How Much for Mo?

As you know, the Caps and defenseman Shaone Morrisonn went through the salary arbitration process today in Toronto. Within the next day or two, we will learn Morrisonn’s salary for the 2008-09 season. The 25-year-old blueliner is the last remaining player unsigned by Washington for next season.

The arbitration process can be a bit murky for those of us who’ve never sat in on a session. Both sides use “comparables;” players they deem similar to the player in question. For the purposes of arbitration, those players are not necessarily comparables in the sense that they’ve played a similar number of games in the league and have posted similar numbers.

If that were the case, the Caps could say that Morrisonn is similar to Kurt Sauer in terms of stats and such. Sauer has four goals, 26 points and 214 PIM in 288 career NHL games. Morrisonn has six goals, 45 points and 278 PIM in 278 career games. Sauer recently signed a four-year deal with Phoenix, a contract that will pay him $1.75 million for each of the next four seasons.

And if the Caps were to use Sauer as a comparable (again, they can’t), the Morrisonn side might like to use Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik to bolster their own case. Orpik was chosen 18th overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft; Morrisonn was chosen 19th overall in 2001. Orpik has four goals, 36 points and 392 PIM in 297 career NHL contests. Orpik recently re-signed with the Penguins for six years. His deal will pay him $3.75 million per season.

There is a huge difference between what Sauer and Orpik got on the open market this month. On the very surface, neither player seems terribly different from Morrisonn, either.

I’ve poked around a bit and I can’t find a guy that I can safely say would qualify as a Morrisonn comparable. In other words, a guy who earned his next RFA contract at the age of 25 and in doing so, had career numbers similar to what Morrisonn’s are right now. 

Given the wide disparity in salaries for defensemen (and not just the two examples I used) it’s not surprising that the Caps and Morrisonn went to arbitration before ironing out a contract agreement on their own. As far as what the arbitrator decides, none of us has any idea, either. But we’ll know in a day or two. I’m thinking it could be anywhere between $1.5 and $2.5 million.

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6 Comments on “How Much for Mo?”

  1. Old Bob Says:

    I don’t think Morrissonn can use Oprik either since his contract was an UFA. This one will prove interesting.

  2. James Finney Says:

    I don’t see Orpik as being a comparable. He plays more of the heavy-hitting, enforcer defense. Morrison had 94 hits in 76 games, Orpik had 239 hits in 78 games. Orpik also had 125 blocked shots compared to Mo’s 89. Its those two stats that earned Orpik his salary, and Morrison – though I like him – is not worth quite that much. I’d say $2-2.5mil a year would be fair.

  3. Tom in FL Says:

    I posted on Tarik’s blog a number of comparables. I was trying to find only 25-year-old d-men who had played out the three-year entry level and then two years, with 2 more years before UFA. That is what Mo is. Orpik is a different animal, UFA already. Where they were drafted I think no longer matters, only stats since. Just like two employees each five years on the job, GPA in college now out the window. Anyway, I found someone as low as $900K with age, years and stats similar to Mo, plus another at $1.4M and someone with better stats $1.65M. Can’t recall all the names, one maybe Klesa. I posted there and so I will post here: $1.4M for one year, $3.3M total if a two-year deal.

    As a comparison, Orpik over the last two years (his 6th and 7th contract years) made $1.0M and $1.075M. If you increase that amount for the 25% cap increase (roughly) in the last two years, you get $2.6M for the next two years for Mo if he is “Orpik comparible.”

    I don’t have stats for mins/game and I think that is where Mo distances himself from some of the lower comparables. Anyway, I do this for a living (comparing defense systems, though, not players) so I will put my 29 years experience in aerospace on the line here for my $1.4M figure for Mo. Just don’t tell my boss if I’m wrong. As reference, I did a $4B estimate last week on one sheet of paper just using Crawford Curve method. So – don’t tell the USG if I’m wrong either.

  4. fauxrumors Says:

    1) Its all mute. Regardless of the size of the deal the Caps have little choice but to accept the arbitors decision. they won’t walk away from one of their top blueliners with no one available to replace him

  5. Tom in FL Says:

    Here is one note with a comparable:

    Here’s a player, Christoph Schubert, is 25, has played three years and is two years from UFA, similar to Mo. His stats are slightly better and he’s making $900K this year and next:

    The comparibles are all over the place.

    Posted by: Tom in FL | July 24, 2008 1:25 PM

  6. Anthony Says:

    I’m definetly in the “wait and see” camp. Its not so much Mo’s contract but if there are any trades, between then and the start of training camp. More is bound to happen I think before the start of camp.

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