Do Nash’s dollars make sense?

Do Nash’s dollars make sense?

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Photo: Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

In addition to the trade speculation, ad nauseam analysis of what could happen is the natural side effect when the trade deadline nears. It’s never a matter of hearing of a certain rumor, then waiting to see how everything unfolds. In fact, during this silly part of the season we usually analyze a trades that never comes to fruition more than those that actually become reality. That’s the beauty of the deadline. We can analyze and discuss all we want because the speculation and rumors are endless.

Time to touch on the recent swirl of Rick Nash speculation. First, a little background according to what I’ve heard and read – Nash had supposedly become available in Columbus in late-January. All still speculation, general manager Scott Howson eventually broke the ice, stating that he’s ‘listening’. Going in accordance with immediate speculation, Toronto was reportedly interested, and now we have numerous, probably unnecessary analyses of a possible move here.

Last week, Matthew Cameron analyzed the overall picture of Nash in a Leafs uniform – what he would cost, what he would bring, etc. Here today, I aim to analyze Rick Nash as a product and purchase; what’s the bang for the buck on his $7.8 million contract?

There’s been a lot said about Nash and the intangibles he brings to a lineup – leadership, work ethic, game-breaking ability, etc. These things aren’t taught, they develop over time and Nash has got quite a few down pat while only being the league a few years. This speaks volumes to the type of teammate and player he is. However, there’s much more to the game than just intangibles and ability. There’s a business side to everything. And in the end, you’re paying for the product, and you always expect to receive solid value for your money spent.

Today, I introduce a numerically complicated yet simply understood statistic, which in my eyes does an accurate assessment of a player’s offensive value per million dollars earned, and illustrates how Nash has been poor value on his current contract.  Labelled ‘O.P.V.’ (Offensive Production to Value), the stat consists of five major offensively-involved categories – goals, points, plus-minus, CORSI ON, and ice time per 60 minutes. All the results in each category are then added up and divided by five. The following number is a player’s OPV rating, per million dollars earned. Before we get into applying this to the Nash situation, here’s an example to aid you in better understanding it.

Player ‘A’ earns $5.00 million dollars. He’s a top line center for the Kalamazoo Tigers, and has produced 45 points, 25 goals, and a CORSI-on rating of +2.5, all while being a +10 throughout an average of 20 minutes of ice time per night. He has played 60 games.

To this point, he has earned $3.66 million of the total $5 he will accumulate by the end of of the season. His production for all those stats per million earned, according to how much he earned so far is below:

12.35 points: 1 million earned
+0.68 Corsi Rating: 1 million earned
6.83 goals: 1 million earned
Average Of +2.73 in plus-minuses: 1 million earned
Plays 5.54 minutes a night: 1 million earned

Now, I add all the numbers together and divide by 5. Finally, Player ‘A’ has produced an impressive 5.626 OPV rating per million dollars earned.

Not all players will reach that number. You’ll see quite a few marquee names on the list who don’t come within a mile of that mark (you’ll see more in the charts). Before we get to the comparative charts, you’ll want to note that the average OPV around the league is roughly around 3.525 per million dollars earned. I stress the word roughly due to the short amount of time to apply this statistic to a wide variety of players, I wasn’t able to apply it to everybody I absolutely needed to. I can assure you that this is number is near completion, and won’t be very far off when I determine a completely accurate value.

Anyways, getting back to Nash – with this statistic in mind, I wanted to apply it to him and other players of similar age, salary, and role to understand how he compares to around the league and if he provides solid value for his money. I’m going to show you two charts; one that compares his OPV value this season to the rest, and one that compares his OPV value the last three seasons (including this year) – which is how long he’s been in his current deal for – compared to the rest, to help us understand if Nash is worth his money. The average OPV produced of these six players this season is 2.7965 per million dollars.

Here’s chart number one, comparing this year’s results:


Player (Salary) Goals Per M Points Per M +/- Per M CORSI On per M Ice time/60 Min Per M OPV per M
Rick Nash (5.707) 3.504 7.33 -0.367 -0.33 2.64 1.895
Corey Perry (3.66) 7.7 12.5 -2.33 1.215 3.44 4.705
Vincent Lecavalier (5.37) 3.91 8.56 -0.18 -0.16 2.77 2.98
Eric Staal (5.8325) 2.74 7.7 -3.26 0.502 2.711 2.086
Dany Heatley (5.2) 3.65 7.88 1.92 -1.04 0.626 2
Alexander Ovechkin (6.6) 3.6 6.81 -1.944 -0.763 2.37 2.015




Tons of numbers there, but the key one is to the far right, where the OPV values are listed. As you can see, Nash barely compares to the others despite being within the same salary range. The only potential argument I’d use for Nash’s inadequacy is his lack of talented line mates. However, Jeff Carter is as good as it gets on most teams, so it’s definitely peculiar Nash is posting one of his worst OPV values in his career. As you can also see, Corey Perry has been dominant, and Ovechkin is surprisingly lacking.

The second chart measures the players OPV values of the last three years. However, to simplify the chart, I’ve excluded all the specific measures leading up to the OPV.

Name Salary Earned ($) OPV
Rick Nash 21.307 2.5917
Corey Perry 15.59 4.9328
Vincent Lecavalier 25.37 2.203
Eric Staal 20.84 2.554
Dany Heatley 20.7 4.28
Alexander Ovechkin 25.6 3.5312




Compared to the league average of roughly 3.5, Nash compares quite poorly due to his monstrosity of a contract. Comparing Nash to the others bodes a bit better for him than before, as he tops out forwards Lecavalier and Staal. As you can also recognize, Nash has “earned” the second most amount of money among all the players, at 21.307M. This obviously plays a huge factor in his poor production to dollar value; if he’s making 2 million less, his OPV would eclipse the league average.

Nonetheless, the fact of the matter is he does make the 7.8 million he hauls in every year and because of it, he underproduces for his money earned. How much of that is due to circumstance in Columbus? For the team that eventually acquires Nash and his contract, they’ll have to hope it’s quite a bit.

Twitter: @degratesports

*Of course this statistic is new and I’m looking to improve it’s accuracy and meaning over time, so any suggestions or ideas through the comments or email ([email protected]) are very welcome!

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