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Goalies Netting Less Pay Than Others

From Kevin Allen at USA Today:

Goaltenders own a large share of the pressure and not a large share of the payroll in the NHL these days.

With another free agency season almost complete, a review of the NHL salary structure shows a continuing trend of teams trying to save some dollars in net while handing out more lucrative deals to scorers and defensemen.

Going into the 2011-12 season, 10 NHL goalies will be averaging $5 million or more on their deals, 19 defensemen will earn at least $5 million, and a 20th (Chris Pronger) averaging just below $5 million. Meanwhile, 23 No. 1 centers averaging $5 million or better.

Only the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist (18th at $6.85 million) ranks among the league’s 25 highest cap hits, according to Capgeek.com


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Business of Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: goalies, salaries



Let me see….

30 teams * 2 Goalies = 60 NHL goalies
10 out of 60 make $5M

30 Teams * 6 Defense Men = 180 D’men
20 out of 180 make ~$5M

So, 1/6th of goalies make big money, 1/9th of the Dmen do.  For those who don’t cope well with fractions (like Mr. Allen perhaps?)  16.7% of goalies clear the hurdle yet only 11.1% of the Dmen do.

Sorry, the conclusions are absolutely not supported by the data provided.

This is like pointing out that there are more tall people in America than Canada.  Of course there are, the American population is more than 10 times the population of Canada.

Percentages matter.

Posted by Vagabond Jim on 07/25/11 at 06:14 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

I don’t think the percentage is worth looking at either. When you look at it that way you’re choosing an arbitrary number (5 million) as your benchmark. It’d be more useful to look at an average (probably the median) of starting goalies and no. 1-3/4 defensemen and top-six forwards. The problem remains in choosing who counts as your starting goalies and your top half of skaters, and who doesn’t make the mark. On some teams, you can have nine forwards that you might count as top six players on other teams.

Posted by EDJ on 07/25/11 at 06:58 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

The goalie salary is down compared to skaters because the available capable talent is flooded compared to the number of spots.  Sure not every goalie is elite in the sense of Lundqvist, but it’s been shown over the years via the Red Wing model that you don’t need elite goal-tending or goaltender to get a cup.  All that’s required is the right save at the right time, and simply adequate puck-stopping (minimal bad goals).  With only 30 spots there’s virtually a guarantee you can find enough talent.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/25/11 at 07:03 PM ET


Two observations:

(1) The data are somewhat skewed due to the fact that these are cap hits we’re talking about, not salaries. Since far more skaters than goalies are signed to long-term deals with wild fluctuations in annual salary, the “true” matter is that goalies are even more underpaid than the data suggest. A comparison of salaries instead of cap hits is a more enlightening figure.

For example:
- 25 defensemen are making more than $5 million next season, as opposed to 11 goalies.
- Ilya Bryzgalov is the only goalie who will make more than $7 million this season ($10 million). The second-highest paid goalie is Henrik Lundqvist ($6.875 million). Twenty-eight total skaters (eight defenseman and twenty forwards) are set to make more than Lundqvist in 2011-2012.

(2) Unlike skaters, goalies seem to be lumped into one of two categories: Either you’re elite, or you’re expendable. The salary distribution makes this abundantly clear.

The salary distribution for veteran skaters is relatively even, with lots of representation in just about every bracket and the biggest collection of players in the $2 million to $4 million range.

But the salary distribution for goaltenders is polarized. Take a look at next year’s figures:

- 7 goalies making $6 million and above
- 4 goalies making $5 million - $6.99 million
- 3 goalies making $4 million - $4.99 million
- 7 goalies making $3 million - $3.99 million
- 8 goalies making $2 million - $2.99 million
- 16 goalies making $1 million - $1.99 million

The average starting goaltender will make around $3.8 million or so this season, but almost nobody is actually paid at that rate. Only four goalies in the entire league (Rinne, Khabibulin, Lehtonen and Halak) will be paid within $500,000 of the average starting goalie salary ($3.3 million - $4.3 million).

If you’re the kind of goalie that can reasonably be expected to contend for the Vezina with some regularity, congratulations—you can still hit a big payday.

But if you’re a cut below that level, good luck trying to get more than $3.5 million out of an NHL team. And if you’re over 30, your upper limit is probably closer to $2 million.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 07/25/11 at 08:46 PM ET


Whoops ...

- 4 goalies making $5 million - $6.99 million

Should read:

- 4 goalies making $5 million - $5.99 million

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 07/25/11 at 08:56 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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