Capped: The Rising Salary Cap and Your Keeper League Team

Eric Daoust



Three faulty strategies to avoid in your salary cap league.


When managing your fantasy league team it is important not to let a biased mindset get in the way of making good decisions. You have all seen examples of this and you may have been the guilty one at one time or another. This bias can be found in many forms and can have some serious consequences for many years in a keeper league. Here are some examples:

Blowing it up when the team underachieves


A lot can happen during a season including injuries and poor play from some key contributors. Given all of the uncertainty, why should an unfortunate outcome force you give up and rebuild? What is so wrong with simply re-loading and trying again next year?

Rebuild status taking precedence over trade value. 


When someone sets their mind to rebuilding, the goal is to get rid of players that will not be there when the team is expected to become competitive again. In return, the team wants young assets that will begin hitting their stride at a later date. The danger is when a GM decides to sell his player for an underwhelming return simply to get younger. 


Even though the goal is clear, the assets being sold still hold value. It is up to the GM to get a fair return. Obviously, the better return you get, the less time the rebuild will take to complete.


These two examples illustrate situations where a rigid mindset can ultimately hurt your fantasy squad. However, they are more general and apply to all formats. The next one applies strictly to salary cap leagues.

Acquiring undesirable contracts as the salary cap ceiling rises


When evaluating long-term contracts in the NHL the rising salary cap is often factored in. An eight-year pact could be expensive in the first few years before eventually becoming a bargain by the end, assuming the player maintains a solid level of play. This is a very valid way of thinking and certainly plays a role in the player’s value to his team.


Unfortunately, this line of thinking can trickle its way into fantasy hockey where the parameters are much different. The NHL has been in business for close to a century and will continue to exist for decades. Meanwhile, fantasy leagues open and close all the time. Therefore, it is important to put more weight on the short-term. What happens in eight years matters to the NHL and to your favorite team, but in all likelihood when that day comes your current fantasy league will be long gone. Simply put, if you have to wait a few years for a contract to become good value, that is not a price worth paying.

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