to sort by TOI, you can copy paste the whole page into a excel document and “match destination formatting”. Once it is in excel, you can sort as usual.

Comments are closed.