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Silver Nuggets: Are the Senators effective spenders?

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Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Our friend Muneeb A, who writes over at Caps blog Japers' Rink, penned a fantastic piece last week that looked at Washington's spending in the salary cap era. The goal was to look at the much-talked about correlation between spending money and winning, and although we're certain that exists at a league level, Muneeb decided to look at it by team, which led to some really interesting results.

Here's what he had to say about Washington (graph below):

caps spending

The gray circles and line are league data over this time period. The Caps' line is steeper than the league line, meaning they've spent on players a little more efficiently than the league so far. (It would look even better if we looked solely at post-2004 data—the gray line would be less steep and the red line would be steeper, given the ineffective spending of 2001-02 and especially 2003-04.)

From this perspective, 2014-15 wasn't especially impressive by itself—it was a return to roughly league-average (and team-average) return-on-spending after a poor 2013-14.

Now, let's take a look at Ottawa's graph:

sens spending

The first thing you notice is, well, the Sens slope is flat. Basically, spending doesn't really impact how many wins the Senators get in a season. Take a look at the 09-10 Senators (red bubble labelled 09) - the team won 44 of their 82 games (y-axis) and spent a standard deviation more than league average (x-axis). In contrast, the 2011-12 Senators (red bubble labelled 11) spent a standard deviation less than league average but won 41 games - a difference of three wins. Both teams finished 2nd in the Northeast division and lost in the first round.

Why is this interesting? It's a potential reason for management's cheap spending philosophy: the Senators haven't followed the league trend of more spending = more wins. For five seasons (2005-2009), the Senators spent more than league average, and for the first three, they did quite well. Recency bias is A Thing though, and I'm sure the Senators didn't quite like spending so much in 2008-09 only to miss the playoffs, or 2009-10 and get eliminated in the first round.

Could it be luck, though? It could very well be. Take a look at the 2014-15 bubble (labelled 14) and note that it's one of the few that's high up (signifying more wins) in that salary range, meaning that a performance like that doesn't happen often. Given the fact that the team is likely going to be around the middle of the pack this year in terms of spending - similar to where the 00, 03 Senators were - you can see that those teams can reach 45-50 wins at a fairly decent clip.

If you're interested in this kind of work, please read Muneeb's entire piece! The image that contains these figures for all of the teams can be found here, and it's really interesting to note how the perennial contenders (Hawks, Kings, Sharks, Rangers, etc.) fare compared to their counterparts.

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Sens Links

  • By the time we check-in on Tuesday, we'll know how much Alex Chiasson is making next season (note: it'll likely be MORE than Alex Semin's $1.1M with the Habs). Ross takes a look at what Chiasson is worth, and Nichols forays into the Chiasson coverage. [Silver Seven6th Sens]
  • Michaela has a fascinating entry into the Tactical Formation series that looks at an area of the game which is becoming more and more recognized as an important contributor to winning: zone entries. [Silver Seven]
  • A player that *really* needs to have a strong year is young blueliner Cody Ceci. Why? If he does, the Senators blueline gets a lot more stable. If he doesn't, perhaps the team needs to look at trade options from outside. Trevor goes through the best + worst case scenarios for the Ottawa native. [SenShot]
  • As the offseason wears on, Luke has a piece on some "great" Sens off-season moments. [WTYKY]
  • Trevor compares Chris Phillips and Eric Gryba. The former is an upcoming UFA and a lifer for Ottawa, whereas the latter was traded to make room on the bottom pair, despite being better than the former. [SenShot]
  • In this week's edition of Bingo Bites, Jeff takes a look at the 2010-2011 Calder Cup winning BSens. It's interesting to see where they're all playing now, and juxtapose the NHL talent compared to Norfolk's (TB) Calder-winning season in 2011-12. [Silver Seven]
  • Jack looks ahead to next year's offseason. Despite only having two UFAs, the Senators have a TON of RFAs to make decisions on. As I've said before, it's a pivotal season for many of the young players in Binghamton. [SenShot]
  • Wanna know which franchise to like, and which to despise? Varada has you covered as he ranks them all. [WTYKY]
  • Did your logo make the cut? Go vote for your favourite as the Silver Seven Logo Contest draws to a close! [Silver Seven]

Hockey Links

  • Garrett takes a look at some of the talent not selected in the 2015 draft. One area that the Senators could do better is with their training camp invitees, as many of the ranked players have more potential than the 20-yo players with very little options. Don't you want to find the next Joe Hicketts or Sergei Tolchinsky? [Jets Nation]
  • Over at HockeyBuzz, Ryan uses Josh Weissbock's AHL data to tell a story with respect to predicting NHL success. Really interesting (and surprising) numbers in here. [HockeyBuzz]
  • A wonderful piece on the Scottish Wayne Gretzky. [The Hockey News]

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Thanks for reading!