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The JT Economy

By Danny Radical

Job creation. It's a topic every president since the Great Depression has spoken of at length. It's the basis of a failed economic theory. But to you and me, what does it mean?

Philosophically, there are two camps as to how jobs are created. One says that when you give rich people money, they hire people and create jobs. There's not a lot of evidence supporting this, as usually when you give rich people money they become more rich, which has a lot of evidence supporting such.

The other theory is give middle class and poor people money and they will spend it, because historically that's what they've done, based on the little amount of savings most people have. And usually that grows the economy if it's enough money being kicked back in.

However, I have created a new theory. There's a third wave of job creation, and it is sports specific, and more exactly, NHL specific. And that situation is what I've titled "The JT Economy."

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What is the JT economy? It's based on the will of John Tavares. I'm referring to the hockey John Tavares, not the lacrosse one. Yes, they're related. One of them even won a championship. Just one of them. Apparently Garth Snow doesn't manage any lacrosse teams.

Hockey John Tavares has been on the New York Islanders since 2009. In that time, he has created a lot of money for NHL players. He's done things like create careers for some, extend careers for others, get great raises for guys that skate next to him, get great raises for guys that leave the team, and keep players in the NHL that may not belong. In short, playing with John Tavares leads to inflated statistics for linemates, leading them to big fat paydays and lives of luxury.

We're going to break down the way multiple players have benefitted from John Tavares, so that you can really understand what the value of a John Tavares is as a team mate, and wish you worked with a guy like that at your awful job.

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Look at his passion when he's actually winning something!

We're going to do this for the most part as a chronology, because it allows us to observe two trends: the first is the Tavares bump, and the second are the overall trends in the escalation and de-escalation of NHL salaries.
Let's start with the rookie year of John Tavares. Tavares scored in his first game at the Nassau Coliseum- the home of the Islanders, even with including the Barclays and the Belmont. His main line mate that year was Matt Moulson.

Moulson put up 30 goals for that 79 point Islanders team, earning him a cool $575,000.

So what were the results? Tavares put up 24 goals and 30 assists in NOT earning the rookie of the year. Clearly Gary Bettman is no Alan Greenspan. Moulson potted 30 goals and added 18 assists. A team with one 30 goal scorer ended a season with 79 points. Having two 30 goal scorers must be worth... 80 points?

This season marks the beginning of the JT economy. For turning Matt Moulson into a 30 goal scorer, Moulson saw his salary jump from $575,000 to $2,450,000. That's about a 400% raise. Tavares received no raise for his work at that point.

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Think about the best job you ever worked. At the end of the year, when you met with your boss, did he ever say "You worked well with Steve. We're quadrupling your pay." Nah, that never happened for you. Fuck you, Steve.

The next season, Garth Snow reloaded the first line by adding PA Parenteau, a castoff from the Ducks, Black Hawks and Rangers organizations, to a top role for a mere $600,000. Parenteau contributed 20 goals and 33 assists to that first line, dwarfing the 9 career points PA had previously accumulated in a pair of NHL visits.

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Moulson also continued scoring, marginally increasing his goals and assists totals during his first unrestricted free agent season. The guys playing wing to John Tavares- the two biggest castaways since the Skipper and Gilligan- saw significant raises. Parenteau's salary jumped from $500,000 to $1,250,000- a 150% raise. Moulson saw his salary jump another 30% from last year, and another 350% in value.

In three years, John Tavares took Matt Moulson out of the AHL and made him a multimillionaire.

Matt Moulson's 3 year contract worth about $9.4 million dollars was a great contract. Moulson was scoring 30 goals a year playing with Tavares, and paying a 30 goal scorer $100,000 a goal is a bargain in the modern NHL. Compare this to Josh Bailey, who last season earned $183,333 per goal. That's almost half price for nearly twice the production.
Parenteau's second year with the Islanders saw him put up 67 points. PA was looking for a raise. And he got one...just not from the Islanders. After his season on season 150% raise, he entertained offers, and found one in Colorado. For an over 300% season on season raise to $4 million a year.

In 2 years, John Tavares took PA Parenteau from the AHL and made him a multimillionaire. This is going to be a consistent theme with Tavares and his linemates.

Parenteau had a dynamic first year in Colorado, scoring the same 18 goals he had over a full season with the Islanders in a 48 game lockout season. Alas, that was his greatest goal scoring percentage season. Parenteau never repeated the point totals he had playing with JT, and was only a 20 goal scorer one other time in his career.

The Islanders did bring Parenteau back in 2016 for the same salary as they last signed him for in 2011, but later cut him in the preseason to carry the scary talents of Alan Quine and Shane Prince. Parenteau put up 28 points that year, while Quine lit the league up for 5 goals and 18 points, with Prince adding 13 more points.

JT finally got to participate in the JT economy at this point, accepting a 6 year, $32.5 million backloaded deal with the Islanders. The deal was higher than average for a restricted free agent, but JT traded a year of his unrestricted free agency for the ability to be a multimillionaire at 22.

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The other participant in the JT economy in 2012-13 was Brad Boyes. Boyes was a talented offensive player, who netted over 70 goals in back to back seasons in St. Louis, only to watch that offensive output drop for 4 consecutive seasons. That's when Garth Snow stepped in with his keen eye for talent, and his penny pinching sense for top line talent.

