Two nights ago, when no one was looking, I tweeted out a telling statistic to understand how teams have reacted to the salary cap post-lockout.
In 2005-06, the lowest even-strength TOI/G (minimum 20 GP) was 2:30 (Jesse Boulerice). This year, it was 5:50 (Anthony Peluso).
— Benjamin Wendorf (@BenjaminWendorf) April 20, 2015
Boulerice wasn’t the only one scraping the bottom of the barrel in 2005-06; Colton Orr was nearby with his 2:49 per game, and you didn’t have to look much further to see Andrew Peters (3:15) and Eric Godard (3:27). In fact, 19 skaters played over 20 games that season and recorded even-strength TOI/G lower than Peluso’s from this year. Teams have realized that, in a salary-capped league, even league-minimum dollars can’t justify players who cannot be trusted with regular minutes.
This was a fairly stark evolution of player usage, but it led me to wonder if there were any other things we could see by looking at finer-grained data from 2005-06 to the present. The salary cap was a game-changer because it pushed teams at the top and bottom closer together, and that compelled teams to stop employing players they couldn’t trust at evens; what are some other areas we see the pressure of parity?