Nashville Predators: The Case for Calle Järnkrok over James Neal

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Player value

As you likely know, the NHL requires its teams to operate under an equal salary cap, currently set at $75 million. Considering the unquestionable importance of depth in a NHL lineup, the most successful teams are often those who can get high production from relatively low-salaried players.

James Neal signed a $5m contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-13. He eventually brought that contract to the Nashville Predators. In simple terms, James Neal took up 6.67% of the total salary value allotted to the franchise. Calle Järnkrok, meanwhile, is signed to a $2m contract with the Nashville Predators until 2022.

In a capless world, I would obviously want to keep James Neal on my roster. Fortunately for parity’s sake, we do not live in a capless world. With that, the issue of player value becomes one of utmost importance. To compare between these two players, I took their total points (at all strengths), and divided by each player’s cap hit in the corresponding season. Here’s a look at the resulting comparison:

In this area, Järnkrok has an enormous advantage. It’s not surprising, considering his cap hit has been less than half of Neal’s throughout his career. While both players are currently underperforming in this area, expect both to approach their career averages around halfway through this season.