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Grading the Free Agents: Blues Edition

My grades for the Blues Summer

Paul Stastny
Paul Stastny
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to go through the Free Agent signings and generate click-bait grade them for value. The Salary Cap means that dollars and goals are linked. I'm going to include value in the grade. $2.5m AAV for Brian Elliott is a good deal. $1m AAV would be off the hook, and $6m AAV would be terrible.

A few words about the numbers: If the cap is $69.5m, the mid-point is $62m, and the floor is $54.5. That puts average at $62m/23 = $2.7m. Top to bottom is 150 goals and about $15m, so $15m/150 = $100k per goal. $3m cap hit in 2014 is $2.7m + $300k or about +3 GVA. If the cap goes up to $90m, the mid-point will be $78m. Average goes to $3.4m, and each goal is worth $160k. $3m cap hit becomes a -2.5 GVA.

Brian Elliott 3 years $2.5m AAV Grade: A

$2.5m is about -2 GVA in 2014 and about -10 to -12 over the course of the deal. Elliott figures to play about 50 games a year, so he will probably only see about 1000 ES shots a season. That makes it hard for him to generate much positive value but also makes it hard to go negative too. 0.916 ES would be the break-even point.

Jori Lehtera 2 years $2.75m AAV Grade: A-

This could easily move up and would be hard to move down much. It's $1m less than Bergy, so about 10 goals less to break even. I just don't know how his KHL points translate to NHL points (how much is ѮГДЄ?)

Paul Stastny 4 years $7m AAV Grade: B

I'll probably get pilloried for this. It's a good contract but not great. They paid what they had to pay to land him. The centers are better with Stastny than they were without.

On the plus side, it's not $10.5m. Stastny is a solid two-way center that should fit right into the Blues game plan and culture.

On the minus side, $7m is still a lot of jack. The Blues are good enough defensively that I thought a one-dimensional offensive center would bring more value.

$7m is about +43 GVA. THoR has Stastny typically around +10 to +12 GVA.

Patrik Berglund 3 years $3.7m AAV Grade: C

I've talked about this before. It's about market for a player with Berglund's production. If Berglund plays up to his potential, he should be able to out-produce this deal.  But when has that actually happened? This works out to something like +15 GVA over the life of the deal. That's around what Berglund has averaged the last 5 years.

Joakim Lindstrom 1 year $700k Grade: C

It's a C assuming he winds up on the Wolves. Make it a minimum of a B if he makes the team. 20+ NHL points makes it an A. $700k is -20 GVA. Lindstrom would have to play regularly and be one of the worst players in the league not to wind up better than that.

Chris Butler 1 year $650k Grade: C

Same story as Lindstrom.

Steve Ott 2 years $2.6m AAV Grade: F

Army makes me sad sometimes.

Army says "We're heavily involved in analytics " Then he says "We like the grit that (Ott) brings to our organization and his ability to affect the game in ways that aren't seen just on the scoresheet. " Either Army doesn't actually use Analytics, or he just doesn't understand them. I don't care if Ott bakes cookies, or fetches the cars from the valet lot, or whatever, if what he is doing doesn't show up on the scoresheet, it isn't worth paying for.

Let's see. Wins faceoffs, gets killed on Corsi/shot differential/goal differential. Sounds like Manny Malhotra. (1 year, $850k). Or Jay McClement (1 year, $1m). Or even Max Lapierre ($1.1m AAV). Ott at $1.1m might be an upgrade over Lapierre. Ott at $2.6m? Horrible.

Giving Hitch Stastny, Lehtera, and Ott is like giving your kid Legos, a stuffed animal, and a bag of dirty syringes. At some time he's going to play with them in a way that leads to problems.

Letting Ryan Miller walk. Grade: A

Miller costs more than Elliott plus Lehtera plus Lindstrom.

Letting Vladimir Sobotka walk. Grade: F

More sadness. Army apparently thinks Ott is worth $2.6m. Sobotka wins more faceoffs and is positive on Corsi, etc. That's not worth an extra $400k?