Winnipeg Jets RFA Analysis: What is Zach Bogosian Worth?

Posted by Richard Pollock in Columns,Features,Roster Analysis,Winnipeg Jets,Winnipeg Jets RFA Analysis on June 30, 2011 — 7 Comments

Recently we have examined what we believe Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler are worth.  Both players are restricted free agents with some leverage much the same as a player like Zach Bogosian.  In fact, Bogosian may have more leverage than Ladd and Wheeler because of the possibility of his receiving an offer sheet from another NHL franchise.

The New York State native is 20 years old, a beautiful skater, powerful hitter and a good puck mover.  There is a reason Bogosian was the 3rd overall selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft behind the two most sought after restricted free agents (RFAs) this off-season: Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty.

Rumour has it the Flyers are considering tendering an offer sheet to the former 50 goal scorer Stamkos.  Interestingly, much less has been reported about a possible offer sheet to Doughty, but the risk will be present with Doughty if the former Canadian Olympian hits July 1st without a new contract.

While the focus of the 2008 Draft was and continues to be Stamkos and Doughty, let’s take a closer look at Zach Bogosian.

More on Bogosian after the jump.

Bogosian clearly hasn’t been in the class of the aforementioned players but at 20 years old, and having just completed his entry-level contract, is he not a prime candidate for an offer sheet?

What’s more, the Winnipeg franchise will apparently have an internal budget set for the 2010/11 (something Tampa Bay and Los Angeles may not have).  In saying that, we are not assuming the Jets would not match an offer sheet; in fact, Kevin Cheveldayoff alluded to that being the likely outcome on the IC Hockey Show a few weeks back.  However, Cheveldayoff also spoke about the inflationary nature of offer sheets and one has to wonder if he’d be tempted to take the compensation and continue the team’s rebuild in a cost effective manner.

For Bogosian to receive an offer sheet, a team would have to sacrifice the following compensation based upon the financial terms of the contract (information courtesy of NHL.com):

OFFER COMPENSATION
$1,034,249 or below None
Over $1,034,249 to $1,567,043 Third-round choice
Over $1,567,043 to $3,134,088 Second-round choice
Over $3,134,088 to $4,701,131 First-round and third-round choice
Over $4,701,131 to $6,268,175 First-round, second-round and third-round choice
Over $6,268,175 to $7,835,219 Two first-round choices, one second- and one third-round choice
Over $7,835,219 Four first-round choices

One aspect of offer sheets people fail to realize is that the draft picks involved in any transaction must be the draft picks of the team signing the offer sheet.  Meaning, a team that has traded its first round draft pick for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft cannot sign a player to an offer sheet over $3,134,088 because they do not have the necessary compensation available.  If that team acquires another first round pick (even a higher pick) that matters not with respect to the CBA rules—it has to be that team’s draft choice (this is why you see teams trade away their picks and then occasionally trade back for those same picks).

Looking at the numbers above, it is hard to believe Winnipeg would not instantly match any contract up to $3,134,088 per season.

Before moving onto the next contract class and the accompanying compensation, let’s take a look at some important numbers associated with Bogosian’s game over his first three seasons in the NHL.

Season Points (Power Play Points) Ice Time (PP/ES/PK) Quality of Competition Relative to Corsi (Rank on team for D) Zone Ratio (Offensive Zone Face-offs/Defensive Zone Face-offs) Points-Per-60 Minutes at ES and on PP
2008/09 19 (9/10) 1:07/15:30/1:28 6th 43.6% 1.13/5.70
2009/10 23 (10/13) 1:39/17:35/2:09 3rd 44.7% 0.67/2.66
2010/11 17 (5/12) 1:58/18:24/2:01 1st 47.9% 0.53/1.31

Again, before moving onto the next class of compensation (any offer sheet above $3,134,088) let’s look at some comparables to Bogosian, as we did with Blake Wheeler.

Erik Johnson seems like a very applicable comparison in this instance.  Johnson is a right handed shooting American defenseman like Bogosian, was a high draft pick (Number 1 in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft) and signed a contract after his entry-level contract expired.  You will note that his 2008/09 season was not included, as he was injured in the off-season (playing golf—well horsing around while playing golf) and did not play a game that season.

Erik Johnson Points (Power Play Points) Ice Time (PP/ES/PK) Quality of Competition Relative to Corsi (Rank on team for D) Zone Ratio (Offensive Zone Face-offs/Defensive Zone Face-offs) Points-Per-60 Minutes at ES and on PP
2007/08 33 (5/28) 3:44/14:10/0:15 6th 50.9% 0.96/4.01
2009/10 39 (10/29) 3:15/17:23/0:47 5th 59.9% 0.97/3.39
2010/11 29 (8/21) 2:34/17:04/2:29 (STL) 3:06/19:06/2:20 (COL) 3rd 53.5% 0.60/2.72

Another right handed shooting defenseman who recently signed his second NHL contract is Kris Letang.  Now, during the IC roster breakdown, we discussed the different contracts signed by Erik Johnson and Kris Letang and the risk both assumed by agreeing to their different contracts.  We will recap the distinguishing factors of those contracts in a few paragraphs, but first let’s breakdown some of Letang’s important numbers:

