Most of you already know that Philippe Cornet was recently signed to an entry-level contract by the Edmonton Oilers. Most of you also know that with a salary cap one of the best ways to find value is with cheap young players who can actually perform. I'm not particularly bullish on the chances of Cornet being a solid NHL player but after the jump I'll take a look at Cornet's contract relative to other players from his draft class selected in the fifth round and try to gauge whether or not Steve Tambellini has done a good job beyond just plain old getting the deal signed.The first thing I wanted to do is put out a chart listing all of the 2008 fifth round draft picks who have been signed to an entry-level contract at this point. At first, I was a little bit surprised that only ten of the thirty players drafted in the fifth round of 2008 have been signed to an entry-level contract, but when you start thinking about all of the reasons a player may not have signed yet (college, European, negotiating, injury, sucking) it really shouldn't come as too much of a shock.
In terms of salary, Cornet is near the bottom of the list both in terms of NHL and AHL salary. The AHL salary in particular is interesting. The maximum amount is $65,000 and Cornet is likely to spend some time in the minor leagues and the gross amount in the AHL is obviously a lot smaller than at the NHL level. Would Cornet have been willing to forego $20,000 or more on his NHL cap hit to bump his AHL salary to the max? If I were him, I definitely would and it's curious to me that the Oilers wouldn't use this as leverage. Or maybe Cornet wouldn't take a minimum NHL salary in return for an AHL maximum. One thing that wasn't a big factor that I expected might be is the date that a player signs. There doesn't seem to be a pattern of guys getting either more or less systematically depending on an early or late signing date. The next thing I'll look at will be the NHLE for each of the seven forwards listed above for this past season (recognizing that most players didn't sign based on this performance):
In terms of performance, Cornet is in the middle of the pack but he's also more than a year younger than many of the other forwards. He's scoring at an acceptable pace for a legitimate prospect and none of these players are particularly big (they were chosen in the fifth round for a reason) so Cornet's size isn't much of a disadvantage when compared just to these guys.
Overall, I'd say that Steve Tambellini did a good job on this contract. Cornet's chances of making it to the NHL aren't great but they aren't nothing either. If he does make the Oilers on merit sometime over the next three years, there's a very good chance that his contract will provide good value.