Photo: Patrick Smith
The Caps announced on Thursday that they re-signed not-at-all controversial right winger Tom Wilson to a 2-year deal that will carry a cap hit of $2 million. This may be hard to believe about a Wilson-related topic, but a lot of people had opinions about this deal.
The cap hit is a bit higher than I expected. Wilson carried a cap hit of $894,000 last season, so my eye-test guess was that he’d come in with a cap hit around $1.5 million.
Is the difference of $500,000 a big deal? Yes and no. Yes, it’s $500,000 less that the Caps have to use in free agency. They were already tight up against the salary cap so this further limits their flexibility. But also no, because a 25% payment above what I expected at $2 million isn’t all that big of a deal compared to a 25% over-payment on a deal worth significantly more.
In the end, the Caps seemed to have slightly overpaid for Wilson, but not so much that we need to serve up hot takes in response. Let’s take a look at why.
Matt Cane’s salary prediction model had Wilson pegged at $2.25 million.
Isabelle tweeted about Jason Zucker as a comp, which seems reasonable.
On Wilson's contract, it's same term and AAV as Jason Zucker, who signed his deal with Wild yesterday. Both scored 23 pts last year.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) June 30, 2016
I went about finding a comp a little bit differently. And, while any comp is going to be imperfect, my comps show the Caps overpaid a bit for Wilson.
Since 2005, seven players 24 or younger have skated 180-plus games in their first three NHL seasons and totaled between 40 and 60 points. Wilson is one of these three. From Hockey Reference, here’s the group:
Next, here’s a look at the deal these players signed after their third season and the average percentage of the salary cap those salaries accounted for:
|Player||Cap Hit||Percent of Cap|
All contract info from General Fanager
The players who I used as comps signed contracts after their third season that averaged out to 1.7 percent of the salary cap. Tom Wilson’s current contract comes in at 2.7 percent of the $74 million cap next season.
1.7 percent of the salary cap next season would be $1.258 million, suggesting that the Caps overpaid for Wilson relative to his comps by $742,000.
Is this the end of the world? No. Could the Wilson deal end up being a decent value? Yes. But, for a team with little cap space who’d like to add another small piece in free agency, it’s surprising to see an overpay, even if it’s only a slight one, on a player who had little leverage.
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