Is Ryan Getzlaf the next Scott Gomez
A few weeks back, there was a blog post about how the money the New York Rangers gave to Scott Gomez made sense at the time.
There's no need to go into all the reasons now, but it does make one wonder if there is anyone else in the NHL that could soon disappoint fans with a massive contract.
It didn't take long to find one: Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks.
Sure sure, he's a great player, a centre, about to hit his prime, blah blah blah. People said the exact same thing about Scott Gomez before he signed his big deal.
Are there similarities between the two besides their hairlines? Is a team setting themselves up for disaster next summer? Just read below and judge for yourself.
(Note #1: I used Gomez's numbers before he signed his deal with the Rangers back in 2007, since this article is about people who are about to sign big deals, not what they do after they sign massive cap-crushing deals).
(Note #2: Obviously, this could all change depending on what happens with the new CBA between the owners and the NHLPA. I decided to use this current model until a new one is agreed upon).
Everyone knows about Scott Gomez's goal-scoring slump last season. A full calendar year without a goal. It's pretty shameful.
But he's never been a goal scorer.
In his first seven NHL seasons, here are his yearly goal totals: 19, 14, 10, 13, 14, 33 and 13. That's an average of 16.57 goals a season.
Here are Getzlaf's yearly goal total: 14, 25, 24, 25, 19, 19 and 11. That averages out to 19.57.
Now, Gomez's are skewed a little because of that one good season where he scored 33 goals. But it's also fair to note that Getzlaf, generally regarded as a better hockey player, has never had a 30-goal season, although he did hit the 20-goal mark three times (but not once in the last three years).
So whoever signs Getzlaf shouldn't expect him to ring up a lot of goals. Don't be disappointed when he averages 17 goals the first few years of his contract.
Some might say the assists is where both these guys excel.
Gomez's assists in those seven seasons beforehis big deal: 51, 49, 38, 42, 56, 51, and 47. Pretty consistent, right? That averages out to 47.71 assists a season.
Getzlaf's assists these last seven seasons: 25, 33, 58, 66, 50, 57 and 46. Not as consistent, right? But the average is 47.57.
That's pretty close to bang on. Getzlaf has probably had the advantage, since he has Corey Perry to give the puck to, while Gomez had Brian Gionta and whoever happened to be on the ice with them at the time.
If you compare the first seven years of their career, Getzlaf has averaged about three points more per season than Gomez did. That's it. That's actually not a huge difference.
Playoff numbers are pretty good
Scott Gomez's had some pretty good playoff years with the Devils. His last three playoff seasons with them looked like this:
2004: Five games, six points (which led the team).
2006: Nine games, nine points (his five goals were second on the team).
2007: 11 games, 14 points (led the team, and his 10 assists were sixth in the playoffs that year).
How does Getzlaf stack up?
2008: Six games, five points (which led the team)
2009: 13 games, 18 points (led the team in assists and points)
2010: Missed playoffs
2011: Six games, six points
2012: Missed playoffs
Not sure if you did the math yet, but they posted identical numbers: 29 points in 25 games (for the record, Gomez had nine goals, 20 assists, while Getzlaf had eight goals, 21 assists).
That's more than a point-per-game. Gomez's 1.16 points-per-game average was third overall during that time period of all players who had played at least 20 playoff games. Getzlaf's 1.16 points-per-game average is fourth overall during that time period of all players who had played at least 20 playoff games.
So we know they both find another gear when it hits the postseason. GMs like that. They'll overpay for it.
Weak free agent class both years for forwards
When Gomez signed, it was him, Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. They were seen as the big guns. There were also other good players: Michael Nylander, Ryan Smyth, Paul Kariya, Todd Bertuzzi, Robert Lang, Radek Bonk, Owen Nolan and Brendan Shanahan amongst others, but none of them were seen as major impact players.
So who is with Getzlaf next year? There's Corey Perry and Jarome Iginla. Then you have a bunch of second-tier guys, led by Alexander Semin, Patrick Elias, Mike Ribeiro, Andy McDonald, Jaromir Jagr, Joffrey Lupul, Nathan Horton, Travis Zajac, Ryane Clowe and Michael Ryder. Again, some nice complimentary players, but would you give any of them a massive contract, first-line minutes and still expect to be a contender for a cup? Probably not.
