Last night, for some reason or another, Brian Burke signed defenseman Brett Lebda to a two-year deal worth $1.45M per. I'll just come out and say that I am not a fan of the signing. Had Kaberle or Finger been moved/waived first, then I'd like it a little more. Anyways, it looks like Lebda will be our 6th defenseman for the upcoming season once Kaberle and Finger are dealt with.
That then got me thinking; Lebda's contract struck me as being too much for too little (he's 5'9"), I wonder what the average contract and performance of a #6 defenseman in the NHL is like? So off to NHL.com and capgeek.com I went to scrounge up some numbers.
To determine who was a team's #6 defenseman, I compared their TOI/G and their games played for the 2009-2010 season, and then used a little judgement to determine who was in fact that team's 6th defenseman for the majority of the season. Then once I had my list of names, I plugged them into capgeek to determine their salary cap hit. If that player was under contract, I used that figure; if they had signed a new contract beginning in the 2010 season, I used that figure; if they had their contract expire this summer and have yet to sign a new contract, I used their cap hit from the previous season.
Check out the numbers and discussion after the jump.
So basically a #6 defenseman plays 15:53 minutes a game on average; scores 12 points over the course of the season; and comes with a caphit of around $1M. (Note: If you remove Cam Barker from Chicago and replace him with Jordan Hendry, the average caphit falls to $912k)
So what does that tell us about Brett Lebda and the contract he was given yesterday? Well it tells me that for a 6th defenseman, he's overpaid and under performing. In fact, per my numbers, he's now the 4th highest paid #6 defenseman in the league.