The Tampa Bay Lightning announced today that they had reached an agreement on a contract extension with right wing Teddy Purcell. The 26-year old set career highs in all offensive categories for the second consecutive season, and starting in 2013-14 will be paid an average of $4.5 million/season.
What sort of value does that contract offer?
This contract extension covers Purcell’s unrestricted free agent years, so the open market is a fair comparison. Two players in particular stand out to me as good comparables this summer.
David Jones is 27 year old, and like Purcell plays right wing. Over the last two seasons Jones has a slight edge in goals (47 to 41) and sits well back in terms of assists (35 to 75). Worth noting is that Jones has appeared in 13 fewer games over that span. His new contract? Four years at $4.0 million/season.
P-A Parenteau is 29 years old, a right-winger, and coincidentally signed with the Colorado Avalanche (just like Jones). His offensive numbers are in the same ballpark as Purcell’s over the last two seasons – he’s a hair behind in goals (38 vs. 41) and slightly ahead in assists (82 to 75). His new contract is also a four-year deal with a $4.0 million/season cap hit.
Tomas Fleischmann signed a four-season contract with a $4.5 million annual cap hit in the summer of 2011. His offensive production over the two years leading into his new contract averaged out over an 82-game season was the equivalent of 25 goals and 59 points – the same calculation for Purcell today is 21 goals and 59 points.
Alex Tanguay signed a five-season contract with a $3.5 million annual cap hit in the summer of 2011. His offensive production over the two years leading into his new contract averaged out over an 82-game season was the equivalent of 17 goals and 55 points – and as we’ve already seen, the same calculation for Purcell today is 21 goals and 59 points.
Obviously, this is an imperfect method of assessing player worth – we’re looking strictly at total goals and points and not even allowing for things like injury, let alone two-way play, but it is a quick method for showing the marketplace. Based on his offensive totals, Purcell’s contract might not be a great bargain but it looks pretty good (Alex Tanguay’s deal is the one that strikes me as the best of this group, even allowing for age).
What about factors beyond the boxcar numbers?
According to Behind the Net, Purcell saw middling competition and a bunch of time in the offensive zone – i.e. favourable minutes. On the other hand, he crushed those minutes – he had the second-best PTS/60 rate on the team (behind only Steven Stamkos) and posted the club’s best Corsi rating. Relative to ice-time, he also had the best power play scoring rate on the team.
My only real concern with Purcell’s numbers is that his total number of shots fell this year (down to 152 from 196 in 2010-11) and that his shooting percentage is way beyond his career norms (15.8% vs. 9.9%). In a perfect world, I would have been very tempted to wait until next summer to extend Purcell, because it would not surprise me in the least if his offensive totals fell.
Still, it’s really not a bad contract. Purcell excels in his role, and the Lightning didn’t give him more than market value.
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