FanPost

NHL Salary Structure is all WRONG

When agents go to their respective General Managers with salary demands, those demands are pretty much solely based on point production comparisons. The greater the point production, the greater the salary. The highest contracts are given to Free Agents who have that proven scoring potential.

Whether these players play well defensively or not matters very little when it comes to salary. It's pretty much an afterthought. This sends a message to players that is contrary to the message that good solid 200 foot coaching brings. Players know that if they expend a lot of energy on the defensive part of their game, and their offence suffers, so will their bank account.

All of this contributes to making the NHL coaching job really hard. There is no denying that there are players who are great both offensively and defensively and are among the highest paid players, but still it is their offensive prowess that is the reason for their salary.

When it comes to the NHL Draft, the highest sought after players are the point producers. The thought process behind that is "they will learn to play defence". WELL, MAYBE!!!

If you examine the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup victory last year, it was that the team was greater than the sum of its offensive parts, because the players played better defensively collectively than the other teams.

Teams with the highest paid superstars don't win unless these stars contribute defensively, because they get more ice time and if they are defensive liabilities, their offensive prowess is somewhat negated by all of the Goals Against. Coaches that ignore this and just keep giving these defensive liabilities more ice time than the rest of the players don't last long.

Erik Karlssen comes to mind here as a perfect example. A huge defensive liability who contributes a lot offensively and where is he in the salary structure? When teams have too many of these types of players, they just don't win. The Leafs and Sharks are perfect examples.

What do I recommend? For one thing, better ways to measure how well players defend. Advanced statistics that need so much explanation are fine for those who understand the nuances of the game, but they are not considered in the salary structure conversation. The smartest GMS use these stats, but I would argue not that much is salary negotiations. There are just WAY WAY too many defensive liabilities at the top of the NHL salary structure.

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