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The salaries of NHL defensemen measured using production : an offensive bias

by Prosser, Nathanael


Traditionally, defensemen in the National Hockey League (NHL) have been paid unevenly. Statistics measuring offense were applied to defensemen as well. This (along with other factors) resulted in a disparity in salaries between defensemen specializing in offense and defense. In recent years - especially since the lockout and cancellation of the 2004-05 season - defensemen specializing in defensive play became better recognized and paid. However, the salary disparity between offensive and defensive defensemen still exists. The purpose of this study was to analyze this salary disparity by cross-referencing the production (measured more comprehensively than past studies) of defensemen with their salaries. The defensemen were pooled together and designated either "offensive" or "defensive." Data was collected from all defensemen who participated in the 2007-08 NHL season, paired with their ensuing salaries for the 2008-09 season. In total 209 defensemen were studied, 103 offensive and 106 defensive. I anticipated that due to a rise in the recognition of the importance of defensive defensemen, the offensive-defensive salary disparity would not be dramatic. This thesis uses fourteen total independent variables relating to the dependent variable, salary. Three regression models were performed on the 209 defensemen. The regression results showed that there were six significant variables. Age, blocked shots, points-per-game, and shots were found to have a positive impact on salaries. Games played and plus/minus were discovered to negatively affect salaries. The results also show that offensive defensemen are paid almost double the salary of defensive defensemen.


Bibliography : pages 60-62

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Colorado College
Digital Origin
reformatted digital
70 pages : illustrations