Saturday, July 14, 2018

Assessing the Cost if Panarin Does a Taveres

Some may be angry...
Well, the initial stages of free agency 2018 are over.  John Taveres, the plum free agent on the market, ended up signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, spurning the team that drafted him, the New York Islanders.  The Isles lost the value of a number 1 overall pick, and got nothing in return. 

The Blue Jackets are facing a similar problem with Artemi Panarin, who has declined to enter into negotiations with the Blue Jackets, even though he could.  Panarin is set to command top dollar and term when he goes to free agency July 1, 2019, and its possible that he will exercise that right.  So what would the Jackets lose if they cannot sign or trade Panarin? 

Well, we traded Brandon Saad, and a goal tender we drafted (Anton Forsberg, (3rd round(?)) for Panarin.  So there is the value of a third round pick.  To get Saad, we traded Arty Anisimov and Marco Dano and some minor league guys to Chicago.  We got Anisimov as part of the Nash trade (Dubinsky, Anisimov, and a first) and we got Dano as a first round pick from the Kings in the Carter trade.  We got Carter for the first round pick that netted the Flyers Couterier, I seem to remember that being something like 8th to 12th overall.  We also got Jack Johnson in the Carter trade. Johnson walking in free agency is irrelevant to the present discussion.

So total organizational value traded was a 30th overall (Dano)(which we got for half of an 8th overall); a third of a 2nd overall (Anisimov, as part of Nash trade) and a third rounder.  These are organizational assets to be sure, but if we had to take a dead loss, it is not of the same magnitude as losing a first overall, who was a pretty good player. 

If you look at this as the cumulative probability that a player gets to the NHL and plays at least 400 games, your first overall is a near certainty to achieve this.  Second through about third picks are like 80-90 percent chance of meeting this.  After the top 5, this probability starts dropping sharply, with picks 5-10 at about a 50% rate (Editor's note: neither Gilbert Brule or Alex Picard made this threshold) and by the time you get to the thirtieth pick and the top of the second round the percentage levels off at about 10-12%.  By the third round everything is pretty stable at about 6-8% chance of playing 400 games.

So if we try some ersatz ranking system we come up with:

Taveres, No 1 overall = 95%

15% (Dano), + 10% (half of an eight overall converted to a 30th overall correction factor), +30% (Anisimov, one third of 90%) + 8% for a third rounder (Forsberg) = 62%, or roughly the equivalent of an 8th overall. 

Since Panarin has blossomed into an elite player, you might well get a first round pick and a couple of young assets on a trade and sign deal this summer.  In that case the CBJ would break even or come out ahead in the long run.  If we can't get what we want for him, and Panarin walks in free agency, it is roughly the equivalent of a draft day flop on your first round pick after a fair to good season.  It hurts, but it is not as crippling as losing a first overall. 

Tom Reed wrote an excellent article over on the Athletic urging the 'trade Panarin now' position.  I tend to agree with him.  Having Panarin in a contract year next year would be awesome, but acquiring some young assets in exchange would work nicely, and keep the team growing at a good pace as it gets better and the draft pipeline gets a bit thinner.  So I agree with Reed that you do not have to get an equivalent player for Panarin; top young assets and high picks are a very good return for this player.

We will see how this saga plays out.  Its not a bad thing to have Panarin playing for us in a contract year, so the short term results may be worth the middle of the road long term impact.  But if you can get what you want on a trade and sign deal, than Jarmo should pull the trigger.

Feel free to call me on any details of these trades.  I likely have some of it wrong, but it gives you an idea of the relative values we are working with.  It's summer, and it is okay to make stuff up.  Ha ha ha!

Stay cool everyone!


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