With the amount of clamoring and complaining about Paul Gaustad’s signing with the Nashville Predators, it behooves me to bring to light exactly what Paul Gaustad brings to the Predators organization and where that $3.25M per year is going..
Paul Gaustad’s contract has been the other talk in a time of Suter permeation of all Predator fans and much of what has been said about Gaustad (and at first me included) was that Nashville paid way too much for the services of a 3rd/4th line center who is only good at face-offs. But the more you look at Gaustad’s numbers it becomes very clear that he takes the place of Jordin Tootoo and Jerred Smithson in one convenient package.
Paul Gaustad is willing to go toe-to-toe with anybody to defend his team and give them a needed spark without wasting a roster spot for the likes of a heavy-weight enforcer like McGrattan (who would be needed less and less the longer the season goes). Like Tootoo, Gaustad plays with grit and an edge and other than Tootoo, Gaustad has the beef to back it up with his 6′ 5″ frame. Not only can Gaustad lay out some top quality hits, he can also out muscle players off the puck and provide a ton of defense on the PK. Gaustad has also logged time on the PP in his career in Buffalo scoring 15 PPG compared to Tootoo’s 1PPG.
Another key cog to Gaustad’s arsenal is his amazing ablilities on the face-off dot. Many people brought up the fact that Smithson was just as good at a fraction of the cost, but Gaustad this season was better than Smithson and younger (Smithson 33, Gaustad 30). Gaustad had almost 100 more points in seven seasons in the NHL than Smithson.
In the end it all comes down to numbers and this is where by signing Gaustad to $3.25M per year can be looked at as a bargain given he fills two different positions for relatively the same money.
The numbers below represent their production over the last seven seasons:
Gaustad Vs. Tootoo/Smithson(combined)
Salary: $3.25M $2.7M
Goals: 71 78
Points: 185 204
Plus/Minus +14 -49
PPG: 15 2
GWG: 10 11
The data shows everything, and even though Gaustad is being paid slightly above what many would want him signed for, it is not that far off from what Smithson and Tootoo command together and Gaustad fills both roles, thus freeing up a roster spot for Nashville to get a high-scoring forward. If you think about this in terms of bulk items you would buy at CostCo or Sam’s Club…it may cost more up front but you get more in the long run. There is also the added bonus that Gaustad is only going to make the bottom two lines that much better and give Wilson and Spaling a great coach for face-off duties.