What even is value?

The word has numerous meanings.

Some said Jacob Markstrom was the Vancouver Canucks’ most “valuable” player last season, but in the grand scheme of things, Elias Pettersson is undoubtedly the most valuable member of the current roster.

Pettersson is still on an ELC, thus what he provides on the ice in comparison to what he takes up on the salary cap makes him the Canucks’ most valuable asset, with Quinn Hughes coming in shortly behind.

When we analyze value of a contract from that perspective, Adam Gaudette’s new deal has the potential to be a home run for the club.

Back in May, our very own Brett Lee used statistical comparables to project what Gaudette’s second contract could look like. Here’s what Brett did to determine these comparables, with help from Jeremy Davis’ pGPS system:

I first looked at 23-year-old centres since 2007 that produced 0.56 points-per-game with a variance of around 27%. This meant that I was looking at a range of 0.41 to 0.71 points-per-game and resulted in 82 matches. To further filter down the pool, I cross-examined the matches with Gaudette’s 22-year-old production of 0.21 with a variance of 45%. I also eliminated any players that played more than 10 NHL games in their U22 seasons to align with Gaudette’s career path. This leaves us with just four statistical comparisons.

Here are the players Brett found to be comparables for Gaudette:

Player Age 23 P/G Age 22 P/G U22 NHL GP
Adam Gaudette 0.56 0.21 5
Vinnie Hinostroza 0.50 0.29 7
Phillip Danault 0.48 0.20 2
Valtteri Filppula 0.46 0.23 4
Radek Faksa 0.41 0.27 0

You’ll notice all of these players are NHL regulars, and it no doubt helped the Canucks’ case in negotiating the new deal that Gaudette was a non-factor in the playoffs, for the most part.

That being said, when you examine what these same players’ next contracts looked like in comparison’s to Gaudette’s 1-year, $950,000 deal — from a pure point producing perspective — this could pay off in a big way for the Canucks:

Player Age 24-29 P/G Second Contract Length Second Contract AAV Second Contract % of Cap Expiry Status
Vinnie Hinostroza 0.44 2 Years $1,500,000 2% RFA
Phillip Danault 0.61 2 Years $912,500 1.25% RFA
Valtteri Filppula 0.63 5 Years $3,000,000 5.29% UFA
Radek Faksa 0.37 3 Years $2,200,000 2.93% RFA

When one looks at these numbers, they would believe the absolute lowest the Canucks could get Gaudette for is somewhere just north of $1 million, for at least two years. Sure, the global pandemic certainly helps, but this is a good signing, full stop.

The big thing for Gaudette to show next season is that he is capable of playing the competent two-way game that the team demands from it’s bottom six. To blossom into a true third line center, Gaudette will need to improve his play on the defensive side of the puck.

That being said, should his line receive similar deployment to last season — as a secondary scoring line given weaker matchups — this contract has some serious potential to pay off massively for the Canucks, who need to find value everywhere they can in a flat cap world.