I got an email from The Hockey News about using my charts from last year's post, The History of 50 Goal Scorers After Age 26. Since the data was a year old I had to update the numbers, and while I was in there I de-bugged the sortable chart. I thought it was pretty interesting to revisit the data in light of how well Kovalchuk worked out in his first season with the Devils. Of course, no one expects him to stay down around 30 goals for the rest of his career, but he's likely to have more 30 goal seasons than 50 goal seasons, from here on out.
Before you read this post, I want you to play the following thought experiment. We've all heard the various hypothetical/rumored long-term deals bandied about for Ilya Kovalchuk, everything from a (now considered shortish) seven years to an unimaginable 15 years. It's generally assumed that any deal cap-friendly enough for the Kings (or Devils) would have to be in the 10 year (plus) range, front-loaded, to bring the cap hit down. Which means it's likely that whoever signs Kovalchuk will be getting him for 10 years or more. Which is -- um -- a long time.
Here's the thought experiment: You sign IK for 10 years at a $7MM cap hit. How many 50 goal, 40 goal and 30 goal seasons do you need to get out of him to make the deal worth it? Assume he's going to play all ten years. How many times does he have to hit each milestone? Take your time. Get the number in your head and hold it there and don't change it.