Should fans really be concerned?

Thursday, July 11, 2013 ·

Twitter has turned me into an extremely lazy blogger. Bobby Butler's buyout? That's the last thing I wrote?! In other news the Sens have signed Darrin Madely.

After hearing Eugene Melnyk say he won't be investing further in the Ottawa Senators or the city, naturally Sens fans are little concerned. Though Melnyk didn't say the team is in any jeopardy (in fact he implied it's now viable with a lower payroll), he did say he can't spend another "5 or 6" million on salary. This is the part where I could splinter off into wild speculation on numerous issues, but for now, let's stick to hockey and some numbers that are proven facts.

As of today the Senators have the fourth lowest cap payroll in the NHL. There could be some movement before the 2013-14 season, but it's fair to expect the team to stay at or near that position. I'll preface the rest with the fact I like the make-up of this team. I expect the Sens to be a playoff team, but beyond that, the numbers don't lie.

We have had eight seasons of salary cap hockey in the NHL. An era that was supposed to usher in more  parity and close the gap between the have and have-nots. In terms of having a chance to not just make the playoffs but maybe go on a deep run to at least conference final? The short answer is....not really.

In the 8 seasons of non salary cap hockey prior to the lockout of 2004, the NHL produced 5 different champions, 11 different finalists and 17 different conference finalists. In the 8 seasons since then, the numbers are 7, 11 and 20.

The real concern for Sens fans, or any low spending team comes when you look at the cap payrolls of deep playoff teams in the salary cap era. No team in the bottom third has made a final (0-16) and only 2 teams in the bottom third have ever made a conference final ( '06 Sabres - 25th, '09 Canes - 22nd).

So. Can the Senators be a competitive team with a low cap payroll? Of course they can. With legitimate star power, great goaltending and a plethora of young improving players you'd be a fool to absolutely close the door on "anything is possible". However, if Eugene Melnyk is serious about not investing any further into this team and therefore perennially being in the bottom third of payroll, the Senators will have to make some salary cap era history just to make a final within the next few years.



Joe Lorincz said...
July 11, 2013 at 2:39 PM  

You couldn't have waited 15 days to write this?

About this blog

Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.