What Will Damon Severson’s Next Contract Look Like?

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There were very few positives that came out of yet another disappointing year for the New Jersey Devils. One of those particular upsides was the season of defenseman Damon Severson. Despite posting a team-worst minus 31, he continued to build on the offensive momentum he generated since breaking into the league with career-highs in assists (28) and points (31). After struggling to earn Coach Hynes’ trust two seasons ago, Severson’s 20:21 of ice time was the third-highest on the team, and most since his rookie year (21:57). Needless to say, he stepped up significantly in the wake of Adam Larsson’s departure by rounding out his game.

Damon Severson led Devils defensemen with 31 points this season. -Getty Images

Drafted 60th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft, Severson is entering the summer as a restricted free agent, having completed the third and final season of his entry-level contract. Speculation has run rampant over what Severson’s next deal could look like, with many people feeling the 22-year old defenseman deserves something long-term. However, there are also many people who feel the last three seasons earned him a shorter bridge deal. I posted a similar article on this topic last offseason, speculating on Kyle Palmieri’s extension and came pretty close to the deal he actually signed. Let’s see how I fare a second time around.

One of the most accurate ways to project the terms of Severson’s next contract is to look at extensions other top-four defensemen were recently awarded, who’ve been around for roughly as long as him. The chart below shows the terms and salary of five core defensemen who were recently in Severson’s position.

Player
Extension Term
Extension Price
No. Games
(first three seasons with 30+ games)
Points Per Game
Olli Maatta
Six Years
$24 million
165
.29
Jacob Trouba
Two Years
$6 million
211
.38
Rasmus Ristolainen
Six Years
$32.4 million
194
.31
Mattias Ekholm
Six Years
$22.5 million
224
.27
Christopher Tanev
Five Years
$22.25 million
172
.21
Damon Severson
N/A
N/A
203
.34

It’s worth noting Severson averaged more points per game in his first three seasons than all but one player on the chart above, and in an amount of games played that’s slightly above the combined average (193) of those five defensemen. Simply put, Severson could find himself in a very favorable position to cash in on his next contract. The only player on the above chart who signed a bridge deal was Jacob Trouba, who reportedly had contract disputes with the Winnipeg Jets along with expressing a desire to play elsewhere. Ironically, Trouba was the only defenseman to average more points per game (.38) than Severson in the above chart, but has the lowest cap hit ($3 million).

Damon Severson has numbers on side if he wants to ink a long-term deal. -Getty Images

The average cap hit of the five defensemen used to compare with Severson came out to $4.11 million, while the average terms of the contracts awarded was five years. This establishes a contractual threshold of five years, $20.55 million, which is pretty realistic to see a player like Severson earn when you consider the recent going price for young top-four defensemen. It wouldn’t surprise me if he inks a deal that spans for six years with an average yearly salary hovering around the $4.11 million figure. If the defenders mentioned in the table above are any indication, it looks like the Devils have a good chance at finding mutual ground with Severson’s camp on signing an extension.

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