Tri, we often use numbers because we don't see every player play every minute of every game. So numbers are the best resource in determining how good a player was over 80+ games in a season of 300+ games of his recent seasons.
For Salvador, I happen to think he was more effective last season than his numbers suggest. I'm comfortable thinking they're doing him a bit of injustice because I saw every single play he made last season, and the seasons before.
When I have only seen a player play 20 or 30 games, I'd like to see what the numbers say and give them credence. When I've seen a player play every game I'm going to give more benefit of the doubt to my eyes.
All this can be true. And not to mention I haven't been talking about the PK where I think Salvador was very good. But still - he's 36 years old. Even if I grant that he was basically a break-even player against moderately difficult competition (which by the numbers he wasn't, but I'm granting here), he's going to decline, quickly, and soon.
My guess is that Ken Daneyko is slightly overrated by Devils fans. Yes, he was tough, yes, he blocked shots, and was willing to fight, and the fact that he stayed a Devil for his whole career - whenever Devils fans think of a no-offense, hard-nosed, kill-himself-or-someone-else-to-win-a-game defenseman, that guy will be compared to Daneyko, and rightfully so - he may not have been a great player in the traditional sense of the word, but he was a great Devil, and maybe in some ways the greatest. All that's a long-winded preamble to saying that I imagine Lou thinks of Salvador the same way. Still, Daneyko played until he was 39. His ice-time per game, unfortunately only recorded from 98-99 on, goes as follows: 20, 18, 17, 15.5, 15.5. That's kinda the trajectory I see for Salvador, and I just can't see paying that much for leadership and locker room stuff when the on-ice play isn't likely to be there. I recognize that 3rd pairing defenseman on the open market are getting 1.5M, so 2.5M seems like a fair price, but the Devils can't afford to be paying a premium for this stuff.
Wouldn't buying out that last year make the deal less bad in your opinion? Because it becomes less actual money spread out over more time? The cap implication doesn't matter.
I was mostly being flip. Who knows what'll happen with 35+ contracts.