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Today it was reported that Senators defenceman Jake Sanderson has switched agents and will now be represented by Pat Brisson of CAA Hockey. Sanderson will be eligible to sign an extension with the Senators starting July first. In this article, I want to take a look at what a possible Sanderson extension could look like.
Sanderson’s Rookie Season
This past season was Jake Sanderson’s first in the NHL, and he did not disappoint. Sanderson was among the best of the rookie class alongside Owen Power, and the two led the way for defense. 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 Senator’s defenders this season. With this past performance from Sanderson, it is more than likely he is due for a big payday.
Sanderson’s Advanced Statistics
*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 impressed 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.
Quinn Hughes – 6 Years $47.1 Million (AAV 7.85) Signing Age (21)
The first contract comparison I have used for Jake Sanderson is Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks. Hughes signed the contract in October of 2021 which was after two seasons of playing with the Canucks (played only five games in the 2018/2019 season). In those seasons, Hughes scored 94 points in 124 games and truly established himself as an elite upcoming defenceman.
Sanderson and Hughes have a different styles of play, Hughes being a pure offensive defenceman while Sanderson plays a strong two-way game. However, both players were of similar value at this stage in their careers. Sanderson could very well receive a contract with an AAV in the ballpark of the Hughes deal.
Miro Heiskanen – 8 Years $67.6 Million (AAV 8.45) Signing Age (21)
The next contract comparable is Miro Heiskanen of the Dallas Stars. Heiskanen got an eight-year deal coming off of his third NHL season where he scored 95 points in 205 games. Heiskanen had also played very well in the playoffs with the Stars, especially in their 2019/2020 run where he scored 26 points in 27 games.
I think Heiskanen is a great player to compare to Jake Sanderson specifically because the players are so similar. Both Heiskanen and Sanderson are guys who fly under the radar (maybe not Heiskanen after this year) but are so important to their teams. Both guys play a two-way-style game and excel on the defensive side of the puck. At the time of needing new contracts, both guys had similar point totals and elite-level defense. Sanderson and his agent could argue that they deserve Heiskanen’s money long-term, and they would have quite a compelling case.
Thomas Chabot – 8 Years $64 Million (AAV 8.00) Signing Age (23)
The final contract comparable I have for Jake Sanderson is his teammate Thomas Chabot. This will likely be the biggest negotiation piece for Sanderson and his camp. If Sanderson believes he is the best defenceman on the team and wants to be paid like it, his contract will likely exceed that of Chabot’s. Chabot signed his contract in September of 2019 coming off of two seasons where he scored 25 and 55 points respectively.
Chabot and Sanderson are also quite different players, Chabot being more offensively focused while Sanderson is the safer two-way player. After this past season, it appears as though Jake Sanderson is going to be the team’s #1 defenceman moving forward. If that is the case, I would not be surprised to see Sanderson get a contract slightly more valuable than Chabot’s long-term.
My Sanderson Contract Prediction
After looking at some of the comparable contracts for a Sanderson extension, I believe he will sign an eight-year deal worth $65.6 million (8 X $8.2). The way I came to this number was by looking at the Chabot argument, being that he should Sanderson can command more money. I also factored in that he played similarly to Heiskanen, but is less proven than Heiskanen was at his age. This brought the cap hit somewhere between the two defenders, and I couldn’t ignore the fact that he is slightly less valuable than Tkachuk and Stützle. This gave me a number between Tkachuk and Chabot’s cap which ultimately led me to decide on $8.2 million annually.
For a more detailed breakdown of Jake Sanderson, check out these two articles.
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