Who is the better fantasy hockey own – Jeff Skinner or Nazem Kadri?
This week's Cage Match looks at two forwards (Jeff Skinner and Nazem Kadri) who have achieved success during their young careers, but also encountered some bumpy roads along the way. Which one will best help your fantasy team? Cage Match is here with the answer!
Career Path and Contract Status
Even though Skinner and Kadri have a combined age of just 44 (Kadri 23, Skinner 21) and under 300 games of NHL experience entering this season (Skinner 188, Kadri 99), there has been quite a lot written and discussed about both players. And most of it should be well known to poolies, from Skinner's Calder winning 2010-11 season followed by his battles with concussions and drop in performance, to Kadri's hype after being drafted 7th overall in 2009 (where Skinner was also selected just one year later) followed by his trips back and forth between the NHL and AHL until finally landing in the Toronto line-up full time last season and finishing in the top 25 in NHL scoring. What's interesting is their different paths have led them to a similar place beyond just their draft position, in that Skinner's career point per game average coming into this season was 0.696 while Kadri's wasn't far behind at 0.606.
One area of differentiation is contract status, as Kadri was an RFA and didn't sign a deal until September, getting $5.8M for this year ($2.7M) and next ($3.1M). Skinner's payday came in the summer of 2012, when he inked a six year deal that will pay him $4.35M this season and then $6M for each of the next five campaigns. Skinner's big contract gives him the slight edge.
Ice Time – Past Seasons and Early Indications for 2013-14
As usual, I'm including Ice Time data for this season so far, plus the previous three seasons; however, keep in mind that Kadri only played 29 games in 2010-11 and 21 games in 2011-12, so we should take his numbers for those seasons with a grain of salt. Also, I didn't include shorthanded Ice Time, since neither player has averaged more than 22 seconds per game in a season.