Monday, July 28, 2008

How does Vermette compare to Bouchard?

Today, the Minnesota Wild announced that they'd avoided arbitration with their top-scoring centreman Pierre-Marc Bouchard with a five-year, $20.4M contract (a cap hit of $4.08 per year). This might seem like just another signing to Sens fans, but with Sens' centreman Antoine Vermette's arbitration hearing coming up, how will this signing impact the verdict?

On paper, there isn't really much of a comparison. Bouchard has scored 179 regular-season points over the last three seasons, while Vermette has only put up 125. While Bouchard has less playoff points (7, compared to 8 for Vermette) he has only played 16 playoff games, while Vermette's played 38. There is really no comparison in terms of offensive output, and Bouchard is undoubtedly a more important component of the Wild than Vermette is of the Sens.

Bouchard, however, was given more opportunities to produce offensively than Vermette. He averaged more than one minute more per game than the Verminator (18:50 compared to 17:34), including more than twice as much powerplay time per game (3:35 compared to 1:28). And Vermette had a lot more penalty-killing time (3:39 per game, while Bouchard averaged 0:02 per game); as we all know, his speed makes him a solid penalty killer, so Vermette's value is defensive, as well.

According to newspaper reports, Vermette has been asking for a long-term contract in the range of $4M per year, just like Bouchard's. He might be worth that to another team, but he hasn't proven the Senators that he can justify that kind of dough with consistent, timely offensive production.
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