A Look At Foligno’s Worth.

4 yrs.

That’s the magic number.

In 4 years Nick Foligno will be UFA eligible.  Until then, he remains RFA, and as such, under tight contractual constrictions.

As it stands, in the current CBA, a player is restricted to entry level or RFA status until they’ve played 7 yrs in the NHL, or reach the age of 27.  Under RFA rules, a team is obligated to present their RFA’s with “qualifying offers”, or risk losing them to UFA status.  Foligno has been presented an Q.O. at the price of @0.840M/yr., which, to nobodies surprise, he has refused to accept.

The next step comes after July 15th.  Beyond this date a team can offer beyond the CBA minimum (or less), effectively, begin negotiating with their RFA’s.  This, I suspect, is where Foligno and the Sens find themselves.

There are rumours out there that Foligno has accepted a 1.6M deal…I have not heard this to be true, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, so, in the absence of proof, I’ll assume it to be only untrue.  But, it does make one consider what Foligno is worth.  This is a very difficult thing to determine.

The factors involved are;

  1. RFA restrictions. – As an RFA, if Foligno is presented with a Q.O., and does not sign by Dec 1st, of his RFA season, he will be declared ineligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of the season and will remain the exclusive property of his original rights holding team.  This means, if Murray has presented Foligno with an Q.O., and Foligno refuses to sign, Foligno risks losing a years play (and pay) in the NHL.  This is a big hammer for the Sens, but its use would likely ruin any constructive relationship between team and player, making it a bit of a M.A.D. option.
  2. Years to UFA eligibility – The closer to UFA, the higher the salary demands, particularly if the contract enters into his UFA years.
  3. Roster depth – Does the team need Foligno’s skill set?  Is he expendable?
  4. Past performance – How much has he earned in his past performance?  Has he been improving as expected?  Is he coachable?  Is he in shape?  Does he have a positive character?
  5. Projected performance – Will he develop into a NHL regular?  At what level, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, or 1st line?  How long will it take to get there?  What will be his short-term impact on the teams performance?
  6. “comparable” availability – can someone cheaper be found on the open market?
  7. “Comparables” compensation – What have other RFA’s, of comparable skill and intangibles, been paid?
  8. Prospect depth – Is there a prospect, on an entry level contract, able to play the same role and minutes as the RFA?  Is there a prospect projected to assume his role in the near future?
  9. Marketability – Can the player be traded for an asset more needed by the team?  What salary would maintain his “marketability”.

I believe, rightly or wrongly, Foligno is going to peak as a solid 3rd liner.  This means he cannot be paid beyond $1.75M/Yr., IMO.  But, as an RFA, 4 yrs. from UFA, paying him a UFA salary now would be wasteful, unless desperate.  I do not believe the Sens are desperate for 3rd and 4th liners.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Paying him this salary would also negatively impact on his marketability with other teams.

Nick Foligno – Forward

ATOI – 14:17

PPTOI/g – 01:42

SHTOI/g – 00:04

G – 9

A – 17

Pts. – 26

Pts./g – 0.43

5-5 min./pt. – 12:35

PP min/pt. – 103:25+ (0 PP/pts.)

82 game pts. projection – G/12, A/23 = 35 pts.

As you can see Nick is, to date, a reliable 5 on 5 third liner.  With a projected 35 pts, and limited PP effectiveness, and no PK role, Foligno has yet to prove himself to be a star prospect.

So here’s the reasonable salary range – 0.840M to 1.75M – =<4yrs.

Personally, I’d like to see a deal at between 0.900M and 1.0M, for 2yrs.  If Foligno develops into a 2nd liner, then good for him, he will be paid well for his development come his next deal (as he can go to Arb. to secure this contract).  Otherwise, he will be getting paid what a RFA is intended to be paid…less than a UFA.

To me, solid deals like the rumoured 1.6M is reserved for star RFA’s, not 3rd line prospect RFA’s.  To pay more is to weaken the teams flexibility in a cap world.

The NHLPA agreed to the RFA terms, knowing full well it meant lower salaries for RFA layers, in exchange for earlier UFA eligibility.