And there's still a year left for teams to sign their guys before they even hit free agency. So expect that list to be reduced by quite a bit.
When you look at major-impact free agents next year, there's three options. One of those is Getzlaf. He's going to cash in big.
Won a cup early in his career
Gomez won it in his rookie season. Getzlaf won it as a sophomore, but it was his first full season (he played only 57 games the season before).
Remember what general managers always say? Playoff experience counts. It leads to more money for players.
Gomez was 27 years old when he became a free agent. Getzlaf will just turn 28 when he hits the open market.
That means a lot of people will believe Getzlaf is entering his prime, just like they did with Gomez. They'll expect at least five great years from Getzlaf.
Due for a pay raise
Gomez had a cap hit of $5 million a season the year before we signed the big deal. Knowing what he know about his play back then, he was due for a raise.
Getzlaf has a cap hit of $5.325 million. Depending on what happens with the lockout, Getzlaf will probably sign for big money. There's a chance he signs a cap-friendly deal, but those may be on the way out. So it wouldn't surprise me if Getzlaf signs a massive contract where he gets $7 million a year, just like Gomez did five years ago.
There are obviously some differences. Getzlaf checks more than Gomez ever did. Gomez played in a defensive era before the new rules thanks to the lockout seven years ago. Gomez managed to stay healthy during his first seven years whereas Getzlaf has battled injuries. Gomez was much better in the faceoff dot than Getzlaf is.
But the simalarities are amazing. The assists per year is almost bang-on. Points in their last three playoff seasons are identical. They don't score. They've won a Cup early in their careers.
When you look at it, someone is going to sign Getzlaf for a lot of money (if he doesn't re-sign with Anaheim). Next summer, people will be saying it's a good deal for an elite playmaker and it will help fill a need for whatever team signs him. Three years afterwards, he'll be seen as an overpaid bum.
Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. And someone is bound to do just that in about 10 months time.
I've gotta get back to work, so I can't take the proper time to read this in full right now, unfortunately, but Ryan Getzlaf is a far better player than Gomez ever was. Gomez had some good seasons, and yes, he was a solid playmaker, but Getzlaf is a full tier above. I'd say "in my opinion," but I'm not even sure that's a matter of opinion. Getzlaf is just a better player. Maybe he'll get overpaid (seems to be the way of free agents, in general), but to compare him to Scott Gomez is going overboard.
I would never compare those players, but I appreciate the work that went into preparing this piece. Bold article that's sure to generate some discussion but although there are many similarities there are even more differences. Getzlaf is still a great keeper and a great buy low option too.
Regardless, love the effort. Well written too.
great read, intriguing to say the least
Certainly seems a stretch to me but good for you for throwing out an interesting idea and providing some facts to support your argument.
Solid effort and a good read. For me I could counter most of your points that you presented, which means you haven't convinced me of your argument at all...
One thing you need to be careful when looking at stats, is you need to see a bigger picture than just raw numbers... One aspect that you failed to acknowledge is the games played aspect. Someone who scores 10 goals in 10 games is much different than someone who scores 10 in 82. That's where I can counter a lot of the points that you've raised.
Goalscoring front... One thing you have to consider is games played and healthiness as well, Gomez played 548 out of a possible 574 games in order to tally 116 goals... If you work it in terms of goals/game it's 0.21. On the Getz front, he only played 512 out of a possible 574 and he tallied 137 goals... Once again if you work it in terms of goals/game it's 0.27. It's a subtle difference, but if you consider that over a full 82 game schedule, it's an extra 5 goals... Another factor you need to consider is Gomez's "missed games" are spread around, so they might have been knick-knack injuries which really won't affect the play/production over a full season. With Getz' injuries they were blocked, so there might be larger influences over the season. Eg.) the 4-5 games after returning he had to get back to game shape, so that might have decreased his production during that span...
Another big factor that needs to be addressed is the 33 goals that Gomez had, if you look at his career breakdown that 33 is a massive outlier. Everything else is within that 13-16 area. So that 33 you would probably have thought would have influenced the contract that he got with the Rangers. If you look at Getzlaf's numbers, you could argue that he's consistently at the 25 range... Getz didn't have a 50 goal season to inflate his goal totals like Gomez did, but he did have a 11 goal season last year that pulled the average down.
