Forbes released their annual ranking of NHL franchise values today and pegged the San Jose Sharks as being worth $223 million, good for 15th in the league. That's up $12 million from last year when the Sharks were valued at $211 million, ranking 16th.
But far more interesting was the business magazine's analysis of how much value teams were able to extract from their spending over the seven-year collective bargaining agreement that expired September 15th. Here's their methodology:
We compared each team’s player-cost-to-win ratio to the league average over the last seven seasons. Player costs include salaries, benefits and bonuses, and we weigh playoff victories twice as heavily as regular season wins. Each team’s final score represents how much better or worse it performed compared to the average team since the last lockout. A score of 120 means the team outperformed the league average by 20% in terms of games won per payroll dollar spent; a score of 80 represents cost efficiency 20% worse than the average team.
The Sharks were awarded a score of 125, meaning they were 25% more efficient in turning their dollars into wins than the average NHL club. That was good for first place in the entire league. This shouldn't be entirely surprising; San Jose was one of just two teams to qualify for the postseason every year of the league's last CBA, winning a President's Trophy and four Pacific Division titles along the way, despite averaging an annual payroll of just $49 million, two million shy of the NHL average over that span.
It also isn't surprising because Forbes' methodology, for better or worse, doesn't attribute additional value to a team for winning the Stanley Cup. If that were the case the Red Wings, who finished a close second with a 124 cost-to-win ratio, would have surely claimed the top spot. While the Sharks only won one game past the second round over the last CBA, their perennial playoff berth meant they were still able to rack up 38 playoff victories during that period—more than anyone apart from Detroit and Pittsburgh.
A lot of that has to do with the stable of homegrown talent the Sharks were able to amass through the draft. Players like Joe Pavelski, Ryane Clowe, Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic generated a ton of surplus value for the team while others like Devin Setoguchi, Matt Carle and Milan Michalek were turned into expensive but elite talent from outside the organization via the trade market. With the core of Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle aging and other valuable players like Pavelski and Clowe approaching free agency, San Jose will have to once again begin the process of accumulating young talent in order to top this list at the end of the next CBA.