The New York Islanders' fourth line received far too much money, the Toronto Maple Leafs made the riskiest investments and the Detroit Red Wings offered too much term to certain players. At least, those were the popular opinions voiced within the hockey analytics community this summer.
To arrive at these results, a panel of 22 leading names in hockey analytics community was assembled, across a broad spectrum of locations and perspectives; media members (both mainstream and independent) as well as researchers were included in the group. Each panelist received a list of the 68 restricted and unrestricted free agents who agreed to new contracts with an annual cap hit of at least $2 million on or after the 2016 draft (June 24-25).
Using statistical criteria and standards of their own choosing, but setting aside more subjective factors like grit, leadership and clutch play, each statistical expert either approved, disapproved or expressed neutrality on each contract.
Overall, approval dropped from 66.5 percent last summer to 59.8 percent for this year's free-agent contracts. Breaking it down by type and position, the lowest approvals were for goalies (51.1 percent) and unrestricted free-agent forwards (54 percent), and seven of the 68 contracts received approval ratings below 10 percent.
After looking at the best deals last week, let's dig in to the riskiest deal in each of the five categories, and examine some key stats to highlight what the main concerns were.