First off, let me start with an apology. We've been a little slow with new content around here lately, but that hasn't been completely our fault.
One, absolutely nothing Sharks related is happening. I don't know how many Bieksa and Kaberle rumors you want, but that's what we've got. Two, I've been spending every waking moment studying for my LEED exam (which I thankfully just passed). It's made for a perfect storm of Sharklessness.
Even though not much is going on in San Jose right now, a recent contract signed by another young RFA forward may shed some light on the contract negotiations currently underway with Devin Setoguchi. Although not much has been said about the talks (that have drawn out far longer than any of us expected), it's pretty apparent that both sides want resolution.
"We are hopeful that we will be able to work something out with the San Jose Sharks,"
-Setoguchi's agent Paul Krepelka.
Don't read too much into this comment. If anything, it's stock verbiage. I'm confident that something is going to get done between the two parties. However, it may not be for as much as originally expected.
A few months ago, I wrote a piece in the hopes of establishing Setoguchi's market value. I pegged the number at $3.6MM annually over four years, and most agreed with me at that point. As the offseason has progressed, we've come down from that number, settling in at around $3.2MM. We've never dipped below $3MM, and I would have called you crazy if you suggested it. However, David Perron's contract changes things a bit.
Now, I realize my track record hasn't been great when talking about contract comparables (Remember Marleau and Savard?). However, this one is a bit more realistic. Both Setoguchi and Perron are (Perron was) RFA's. They're both former first round picks. They're both young with high ceilings. Most importantly, though, they've both had similar production over the last few years.
I wanted to lay the stats out in a table, but for some reason it's not working. Just know this: Over the past two seasons, Perron has tallied 97 points, while Setoguchi has tallied 101.
According to capgeek.com (really, what isn't), Perron's new contract will pay him $4.3MM over the next two years. That's a cap hit of just $2.15MM a year, almost $1.5MM below where we originally pegged Setoguchi. Are 4 more points over two years worth that much?
I understand that Setoguchi was hurt for 12 games this year and that it affected his play even when he was back in the lineup. I even came to his defense when some suggested trading him at the deadline. However, the fact remains that the players are very similar, and Perron signed at a bargain for his team.
Setoguchi does have a few things working for him, though, including his 31 goal campaign in 2008-2009. That, and the fact that he has scored .67 points per game over the last few years, opposed to just .59 for Perron. In addition, Setoguchi showed up in the first round of the playoffs this year, something that netted Pavelski a few more dollars than most expected.
Setoguchi will get paid more than Perron, but how much more?
If I'm Doug Wilson, I continue to preach the concept of so called "team conscious" contracts and use this deal for a bit of leverage. If Setoguchi agrees to a term which is a tad longer, you bump up the dollar amount to keep him around. But there's no guarantee that any deal signed by Setoguchi will be in excess of $3MM annually, on average. The savings, whatever they may be, can be used to improve other sections of the team, and perhaps help woo a free agent such as Mike Modano.
What's important to remember, though, is how important Setoguchi is on this team. Loosing his talent offensively would affect the squad immensely, and his potential remains sky high three seasons into his NHL career. I think we all want him signed, and I think it's coming. The only question remaining is the cost.