I ask you, how many players forgo UFA eligibility (or early compensation), and/or the negotiating leverage that comes along with this right?  None.  And, like with Volchy, I do not begrudge them the opportunity they’ve earned.

I’ll be damned if I’ll begrudge the owners for doing the same with the other end of the equation, the RFA rules.

This unforced RFA salary inflation has to be stopped, because the players are not conversely refusing to sign over-inflated deals come UFA eligibility.

IF the rumoured salary of 1.6M is true, Foligno had better be succeeding as a top 6 winger next season, or it will have proven to be a major over-payment…an entirely unnecessary and voluntary one at that.  I accept Nick had a challenging year last season, for a variety of reasons, but, at the end of the day, he must earn his salary while a RFA, and he hasn’t, in my opinion, earned 1.6M/yr. …yet.

I like Nick as a player.  He competes, is by all accounts a very good teammate and professional, and a credit to his community.  But, it’s his responsibility, as a professional, to earn his salary, and I absolutely believe he deserves this opportunity.  But, to be paid in advance of having earned it does nothing for Foligno himself, as a professional, nor for the team he represents.  An over-priced contract, more often than not, results in negative reactions from the fans and media, and puts undue pressure on the player receiving the contract.  Let the kids develop, earn their ice-time, and salaries, as was the intension of the CBA, a CBA agreed to be both parties.  Stop allowing the agents to over-pressure their clients in an effort to line their own pockets with the %’s they get from a big contract.

Nobody who signs a one-way NHL salary is being taken advantage of…but signing a contract beyond your ability could cost you far more in the long-term then it nets you in the short-term…IMO.



7 Responses to “A Look At Foligno’s Worth.”

  1. GelatinousMutantCoconut Says:

    Well here’s the thing. He only has two chances of being a top-9 forward next season. Those are: if Regin plays himself off of the top line; If Foligno plays well enough to supplant Ruutu as the third line left-wing. Otherwise he’s on the 4th line.

    But then look at Mike Fisher. His numbers in his first 5 seasons are comparable to Foligno’s last 3. So you could say that he could be 2 years away from reaching his full potential. of course, Mike’s breakthrough came after the lock-out, so that could have been a factor.

    So a cheap two year deal isn’t a bad idea.

  2. Dazillion Says:

    The argument is solid, but I’m not sold on the prediction. Foligno was hurt much of last season (for sacrificing the body, I might add), and had a bit of a hard time getting back on pace late in the season. But I have no doubt that Sens management believes that he will round out into a very solid top 6.

    Look at it this way: if we are having the debate over whether he is or not, you can bet that other teams are as well. If Murray didn’t think he had the stuff, he would trade him before other teams reach the same conclusion.

  3. GN:

    You are turning into a nickel and dimer…your trying to low ball the kid. This is not arbitration, you are trying to sign a first round draft choice who is progressing nicely…

    My experts tell me that Petr will be broken (as in broken down) in arbitration…will never forgive us and try to leave the organization as quick as he can…he may have read what you think of him and what you were offering!

    PS: Don’t take this the wrong way…it’s business, strickly business!

    • Nik, Nik, Nik, Nik, Nik,
      Damn right it’s business.
      You don’t pay today, in hopes of what you’ll get tomorrow. And worse, you don’t pay today, just to be asked for more when they get the upper hand as a UFA!
      When/if Nick develops, he’ll get paid, absolutely no doubt, at all, whatsoever, regardless of what he makes on this deal.
      Do you think, if he gets the benefit of the doubt now, and plays lights out until his UFA, he’ll take a cut as “what goes around…?”
      Fat chance.
      He’ll leverage his UFA status for the highest return, and if he doesn’t, he’ll be pilloried by his NHLPA buddies and agent.
      Now is when players have to earn their chops, not lick them.
      p.s. Regin will not get to arbitration, trust me on that 😉

  4. 25. RFA. Just signed for 900K. 27 pts. Who am I?

    Brad Richardson. LA Kings.

    Tell me both Regin and Foligno won’t be compared to this signing. Use all your points above. Drafted higher, yes. Younger, yes. But haven’t proven much more. I’d say it puts them at the 1.2 area. At best. More and you’d be overpaying.

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