There has been a lot of conversation over social media in the last few days about whether or not you need to spend money to win. It really came about with the controversy over the Ottawa Senators and the uncertain financial health of owner Eugene Melnyk.
Obviously there can be only one winner each year, and many teams will spend money to try to get there, and most will be disappointed. I decided to look at it from another angle, and that is what happens to the teams that don’t spend money.
I looked at the last 5 years, and broke down team’s spending into 3 separate groups: the top 10 spenders, the middle 10 spenders and the bottom 10 each year. Then I crossed that with their final result and put them into 5 categories: missed playoffs, eliminated in round 1, eliminated in round 3, eliminated in round 3 and advanced to round 4 (the Stanley Cup finals).
Here is what I have found.
|TOP 10||MIDDLE 10||BOTTOM 10||TOTAL|
|ROUND 1 ELIM.||14||15||11||40|
|ROUND 2 ELIM.||10||5||5||20|
|ROUND 3 ELIM.||6||3||1||10|
|ADV TO ROUND 4||7||3||0||10|
So a team spending in the top 10 of league teams in a particular year:
|TOP 10 TEAM SPENDING||% CHANCE|
While for the medium spenders:
|MIDDLE 10 TEAM SPENDING||% CHANCE|
And finally, the lower, thriftier teams:
|LOWER 10 TEAM SPENDING||% CHANCE|
So while spending at or near the cap in no way guarantees a Stanley Cup, teams that don’t definitely have the odds against them. Only 1 of the 50 teams in the last 5 years that had a lower 10 salary made it to the third round of the playoffs.
Obviously this is very subjective and there is also a need to spend the money wisely and not just do it for the sake of spending to reach a certain figure. There is a definite correlation between talent level, spending and success.
There is no exact science to building a team, but in business the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. So, it seems, is the case in hockey.
*all spending totals and ranks used were taken from the archives of capgeek.com