Graphic Comments: I Give Up

20150904-06

Seriously, I give up.

Look, it’s one thing to disagree with me on Benning’s plan or lack thereof.

But now you guys want Benning to sign Lucic next summer? That is seriously insane.

Have you learned nothing reading Canucks Army all these years?

Sigh.

Where do I even start?

Well, I suppose I should start at the beginning…

The idea of Lucic coming to the Canucks first surfaced back just before the draft when it was clear the Bruins were looking to move his contract. He did eventually get moved to the Kings, but even then there was talk that it was only temporary. That once his contract expires next summer, he’ll move back to his beloved home town to play for the Canucks.

The topic rose up again earlier this week, when Lucic said it’s “been a dream of [his] since [he was] a kid…to play in [his] hometown and play for the Canucks” during an interview on TSN1040. And boom, that match was lit.

Suddenly, it was the talk of the town and as of this morning, a poll on the Province’s The White Towel blog is decidedly in favour of the Canucks signing him as an unrestricted free agent next summer:

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And sure enough, yesterday, @RobTheHockeyGuy penned an admittedly reluctant love letter for Lucic over at VanCity Buzz.

Well, as you might have guessed, I have different thoughts on this. When it comes to Lucic, I’ll take the over:

20150904-07

Now, I know what you’re thinking: 

“Overpaid, sure. Overrated, maybe. But over the hill? C’mon, he’s only 27!”

Well, I’ll get to that. But first, let’s deal with the first two.

Is Lucic overrated? Well, for the Canucks fans I’ve seen drooling over the prospect of bringing him here, I’d say the answer is yes.

First the good news, Lucic is not a complete tire fire by any stretch of the imagination. Based on the HERO charts from @MimicoHero, Lucic is a solid NHL second liner, although he gets first line ice time:

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But when you dig a little deeper, it’s very obvious that his “good” offensive seasons are very much percentages driven. The table below (via the invaluable WAR-on-Ice) shows Lucic’s performance at even strength and it’s clear that the four seasons over 15 goals were due to unsustainably high shooting percentages.

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Sure, they happened. And, yes, he managed to do it four times. But the point about extremely high shooting percentages is that you can’t rely on them being that high.

So if you want Lucic to come in here and drive play on the first line, he’s not going to do it. He has not shown the ability to do that. Ever.

But that’s the kind of player that Canucks fans think they would be getting. So in those terms, yes. He is overrated.

Now, is he overpaid? Definitely.

One value-assessment model that hasn’t been publicly released quite yet puts his performance at approximately the $4.5 million AAV level. And if you compare his performance with other NHL players in the $6-7 million salary band, he comes up short:

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This chart from @classlicity shows his performance vs. the NHL average over his entire career. While he provided good value earlier on, now that he’s in that $6-7 million band and his performance has started to drop, he’s no longer good value. Heck, he’s down at the $3 million level.

And if he’s overpaid now, just wait until he hits free agency. If his agent is any good at all, Lucic is going to look to cash out on a high dollar, long term deal. And if you really think he’s going to take a home town discount, you’re seriously out of your mind. Lucic is making $6 million a year right now and that next contract will also start with a six. If there was even a hint of a doubt about this, it should have been dashed earlier this week when Curtis Glencross came out to say what a horrible idea it is to take less to play in your home town.

So as his performance lags, he’s going to get paid more than he ever has.

Which brings me to the final point. Is Lucic over the hill? Well, he’s 27 now, which is generally accepted as the peak for NHL forwards. He’ll be 28 when he hits UFA next summer. So presumably his performance will be on its way down.

But if you look at the data, it’s been going down hill for years:

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Despite playing on a really good Bruins team, his on-ice scoring chance percentage has fallen for three seasons straight, especially relative to his teammates.

As I mentioned earlier, Lucic simply does not drive play or generate chances. He has benefited from strong team mates, and as that Bruins team got worse, so did he. How on earth is he going to be able to help a Canucks team that doesn’t have the talent to prop him up?

So yeah, Lucic is overpaid, overrated and over the hill. And you want to bring him here why?

Honestly, folks, I’m having Messier flashbacks.

I mean, is there a way we could make this idea any worse? Oh…

Well, you know what they say. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over again and expecting different results.

So you be you, Canucks fans. But I’m done trying to help.

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  • Not Dressed For Tonight's Game

    A lot will depend on how Lucic fares in the Western Conference with the Kings.

    No team is automatically going to start with 8 mil a year just because his last contract was 6. If this past FA round showed anything is that teams were practicing a little self control.

    If we’re a straight up swap of Vrbata and Lucic, are you seriously telling me a28 yr old PF won’t perform better than a 36 yr old Vrbata?? Big tough, with nice hands, sounds like the type of player the Sedins have been needing for most of their careers.

    Who knows?? There is a whole year to play out before Lucic is a FA. Jake V may make the team and show the promise to be a top PF.