Nick Suzuki: the ninth worst contract in the NHL according to (the model of) Don Luszczyszyn

In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in advanced statistics in the world of hockey. These make it possible to measure aspects of a player’s game that are more difficult to quantify with traditional statistics, and even if they are not proof of everything, they remain an interesting tool.

It’s not for nothing that the CH has put money into its advanced statistics department since the arrival of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes.

At the house of The Athletic, Don Luszczyszyn is the specialist at this level, and he is an excellent popularizer. Some data is quite complex, but with his model, he tries to simplify it as much as possible so that it is accessible to everyone.

Where am I going with all this? I arrive there.

Earlier today, Luszczyszyn released a list of the 10 worst contracts in the NHL based on his model. However, in ninth place, there is quite a surprise, when we find the pact of Nick Suzuki.

What? Nick Suzuki, the first center of the CH who is only 22 years old and who just scored 61 points last season, has the ninth worst contract in the NHL?

This is where it is important to take into account the nuance provided by Luszczyszyn, who explains a little about the reasons behind Suzuki’s presence in this list.

First of all, Suzuki will now receive $7.875 million for the next eight years with its new contract, which will take effect at the start of the next season. As Luszczyszyn notes, Suzuki may be a very good player, the fact remains that currently, he is not worth that amount.

And it makes sense: we signed him for the long term because we feel that eventually he will be worth this annual salary (and even more).

What makes Luszczyszyn’s role model a little skittish in Suzuki’s case is that after a very strong 2020-21 season in a second center role, he fell on tougher times piloting the first line in 2021-22. On the other hand, the expert of The Athletic notes that he recovered following the arrival of Martin St-Louis with much more encouraging data.

On the other hand, if we consider the whole season, the model argues that Suzuki has “regressed” since 2020-21. Part of that is attributable to his new role as a first center, though.

Luszczyszyn also notes that the model perhaps handicaps Suzuki a little too much due to the Canadian’s miserable season. It plays a role, too.

So overall, what Luszczyszyn is arguing is that Suzuki’s ninth spot in this ranking is mostly a warning of what the contract could become if Suzuki doesn’t make any progress in the coming years. But considering his young age, there is reason to believe that he will quickly come out of this ranking (which Luszczyszyn also believes, by the way).

Note also that the pacts of Josh Anderson and David Savard are not in the top-10, but they are still in the “honorable mentions” category. Nothing on Brendan Gallagher (who Advanced Stats didn’t hate last year, though), Mike Hoffman or Joel Armia.

But going back to Suzuki, this ranking is another good example that advanced stats are a good tool, but it’s important to consider context. and not to rely solely on that to determine the value of a player. It’s all about nuance, basically.

In short, we’ll see if Suzuki is able to move to the next level in 2022-23, but between you and me, I would be very surprised to see #14 CH in the top-10 of the worst contracts next year. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty confident on this one.

A lot of

– To hear my column of the day on the airwaves of 91.9 Sports, it’s here. [91,9 Sports]

– Alexei Emelin continues his KHL career.

– Sheldon Kennedy calls for the resignation of Scott Smith, president at HockeyCanada.

– Very nice gesture from Gary Bettman.

– The Sabers are counting on a good incubator of hopes.

– Logic.

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