July 10, 2007

Bieksa Signed

The last week had a few big signings including Crosby ($45M/5 years), Shanahan resigned in New York. But the one that caught my attention the most was Bieksa ($11.25M/3 years). Now I know, as a resident of Vancouver, how popular this guy is. Bieksa spent years in the AHL only to be called up to replace Jovanovski and did a remarkable job. Now, after one complete NHL season he gets a salary that puts him in the top 15% of the league. That's a pretty rare accomplishment.

I like the offense Bieksa produces, but defensively Bieksa has been a bit poor. In terms of minuses per hour, Bieksa ranks: 24th out of 29 Vancouver players and 9th out of 11 defenseman (Coulombe and Tremblay were worse). And only Mitchell and Chouinard had worse penalty killing statistics than Bieksa. Bieksa has no playoff points in 9 games (although he didn't get much help from the forwards).

There are 31 (out of 190) defenseman who averaged 0.5 points per game or greater in the last season (Bieksa had 0.515 points per game), so in terms of points Bieksa is in the top 15%, however if you consider that defensively he is worse than average his contract appears to be inflated. The whole beauty of a player like Bieksa is the fact that they generally cost about $2 million. For a team like Vancouver that buys to the cap, these little over expenditures could create a bit of a problem.

Secondly, it is often prudent to make sure the player can repeat the good performance before signing a reasonably large contract for 3 years.

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