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The Ottawa Senators have just announced an 8-year, $64.4M Jake Sanderson extension. This news came out of nowhere with little indication recently of an extension being close. But credit to Pierre Dorion for getting this deal wrapped up this offseason as Jake Sanderson is poised for a breakout season. In this article, I will break down exactly why Sanderson is worth every penny of this contract.
Jake Sanderson’s Season Reviewed
I have included some pieces from a prior article about Jake Sanderson and his overall success as a rookie. This includes his advanced stats and the eye test showing why he was so elite.
“This season, Sanderson played in 75 out of 82 games and posted four goals and 28 assists for 32 points. Most fans would be quick to agree that Sanderson was one of, if not the best Senators’ defenders this season.”
Stats are at even strength
There are a few key advanced statistics that I use to evaluate players. These stats are a player’s CF%, xG%, and SCF%. I will explain what each of these stats describes as I break down Sanderson’s numbers. The first to look at is Sanderson’s Corsi % (CF%). The Corsi statistic is a measure of:
“Any shot attempt (goals, shots on net, misses, and blocks) outside of the shootout. Referred to as SAT by the NHL.” (NaturalStatTrick)
Sanderson’s CF% was 51.75% this season, which is very impressive for a rookie defenseman. This means that Sanderson overall contributed to a positive shot differential for the Senators.
The next stat to look at is Sanderson’s xG%, which is a stat that weighs the expected goals for versus against a team when a specific player is on the ice. For example, an xG% of 50% would mean there is an equal number of expected goals for and against the team. Sanderson posted an xG% of 50.62%, which explains that when he was on the ice, the Senators had more scoring chances than their opponents.
The final advanced stat to look at is Sanderson’s SCF%, which looks at:
“Percentage of total Scoring Chances while that player is on the ice that is for that player’s team. SCF*100/(SCF+SCA)” (NaturalStatTrick)
Sanderson was also impressive in this regard as he had a 52.04 SCF%, once again showing his ability to better the Ottawa Senators while he was on the ice.
Is The Jake Sanderson Extension An Overpay
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I am very confident that Jake Sanderson will outplay his contract in the next couple of years. We have already seen that he is capable of being the number-one defenseman for the Senators at just 21 years old. Just like Tim Stützle’s contract, fans will be praising this deal by the end of the year.
My confidence in this deal rises even more when looking at similar deals for the Sanderson contract. According to CapFriendly, the contracts that are most similar to Sanderson’s include Thomas Chabot, Jacob Trouba, Quinn Hughes, Mikhail Sergachev, and Miro Heiskanen, among others. To me, Sanderson more than holds his own against this competition and is already ahead of some of these players. If he continues to progress, the deal will be an absolute steal for the Senators.
Senators Long-Term Salary Cap Outlook
With the Jake Sanderson extension out of the way, we now have a much clearer idea of what the Sens’ cap situation will look like for next season. Without factoring in an increase in the league’s salary cap, the Senators have a projected $8.8M in cap space. With Tarasenko and Kubalik on expiring deals, and Shane Pinto still unsigned, the money will be tight. But if the indication of the salary cap increase is correct, then they should be able to find a way to fit everyone in.
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