Spending and Production by Position: The Numbers

Editor's Note: This is good, so it's on the front page. Enjoy.

Since the implication of the salary cap, the Devils have never gone into a season with an ample amount of wiggle room under the cap. However, this year the Devils have almost $6 Million going into September, according to  So maybe the Devils organization took some time and looked back at what they spent and what they got out of it,  Winning seasons? Division Championships? Stanley Cup(s)?

I decided to take a look back at what the Devils spent on each position since the lockout to see if they are spending their money effectively. Does the money the Devils spend on left wing really lead to the left wings having better statistics than their right wing equals? My results are after the jump

First off, I used any players who played at least 15 games in a season and then totaled the salaries by position, and then by year. This way we don't include players who are not actually full-time NHL players.  Second, I did not list any specific players because that would lead to a fan bias. That way the reader can only look at production by position, not by individual players.

The results show that the Devils spend the most at left wing, gasp. Starting from the 95-96 season through the 10-11 season, the Devils spent $87.8 Million on left wingers, compared to $62.0 on centers, $39.7 on right wingers, and $89.2 on defensemen.  In six seasons, the Devils spent $48.1 Million more at left wing than right wing, a little scary if you ask me.

Next I'll include the basic table of stats I compiled:















Left Wing





Right Wing





Looking at the table, we can see there was significantly less production at right wing. Which almost all of us expected, the numbers just proved it. So the question now becomes, why doesn't Lou even out the spending at each wing? Lou may favor having a strong set of left wings than right wings. The Devils may have drafted better at left wing and therefore developed more quality left wings into their system than right wings.

Next we look at the centers, they have just 41 points less then the left wings and $25.8 Million less in salary. This makes it look as though we may be getting the best bang for our buck, over 6 seasons, at center.

Over six seasons, we spent $89.2 Million on defense, the most of any position. We also got the most assists and the least amount of goals, which doesn't concern me because defense is not paid primarily to score.  Overall, 720 points from a defense in six years doesn't sound terrible.  Then again, defense is paid for things that numbers have a hard time capturing.

The next table will be the same stats, except they will be divided by total games played, over the 6 seasons.  Not every position had the same number of games played due to injuries and the number of players at each position:















Left Wing





Right Wing





I believe this table is more telling because it accounts for total number of games played at each position so you can tell exactly what the spending to production would be for each position. The way to read each stat would be as follows: for the upper left value, you would get 0.145 goals per game and it will cost you $25,030 dollars.

Now that we've done that we see that left wings only get 0.056 more goals per game for more than twice the price. If you value points, you see that they produce 0.118 points per game for more than twice the price. so in the course of an 82 game season, you will get about 10 more points out of the left wings.  Now it doesn't look like the large amount of money spent at left wing is really worth it.

Looking at the centers statistics per game, we see that the Devils may be getting the worst bang for their buck at that position compared to the first chart which looked as though they were worth the money. They are only producing 0.379 points per game for about $25,000. Which is even less than the right wingers. 

Its hard to compare the defense to the centers or either winger because they are getting paid less to score and more to defend, obviously. We are spending the second most on the defense position, after left wings. Initially I would have guessed we spent the most on defense, because there are more defensemen than any other position. They don't lead the field in any category, but the Devils are still getting about 0.255 points per game for only $31,620.

Of course this analysis leaves out the other characteristics, such as a good defensive statistic, which is hard to capture and things like face off percentages for centers. This analysis just helps to illuminate the offensive production and what its worth to the Devils.  Further analysis could examine season to season differences in what we pay each position.

Let me know whether you think the Devils need to change how they spend on each position or not!

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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