Can NHL Teams Win With Two Mega Cap-Hits?

The new contracts of Kane and Toews mean an imminent death of the Blackhawks, says everyone
Photo from Matt Boulton via Wikimedia Commons

When Patrick Kane and Patrick Kane signed matching eight year extensions with $10.5 million annual cap-hits, many wondered out loud if a team can be successful with two players occupying $21 million in cap space together.

So I decided to take a look at the relationship between a team’s success, measured by total regular season and playoff wins, and how much of their total cap outlay is from their top two cap charges.

(A few notes about methodology: the team total cap charge in 2007-08 and 2008-09 used are approximations based on the average cap hit according to CapGeek and assuming an average of a 22-man roster. The 2012-13 regular season win totals were prorated to approximate an 82 game season.)

Seven seasons of data generates 210 data points, all the way from the 2007-08 Hurricanes, who had $8,500,000 to Eric Staal and Erik Cole occupying only 16% of the cap, to the 2008-09 Capitals who allocated 37% of their cap to Alex Oveckhin and Mike Green.

But no discernible relationship between our variables emerged.

Like every spot in the lineup, the most important thing is that the money is spent on worthy investments. If a team finds the right players (which I believe Kane and Toews to be), and those players play to their contracts, the raw magnitude of their cap hits won’t preclude a team from competing.

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