Who has more fantasy value in your league – David Desharnais or Tyler Ennis?
By request (thanks rack55!), this week's Cage Match has Buffalo's Tyler Ennis battling Montreal's David Desharnais, two forwards arguably as big on talent as they are small in stature. The question is, which one is the better own? Look no further than Cage Match to give you the answer!
Career Path and Contract Status
In terms of NHL experience, you'd have a hard time finding two more evenly matched players, what with both entering their magical fourth year and having suited up for nearly an identical number of NHL games entering this season (178 for Desharnais, 187 for Ennis). But when you examine their path to the NHL, interesting differences emerge.
Desharnais, now age 27, was undrafted, and had a journey to the NHL mirroring that of other late bloomers (like P.A. Parenteau, Johnny Boychuk and Matt Moulson) in that he only became a regular with the Habs at age 25 after toiling in the AHL for several seasons. In fact, Desharnais just this month reached the point where he's now played in more NHL games than AHL contests. Conversely, Ennis is only 24 and was a former first round selection, with a path to the NHL (time in juniors, followed by just one AHL season) consistent with someone of that draft position.
In terms of contract status, both have already received mini-paydays. Ennis is finishing a two year deal that paid him $2.5M last season and $3.0M for 2013-14 and will become an RFA after this season, while Desharnais is on year one of a four year $14M deal.
The reality is both players are earning enough to have their teams think twice about not giving them quality Ice Time (more on this below). And while Desharnais' time spent toiling in the AHL might make him especially hungry and eager to work harder to succeed, keep in mind that Ennis also hasn't exactly had things handed to him on a platter either, what with being a former first rounder roughly the size of a