Frankly, I've grown very tired of the constant hate for Mikhail Grabovski and have decided to write a post that aims to stamp out the hate once and for all.
Grabbo is entering his second year of his three year deal worth $2.9M in caphit per year. The year before his newest contract, he scored 20 G and recorded 28 assists in 78 games playing as the 2nd line center. That's a 0.615 PPG pace. This past season, one that was shortened due to a broken wrist, saw his point total drop to just 35 but his PPG stayed relatively the same at 0.592.
Alrighty so now let's do some comparisons to see just how good or bad Mr. Grabs is.
According to NHL.com, a PPG pace of 0.592 has him ranked 58th last year among centers which would put him near the bottom of the barrel for guys playing in a 2nd line role.
Haters - 1, Lovers - 0
Take the jump, but be warned; it's not pretty from here on out for the Haters.
Ah, but there is more than just a stat line to consider nowadays in the salary cap era. Whenever a player and their performance is to be judged, their cap hit must also play a part. As stated above, Grabbo carries a $2.9M caphit. According to capgeek's bargain hunter his 48 point full season in 2008-09 would rank him right at the 200th best contract per caphit, costing $60,416 per point. But I'm not done there as we need to narrow this list down a bit to get a good comparison.
If you eliminate all players who scored less than 40 points, Grabbo comes it at 70th right above Nik Antropov. But I'm not done yet. Realize that many of the players on this list are on ELCs (Steven Stamkos), first go around RFA contracts (Brandon Dubinsky), or veterans who took a heavy pay cut (Mark Recchi). So if we eliminate these below market value contracts, say with a cutoff at $2M, Grabovski now has the 33rd best contract in the league in terms of point production relative to caphit for players making more than $2M.
Haters - 1, Lovers - 1
If we head on over to Behind the Net and check out some advanced stats, the Lovers gain a ton more points.
He's 32nd in the league for penalties drawn per 60 with 1.4, and 9th in the league in terms of PDRAW/60 versus PTAKE/60 where he draws 4.67 penalties for every one he took. (For overall penalties, he's 8th with a 4.75 ratio) That's exactly what you want in a 2nd line energy player.
Haters - 1, Lovers - 2
Looking at Corsi numbers, his are the best among regular forwards on the Maple Leafs by far. His CORSI ON number is ridiculous at 17.93; 10th in the league for players with 20 or more games played, and with a crappy QTEAM of -0.009.
Haters - 1, Lovers - 3
He hates the Canadiens and Kostitsyns with the passion of a thousand suns.
Haters -1, Lovers - 4
FINAL SCORE: Haters - 1, Lovers -5
I could go on and on about how Grabovski is a good player with a great contract who only does good things for this team but I won't as I feel that it should all be pretty self evident. If you disagree with anything we've said, tell us why in the comments but please adhere to PPP Rule #5, and back them up with stats or facts.
Don't hate the player; hate the fact that you don't understand hockey.
Editor's Note: Before people start howling at SkinnyFish's argument and pointing out that Grabovski isn't a 100 point scorer re-read the post. Is Grabovski capable of earning his contract? I don't think that there should be any doubt. Did he last year? Certainly when he wasn't injured he did. My view is that he is the new Matt Stajan. Is he going to be the kind of second line center that wins this team the Cup? Probably not. Is he value for his money? Yes. Don't hate him because he doesn't get 100 points for $2.9M. Recognize that his 50ish points (hint: there's my prediction) are exactly in the neighbourhood he should be putting up.