If he's healthy, he's more of a 25 goal scorer than 17, so I don't know where you pulled that number from?
Assists front... once again you didn't factor in games played. Gomez recorded 334 in 548. A/game of 0.61. Getz recorded 335 A in 512 games for A/game of 0.65. Once again subtle difference but adds up to an extra 3 assists over a full 82 game season.
Playoff performance... Once again solid points that you raised, but you can't look entirely at just point production. To me during the playoff runs, Gomez was a "tag along" or a "role player", he helped his team win, but I don't know if he was the cog that ran everything. He had Parise, Elias and even Gionta to help him out. I remembered more of Parise and Elias in those 2005-06 and 06-07 playoff runs than I did of Gomez... In that 08-09 Ducks run, Getz and Perry were monsters, and they were very much memorable in that run. Like you said, GMs are going to remember that, which is what's going to earn Getz a massive high-priced contract from multiple teams... The difference for me is Getz was memorable, Gomez wasn't.
Weak free agent class Another thing you also have to consider is that Gomez was overpaid, because of Sather... After watching years and years of Gomez playing with the Devils tormenting him, Sather I'm sure would have been all right here's our chance to weaken out competition and stab them in their hearts, by poaching one of their leaders. The Rangers/Devils rivalry is massive, I'm sure that played a role in Gomez's massive over-rated contract. Also Gomez's FA class was very weak as well, so that might have been a major reason which inflated his contract.
One of the biggest things that I think you brushed across is the physicality and size of Getz compared to Gomez. Getz is 6'4", 221. Gomez is 5'11" 200... So I mean GMs are going to take that into consideration as well. There aren't very many number 1 C's who have the size and plays with such physicality as Getz. He averaged 2.55 HIT per game over the last 3 seasons... 0.83 BS per game over that same span... compared to 0.37 HIT and 0.36 BS for Gomez. This is one of the major aspects that separates Getz from Gomez.
So what you'll find is that Gomez is over-paid in terms of his contract because all he brings to the table is points (when he doesn't produce that, that's the main reason why he's considered overpaid), he also did very well to use that "one year" to really secure himself a lucrative contract. There wasn't enough consistency in Gomez's play to warrant such a high priced contract. $7.35 mil per season, when the salary cap was $50.3 mil was ludacris! (14.6% of the cap), but he and his agents did a great job of luring Sather in. Getz isn't going to be getting that type of money, in today's terms, a team would need to offer him $10.3 mil a season to be equivalent of the percentage of cap as Gomez. As far as I can tell, no team is going to commit that much money to a player not named Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos or Ovechkin. Getz brings more to the table than just points, he brings a lot of the intangibles. So he might be overpaid in terms of the points that he does produce, but he won't be an "overpaid bum 3 years down the track" because of the intangibles. If he gets $7 mil a season like you suggest, that's pretty darn good value for what he brings to the table and I don't see how you can at all consider that "overpaid"...
There's a lot more differences between Getz and Gomez than there are similarities, IMO.
Ryan Getzlaf will return to 90+ points sooner than later, of that I have little to no doubt.
His name and that of "the putrid excuse for a NHL player that cost us one of the best young defensemen in the game" should not be uttered in the same sentence.
I never want to see this thread title again.
Have a great weekend boys!
Thanks for the feedback all. Appreciate the responses, even though my post isn't the most popular position. I'm a Getzlaf owner (and have taken him in many one-year pools), so I really hope I'm wrong, but I just get this funny feeling about him.
Again, thanks for the feedback.
Awesome article, just an overall great read. That being said, I will side with Gotlaid although I'm not sure if that's out of hope that you are wrong or not haha. Great points made by both newf and Gotlaid, +rep for both of you!
I appreciate the effort that went into this and it is an interesting take but there is just no way that getzlaf is going to pull a Scott Gomez. It just isn't going to happen. Thats the thing with stats, they can be easily manipulated to support a particular argument. For example:
If you take out this past season, in the previous four seasons to that only three players in the league averaged at least a point per game in each of those four seasons: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Ryan Getzlaf. That's it. He had a terrible 2011-12 season by his own admission due in large part to being a new dad and not being fully prepared for it.
If anything you should be buying low on him while you can.
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