Kris Letang Points (Power Play Points) Ice Time (PP/ES/PK) Quality of Competition Relative to Corsi (Rank on team for D) Zone Ratio (Offensive Zone Face-offs/Defensive Zone Face-offs) Points-Per-60 Minutes at ES and on PP
2007/08 17 (6/11) 2:35/14:43/0:50 8th 51.1% 0.47/2.70
2008/09 33(10/23) 3:35/16:16/1:16 4th 52.7% 1.01/2.17
2010/11 27 (3/24) 2:49/17:21/1:22 3rd 55.4% 1.06/1.48

After the 2009/10 season, Erik Johnson had two seasons under his belt.  He signed for two years at $2.6 million per season for a total of $5.2 million.  There was risk involved with this transaction for both sides.  For St. Louis, the risk involved Johnson breaking out over the course of the next two seasons and his market value being far higher than if he had signed a four-year deal.  Alternatively, Johnson risked the lack of security and hoped to have taken his game to the next level by the time the two seasons on the contract were complete.  In hindsight, maybe the Blues were not sold on Johnson—hence his trade to Colorado, but at the time, that seemed to be the prevailing thought process for both sides.

In contrast, Letang signed a four-year deal worth a total of $14 million, or $3.5 million per season.  Letang took security in favour of flexibility and the Penguins opted for the risk (seemingly worthwhile at this point) that Letang would continue to progress on his development curve and provide excess value later on in the contract, if not right away.

Remember that Johnson’s contract was negotiated prior to 2010/11—the only reason those season numbers are provided above is to allow for a first three NHL seasons comparison vis a vis Bogosian.

When comparing these players in order to set a range of contract figures, it comes to light that Bogosian has been employed in a far more defensive role than either of Johnson/Letang.

Bogosian has never seen more than 2:00 minutes per game average on the power play, starts a large number of his shifts in the defensive zone and plays against the other team’s top competition.  Also, he is trusted with significant penalty killing minutes.  Johnson and Letang out produce Bogosian points wise but Bogosian has demonstrated potential in that respect—the differences are not as striking as many would believe.

Overall, Bogosian’s agent could certainly make the argument that he is due for a contract with Winnipeg in the $2.6 million to $2.9 million range.

Now, of course, comes the offer sheet factor.  For a team to make the compensation even something to consider for Cheveldayoff and Heisinger, it needs to exceed $3,134,088.  Even then, a first and a third round pick—depending on the team, may not seem like close to an even trade off.

Then what about the next class of compensation; well, that begins at $4,701,131 and warrants compensation of a first, second and third round pick.  At that financial level, the Jets would have to consider the value of overpaying Bogosian combined with the compensation available.  Although, one would think even with the addition of a second round pick, and an inflated salary, the team would likely match.

The next level is $6,268,175 and warrants compensation of two first round picks, a second round pick and a third round pick.  At that inflated salary and with that value in return, the Jets would likely let Bogosian walk.  However the truth is that an offer like that is not likely, or even remotely likely, to happen.

Thus, it appears that the Winnipeg organization will be negotiating without a real fear of an offer sheet (unless a team drives Winnipeg to overpay at about the $4.0 to $4.5 million range just to throw off their cap projections—see Niklas Hjalmarsson last season).

With the threat of an offer sheet unlikely, Bogosian seems to carry a per season value of about $2.6 to $2.9 million on a two-year deal.  If the deal were for longer, which is probably unlikely considering the team’s lack of familiarity with him, then his salary would likely have a higher per year cap hit (think $3.3 to $3.5 million or so).

**Thanks to Mike Colligan for the updated RFA compensation figures**

**Thanks to Gabe Desjardins for the advanced statistics**

  • http://twitter.com/LarryPlett Larry Plett

    You have to love the fact that we got such a young team.  When you consider that we could have gotten Phx….even with the history, to have all these prospects, this team could be dangerous in a year or two/three.

    Great work.

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  • http://twitter.com/ManitobaJets1 Manitoba Jets

    Wonder if he will live up to the hype.  Should be an interesting season for the young blueliner.

  • http://twitter.com/ou812jay8 Jay Steyer

    Bogosian has all the talent in the world.  He is a very good offensive player, but didn’t seem to take to Coach Ramsay’s system too well.  He looked hesitant at times and made poor decisions when passing the puck.  He’s much better when he can improvise much like Byfuglien did last year.  He has a strong shot, but needs to become more accurate as far as getting it on net.  Not sure if the numbers back it up, but he seems more comfortable playing with Enstrom and seemed to do better than when playing with Hainsey or Oduya(which I’m a fan of neither player).  On defense, as a young player, he has some mental lapses and was out of position on quite a few goals that were because of him.  He hasn’t developed as quickly as Doughty, but he has as much upside as Doughty does for sure.  The Thrashers brought in Schneider and Chelios his first two years to mentor him, so he has learned the ropes from some good ones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Both/731742938 Bill Both

    The one factor that hasn’t been considered in this very fine analysis is Bogosian himself. Will he balk at the move?

    I recall reading that he was unhappy with the distance between Atlanta and his Massena, NY home (upstate NY just across the border from Ottawa). Winnipeg is much farther away and, once the team transfers to the WC, he will only rarely travel back east during the season. Also, he may want to land a roster spot with a proven contender.

    If Bogosian wants to play in Winnipeg, the Jets should be able to retain him. If not, they might be better advised to trade him rather than accept draft picks in compensation.

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