The Islanders grabbed Boyes coming off of a $4 million a year deal faster than skinny chick hitting the bathroom to barf up Thanksgiving dinner. Snow gave Boyes a massive pay cut, signing him to replace Parenteau at $1 million for one year, a savings of $250,000. Charles Wang smiled, and jizzed in his pants over the extra cash, then probably used it to buy another piece of land in Oyster Bay for John Picker to collect rent from.

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In the lockout shortened season, Tavares had 47 points in 48 games, while Boyes had 35 points in 48 games, a nice rebound as he only had 37 points after 86 games in Buffalo in the prior two seasons. To compare, the Islanders second line, centered by Josh Bailey, saw JB paving a 39 point pace for an 82 game season. So did Boyes benefit by playing with Tavares, and by not playing with Josh Bailey?

Yup. After a one year pit stop with the Islanders, the Florida Panthers scooped up Boyes for the same, $1,000,000. Boyes had a 20 goal season in coming to Florida, but only 36 points, which was one more point than he had with Tavares in an extra 30 games. And that 20 goal season got Boyes another $5,250,000 to stick around the Florida spring. Tavares resurrected the game of Brad Boyes, and that led to Boyes grabbing over $6 million more for the conclusion of his dwindling career.

The next season, 2013-14, saw the Islanders part ways with 30 goal scorer Matt Moulson for 40 goal scorer Thomas Vanek. Vanek was earning over $7 million a year when the Islanders acquired him, but sending away Moulson's $3+ million made it not so much of a burden, even in the Wang era. And when everyone was healthy and familiar with each other, the Vanek-Tavares-Okposo line was outscoring the Sydney Crosby and two sissies line, which was very uncommon for the NHL.

As Vanek's deal was ending, Vanek realized that there would be a slip in his production over time, and was looking for a home where he didn't need to be a top 6 guy but could surprise opponents with occasional defense and occasional goals. The Islanders offered him 7 years at $49 million, because that's what you should do to a guy that's looking to stop playing an all around game and fade into the sunset. Example three of the JT economy.

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After Vanek said no, he took a shorter term, less well paid deal from the Minnesota Wild. This is a wildly celebrated deal by #IslesKoolAid, who point out that Vanek screwed himself out of nearly $30 million taking this contract.

But from Vanek's point of view? Three years of winning hockey for $6.5 million per season versus three years of what he just saw at $7 million? It's easy to pass on the extra cash after coming off of a $50 million contract. And the 4 years and $28 million he left on the table? He made $2.6 million of that back last season, having a great time mentoring Brock Boeser, played in the playoffs this past season, and has 3 more years to get paid. He won't recoup the whole $25 million, but it's hard to feel bad for a guy that's made over $70 million playing a kids game.

Vanek's rejection of this Garth Snow offer is one of the many bullets Snow loaded in his game of roster roulette that others disarmed to help him out. And it wasn't even the last bullet Snow would be spared within that same offseason. With the Vanek rejection, Snow turned to unrestricted free agent Matt Moulson. Snow offered a rumored $5 million a year for 5 years, knowing full well the chemistry- especially on the power play- that Moulson and JT had when they played together.

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This would be year 4 of that deal. Moulson had ZERO POINTS for the season in 2017-18.

Luckily for Islanders fans, Buffalo offered the same contract terms. But unlike cheap Charles Wang, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula offered Moulson $11 million of that $25 million in signing bonuses.

Don't get me wrong. The Islanders broke that rule about signing bonuses with Andrew Ladd. Because why not break those rules for an awful player? Ladd's signing bonuses are so large that if the Isles bought him out, he would offer virtually no cap relief. Another brilliant Snow move. How the fuck does Snow still have a job? He's the equivalent of a sports franchise welcoming Lou Gehrig's disease.

That same 2013-14 season also brought in some free agent offensive powerhouses in Pierre Marc Bouchard. Bouchard was supposed to be the next PA Parenteau. His career was on the skids, he was an inexpensive signing, and his name sounds French. Bouchard was making over $4 million a year with Minnesota, but his production kept plummeting, watching his points drop over a 6 year span from 63 points down to a mere 20.

I would add the predictable Tavares-Bouchard photo here, but one doesn't exist on Google.

Snow saw Bouchard as a guy that needed a Tavares for a rebound on JT's coatails, and Snow offered a deal. Here's a question- if you saw a guy's scoring plummeting down to 20 points as a top 6 forward, what would you do regarding a contract? I'd think there would be a pay cut from $4 million down to minimum wage. Snow also smelled a pay cut, but somehow dignified Bouchard with a $2 million contract. Because Snow is a master at managing a salary cap, says Kool Aid.

The dilemma for Garth Snow was that to provide imported players for Tavares, he'd actually have to pay attention to the rest of the NHL and scout other teams. This would require labor, which among exercise is the Kryptonite of Garth Snow. What to do? Stay tuned for Part Two of the JT Economy, which will turn from importing foreign goods to relying on whats lying around domestically. Hey, Snow drafted people- why work twice?