Hockeynomics 101


The season is still a few weeks out, but with schools getting back in session (and out of shear boredom - seriously summer needs to end and the puck needs to drop), and to honor the frugal inactivity of retired accountant / current GM Greg Sherman & his dedicated band of dullards, I decided to examine just how thriftiness played out last season around the league in terms of cost-effective spending.

Chart Breakdown: First, you have the team's payroll from last season (courtesy capgeek). Next, is the team's payroll spending rank in comparison with the rest of the league, third is the team's final standing at the end of the regular season, and lastly is the differential between their final standing and their final rank in terms of money spent. **All the numbers in these charts reflect only the regular season, not position after playoffs or bonuses, etc.**

Northwest Division

2009-2010 Payroll

Payroll Rank

2009-2010 League Standing

Differential

Canucks

59,038,904

2nd

5th

-3

Flames

56,265,854

11th

16th

-5

Wild

55,965,738

12th

22nd

-10

Oilers

57,729,899

4th

30th

-26

Avs

48,860,146

22nd

12th

+10

As you probably guessed, the Avalanche fared quite nicely in terms of bang-for-the-buck. Sherman flexed his frugality muscle, and the other NW teams cowered accordingly. In fact, EVERY other team in the NW got their asses handed to them by Greg "thrifty" Sherman. Calgary and Vancouver scraped by with minor losses, but Edmonton and the Adjectives tanked big time. And while the Avs out-performed all their NW compatriots, they were not the best in the league by a long shot, (but the Oilers definitely were the worst. Sorry Copper & Blue). Keep reading to unlock the mysteries of the mighty greenback (or loonie's for you readers north of the border).

Central Division

2009-2010 Cap Payroll

Payroll Rank

2009-2010 League Standing

Differential

Blackhawks

55,762,544

13th

3rd

+10

Red wings

58,827,920

3rd

7th

-4

Predators

44,177,432

28th

10th

+18

Blues

47,061,370

24th

15th

+9

Blue Jackets

46,638,485

25th

27th

-2

 

 

Pacific Division

2009-2010 Cap Payroll

Payroll Rank

2009-2010 League Standing

Differential

Sharks

57,025,700

5th

2nd

+3

Coyotes

42,929,100

29th

4th

+25

Kings

50,719,990

21st

9th

+12

Ducks

53,492,796

19th

17th

+2

Stars

48,123,422

23rd

20th

+3

 

Northeast Division

2009-2010 Cap Payroll

Payroll Rank

2009-2010 League Standing

Differential

Sabres

55,162,097

15th

11th

+4

Senators

56,393,237

8th

13th

-5

Bruins

55,494,851

14th

14th

Even

Canadiens

56,376,138

10th

19th

-9

Maple Leafs

56,916,402

6th

29th

-23

 

Atlantic Division

2009-2010 Cap Payroll

Payroll Rank

2009-2010 League Standing

Differential

Devils

54,801,990

16th

6th

+10

Penguins

56,752,034

7th

8th

-1

Flyers

60,444,951

1st

18th

-17

Rangers

56,390,235

9th

21st

-12

Islanders

38,058,061

30th

26th

+4

 

 

Southeast Division

2009-2010 Cap Payroll

Payroll Rank

2009-2010 League Standing

Differential

Capitals

53,829,673

18th

1st

+17

Thrashers

46,261,182

26th

23rd

+3

Lightning

45,961,718

27th

25th

+2

Panthers

53,287,348

20th

28th

-8

Hurricanes

54,313,090

17th

24th

-7

 

Winners: The Caps (+17), Devils (+10), Kings (+12), Preds (+18), and Blackhawks (+10) all received plentiful returns on their investments, but the big winners here and the league-owned Coyotes at a whopping +25. Gary Bettman smiles, a puppy dies. The Caps are especially impressive because they finished 1st overall in the standings and STILL managed to snag a quality return on their spending. The Preds spend like they play, conservatively. Smart, but snoozeville.... And lastly, the Pacific division boasts the most financially gifted investors as every team finished higher in the standings in relation to their salary spending ranking.

Losers: Oil (-26), Wild (-10), Canadiens (-9), Maple Leafs (-23), Flyers (-17), and Rangers (-12) all under-performed in the regular season in terms of money spent and the return on that spending, but as both the Flyers and Canadiens showed us; anything can happen once you make it past the regular season, and money is truly earned in, and spent for, the post season. They Rangers are just dumb. No news there.

Next fiscal season forecast: I don't know. This whole topic is ridiculous. But I'd wager that the Oilers look to turn their fiscal performance around for 2010-2011 - not by leaps and bounds, but they'll bleed less. I can't say the same for the woeful Maple Leafs. I can't see them making any great strides. They'll be better in terms of their returns on money spent, but it's still quite messy up north.

Market Analysis: It seems like larger market teams, or teams with die-hard experienced fan bases (original six), are the teams willing to take the biggest financial gambles. Whereas the less tenured, smaller market teams play it more safely. It's kind of a shame there is that disparity, but I think it also creates some exciting Cinderella, and/or David and Goliath story lines, which make sports great.

Financial advice: Bet on the Avs. Always a sound investment.

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