Commentary

Best, worst summer signings

From Jaromir Jagr to Ilya Bryzgalov, grading the best and worst offseason contracts

Updated: January 6, 2012, 10:24 AM ET
By Timo Seppa | Hockey Prospectus
Tomas FleischmannJoel Auerbach/Getty ImagesTomas Fleischmann has given the Panthers a big boost, even at a big price.

In just a couple weeks, we'll have reached the halfway point of the 2011-12 regular season. While our perceptions of many players are colored by what's a relatively small sample of games -- particularly for the intrinsically volatile performance of goalies -- it's reasonable to look back on last summer's free-agent acquisitions and see which ones turned out best.

Goals versus threshold (GVT) is a measure of how many goals above "replacement level" a player is worth, with six goals equivalent to one win in the standings. The dollar figures shown are the annual cap hit of the contract. Goals versus salary (GVS) is a measure of how many goals a player has been worth compared to the cap hit. Players with a positive GVS are more than "worth the money" and players with a negative GVS are overpaid, while a zero GVS indicates that similar assets would have been readily available at the same price.

While current GVS served as a guideline in this exercise of evaluating the best and worst contracts, other factors were considered: age, contract length, expected performance during the length of the contract and "unsustainable performances" in a small sample of games.

Finally, we're only considering players who signed with new teams, so the likes of Shea Weber, Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne are not in the mix.

With the groundwork laid, let's jump in and see which have been the best and worse summer signings thus far.

Forwards worth the money

Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia Flyers: 7.3 GVT, $3.3 million for a year, 3.6 GVS

He's four years removed from his last NHL campaign, but Jagr has already proven that he could have significantly padded his Hall of Fame career stats had he remained in North America. Believe it or not, the former Penguins, Capitals and Rangers player ranks in the top 10 in all-time GVT.