The number 160. It is either a small number or a big number depending on how you’re looking at it. If you were looking at purchasing the newest electronic gadget, like the new Google Nexus tablet, you may consider it to be a small number. If you were looking at the NHL scoring race of 1992-93, you would consider it to be a huge number. For this specific season, this number represents the total points that the Magnificent Mario scored to win the Art Ross and Hart trophies. Wow!
Taking a stroll down memory lane got me to thinking. It occurred to me that it is somewhat of a rarity that we see any NHL player’s crack 100 points in a given year. Don’t misunderstand me; it still happens, just not with the same consistency that we have seen in the past. There are even teams that have not had a 100 point player in many years. Consider the Montreal Canadiens as an example; not a single player has cracked the century mark in point totals since the incomparable Mats Naslund did it in 1985-86. I’m serious! Do you see anything wrong with this picture because I most certainly do!
As players salaries increase year over year, we have seen a rather significant decline in the number of players to crack the seemingly elusive 100 point mark. Is this reasonable? I understand that it is the reality however I question whether or not we have gradually allowed the expectations that are placed on these players to rapidly decrease over the past 30 years. As the NHL teams hand out these ever increasingly insane contracts, does anyone in the NHL brain trust stop and consider just what exactly these players are being paid for? They are certainly not being paid for their results, so that only leaves one other reason; their potential. Potential you may ask…yes, potential.
Consider the most recent albatross of a contract that was recently awarded to Shea Weber. The Nashville Predators (upon matching) are betting on the fact that Mr. Weber will reach his potential in order to justify that bohemoth. His potential……..right…….what potential….to be Superman? The reality here is that Shea Weber only scored 49 points last season and was just awarded the second largest contract in the history of the NHL. Really? I fail to see any value in that.
Here are some specific statistics as it relates to point output versus paid salaries. It makes for a very interesting read, have a peek: ( amounts to a comparison every decade for the past 30 years)
Scoring Leaders 1992-93 / Salary
Mario Lemieux 160 pts./ $2.408m
Pat Lafontaine 148 pts./ $1.4m
Adam Oates 142 pts./ $460k
Scoring Leaders 2002-03 / Salary
Peter Forsberg 106 pts./ $9.5m
Markus Naslund 104 pts./ $4.5m
Jo Thornton 101 pts./ $2.5m
Scoring Leaders 2011-2012 / Salary
Evgeni Malkin 109 pts./ $9m
Steven Stamkos 97 pts./ $8m
Claude Giroux 93 pts./ $2.75m
*interestingly, the highest paid player was Brad Richards at $12,000,000. He only scored 66 points.
This may be only my opinion; however it is clear to me that either the currently outrageous salaries in the NHL need to come down significantly or these player’s need to be held to a much higher standard. Of course, this won’t happen as long as there are guaranteed contracts. Speaking of guaranteed contracts…….oh……...nevermind.
Cheers all and thanks for reading!
The level of goaltending and team defense has increased so much over the last couple of decades, you have to think of that.
your right about the salaries though
I'm not so sure about the level (I assume you meant ability) being better. Would you say that Shea Weber is better than someone like Chelios? Robinson? Pronger? I'm not convinced of that. As far as goaltending, same thing. The only argument for me would be that their (goalies) equipment is bigger.
The play style of the goalies is way better then it was which increases ability
The size, training and athletic ability of goalies are all better-or bigger-than in the 1980's and 1990's. Ron Hextall and Sean Burke were huge goalies in 1988. Now, they'd be average sized. Also, defensive systems are far more a factor than they were even ten years ago. Guys didn't lay out to block shots like they do now. Every team had a guy like Petr Klima, who didn't play defense at all. Now guys like that are exiled to the KHL.
Hextall was 6'3 205 and Burke was 6'4 215....those are big goalies in any era however I get your point.
Your argument is extremely weak and misguided. Shea Weber doesn't get paid to score goals. This is because he is a DEFENSEMAN! How are you going to go and say Shea doesn't deserve his money based on his POINTS!? If there was a stat column for how many times he's shutdown a rush or made an outlet pass you'd probably be happy because it has a number attached to it. You can't base it on points, ESPECIALLY for a defensemen because OBVIOUSLY that doesn't tell the whole story. Wow.
Saunders0910...get real....there have been many d-men over the years who have been high-end offensive players all the while being sound defensively. I bet even you could name 3-4....my point was that Weber is overpaid for the role he plays. Next time think before you post. Yikes.