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Point per dollar a telling stat
Who is the priciest point producer for SJ
11/15/15 - By Mike Lee -

As Sharks hit the corner pole of the 2015 season I thought I'd take a look at some of the performance numbers that we've seen from players through the first 17 games of the season in an attempt to try and identify where the Sharks may be deriving some true value. I decided to look at point production for each player in context to their salary this season. Separating the forwards from the defenseman of course. Would it be of any interest to see how each player's point output corresponds to their salary this season?

The equation is a pretty rudimentary one. Simply take their 2015-16 salary and divide the number of points each respective player has recorded for the Sharks this season.

The whole point of the exercise is to see where there may be some value in terms of point production coming from players who don't necessarily command the big salaries the season. How do the big money guys compare to the lower salaried players when it comes to point production?

Let's start by eliminating players that haven’t had the opportunity to produce, because they haven’t played in enough games. Logan Couture has only played in three games this season, so his lone assist would look ugly if you simply divide salary by points. That’s a $6,000,000 assist for crying out loud. So guys like Couture and Melker Karlsson get a pass.

So where are the pain points.

Surprisingly, Joe Thornton isn’t the priciest player on the Sharks roster. He’s third.

Based on 2015 salaries, Mike Brown holds the distinction of producing the most expensive point for the Sharks the season. His lone goal essentially equates to a $1.25 tally. Brown has played in 16 games for San Jose this season and in fairness to him, has amassed 27 penalty minutes, but if you're only applying points for salary Brown becomes the priciest player on the San Jose roster.

Now things get interesting. Beleaguered trade rumor monger Patrick Marleau comes in as the priciest Sharks regular. His 10 points this season come to a $650,000 per point price tag. His $6,500,000 contract make it easy to pick on him. This wasn’t intended to be another recruiting party for the he-man Marleau haters club. It’s simply a simple excercise, intended to see how dollars are applied to points. Joe Thornton is a close third behind Brown and Maleau, racking up a cool $613,000 per point cost this season.

Tommy Wingels comes in at fourth for the Sharks. Is five points this season net a $495,000 per point price tag.

Again, this wasn't intended to be a another swipe at Marleau, but his contract does come into play when it comes to any type of trade rumor. Marleau in on the wrong side of 35 and his production has decreased over the last three seasons.. Thorton is not exempt from this issue either, as he commands the biggest salary on the club, yet his point production is certainly not as economical as a Thomas Hertl or Joel Ward.

Hertl comes in as the bargain basement deal for San Jose thus far. His nine points are costing the Sharks roughly $102,000 per point this season. That's a sixth of the cost for a Marleau or Thornton.

Now take all of these numbers and throw them out the window. There are many factors that go into why and how an NHL team wins hockey games. There are intangibles beyond point production. There are leadership factors that go into how a team wins or loses. None of these things can be determined directly from a player salary.

But then I ask, do players like Marleau and Thornton exemplify a player that has all those intangibles. If you’re playing game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, are those the two guys you entrust with your season.

San Jose did that the season before last, and it ended in one of the most colossal implosions in NHL history. So is losing either of these guys really the worst thing that can happen to this franchise?

There’s no doubt that players like Marleau and Thornton can be world beaters when they bring their A games. The problem is, those A games tend not to show up when it matters the most. San Jose used to rely on these two to in order to trudge through the long and arduous NHL season. Once the playoffs started, it was anyone’s game to win or lose.

Ten years of failure in the playoffs seem to be a pretty clear indication that they weren’t cut out for the task. So if they can’t even get you to the playoffs, I ask what’s the point of burning through more than $12 million on two players that can’t even set you up for a playoff run, much less make a run once the second season begins.

If Marleau and Thornton hold any value with GMs around the league, Doug Wilson needs to figure out how to pair their value with those teams. Get something that will position the Sharks for a course correction and the opportunity to be competitive sooner than later.

Waiting out their contract as their skill decline just seems like a slow and agonizing way to keep the Sharks mired in limbo.


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