Five future multi-category studs…
One of the most interesting aspects of multi-category leagues is the role of physical players in your league. They are not as well-known as the league’s traditional stars since they are not putting up points with as much frequency. While they receive less overall coverage, their role in fantasy hockey could be as important as some of the game’s “best players” because of their ability to provide high-end totals in PIM, hits and, for defensemen, blocked shots.
In cap leagues the majority these players hold even more value. Their lesser offensive totals often leave them with a lower cap hit. Having players on your fantasy squad that can dominate multiple categories while costing close to the league minimum can make or break your season. The more you save, the more you can invest elsewhere.
Over the past year Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas has received a lot of attention around these parts. His PIM and hit totals have been off the charts and he has also been very good in the shot-blocking department. On top of that, his offensive production has put him on pace for about 20 points over an 82-game season. Those in cap leagues have additional motivation to acquire Gudas as his cap hit of just under $1 million makes him one of the best multi-category cap bargains available.
The downside to cap bargains in keeper leagues is that many of them could be due for a big raise that will make them less appealing to own. Gudas himself will likely receive a much bigger contract after the 2015-16 season due to his emergence as a defenseman capable of playing 20 minutes per game while being a solid contributor killing penalties. Thus, things can be cyclical when it comes to cap bargains. Your best bet is to ride the wave and then make changes if the cost increases.
If your keeper league has farm positions you obviously want to invest in players that can become regular contributors in the near future. This includes potential future stud defensemen that will provide a ton of PIM, hits and blocked shots. Ideally, you will be able to uncover the next Gudas.
Last week we started by looking at five candidates to be roto studs in the near future. Below are five more players that fit the same mold as Gudas production-wise. Not all of them will make it in the NHL but if they do the physical part of their games will translate immediately. You just have to roll the dice where you see a potential opportunity for a promotion. The reward for owning the correct prospect is a difference maker on your fantasy team.
Brandon Manning – PHI ($675,000 / RFA 2014)
Manning is a very intriguing prospect. His style of play fits the historical Flyers’ mentality and he is also a talented hockey player at both ends of the rink. His career AHL numbers – 52 points and 307 PIM in 138 games – should put poolies on notice.
The problem with Manning, however, is opportunity. The Flyers possess a ton of mediocre NHL-calibre bodies on defense in their organization and are also prone to making a ton of (sometimes wacky) moves to shake things up. There is no telling if Manning will suddenly find himself in a depth role in Philadelphia or if he will always have one-way contracts keeping him down in the minors.
Dylan McIlrath – NYR