Summary: go to http://war-on-ice.com/cap/ to see what we’ve put together. Read below for what we have to share.
Back in January when CapGeek went offline, we grabbed a series of contract pieces from USA Today and the NHLPA website to help tide the community over. We didn’t have any plans to take the reins on a new site, partly because it would be a lot of work, partly because we didn’t have a clue where to get the data from an original source1, but mainly because we hoped that the permanence of the shutdown was overstated.
What changed for us? Once the initial salary data went up, we were approached by those with the original, genuine contract data, from the same basic sources that Matthew had access to, who wanted to see the work continue. We then set to work converting it over into a new database, recruited volunteers to help us crawl through it (particularly the incomparable Alexandra Mandrycky), spent way too many hours bothering our resident cap expert (Mike Colligan) with questions, partnered up with other efforts (including the ninja himself, Greg Sinclair) and posted an initial set of contracts for all the players we could find who were active this past season at the end of February, along with a buyout and cap recapture tool. The reaction broke the site temporarily2, so we knew we’d have to build a better infrastructure before we could go big.
Well, we’re ready to go big today. The “beta” version of our contracts database is now ready for consumption, reliably dating back to the 2009-10 season, and including everything we could find on contract structure, signing and performance bonuses (particularly the achievable A and B bonuses). Other features:
- You can find any player contract or statistical breakdown from the homepage at war-on-ice.com.
- We have a link under every contract to see what the buyout terms would be for any year after the first. (We’ve only found one example where a contract was bought out without a game being played — Tim Kennedy with the Sabres — and that was a result of an arbitration decision.)
- We’ve made it clearer which contracts have slid, which have been bought out, and what years have been “retired” out.
- We have a quick summary of active contracts, new signings, and performance bonuses achieved at the cap home, war-on-ice.com/cap.
- We’ll be posting quick team summaries, including team-level obligations like buyouts, performance bonus overages and retained salaries, as soon as they’re ready.
We and our (friendly) competitors surely have a ways to go before the functionality of CapGeek is once again matched; Matthew Wuest put over five years of work into it, after all. And if our experience after ExtraSkater’s shuttering has taught us anything, it’s that a gap in the market leads to fresher and better alternatives to come from those who would not have acted given the dominance of the one3, so we’re expecting greater work from ourselves and others in following Matthew’s lead.
But of all the roles that CapGeek played — to have the most trusted database, the quickest reaction time to contract announcements, and the user-friendliest interface — we’re most confident that we can serve the community best in the first role, and so that’s where the bulk of our energy has gone. Which is why we’re opening all our data — contracts, game statistics, and (soon) transactions — to anyone who wants to use it (but not sell it), as long as we’re cited as the original source.
Let’s go forward together. With everyone jumping on board this train, this should be a fun off-season.