Brandon Saad vs. Jaden Schwartz

Rick Roos

2014-03-11

 schwartz

Who is the better fantasy own – Jaden Schwartz or Brandon Saad?

This week's Cage Match focuses on two of the youngest players (Jaden Schwartz and Brandon Saad) I've covered. And while it seems like the sky's the limit for both, which one is actually better for your team?

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications

Saad and Schwartz were born three months apart (both are 21) and have played a nearly identical number of NHL games (114 for Schwartz, 113 for Saad) through March 10th. As a former 14th overall draft pick, Schwartz was always a very highly touted prospect, while Saad wasn't picked until the second round (43rd overall) in the 2011 entry draft.

Both are earning less than $1M (without bonuses) for 2013-14; but Schwartz –having been drafted a season earlier than Saad – will be a restricted free agent this summer, while Saad's ELC runs through 2014-15. For those in salary cap leagues, Saad's additional year at a bargain price (he's in the top eight on Capgeek's list of NHL bargains, with Schwartz in the top 15) is a huge benefit.

Saad will be an RFA at the same time that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (plus Johnny Oduya and Michael Rozsival) are set to be UFAs, and Chicago already has over $42M in payroll committed toward the $71.1M cap for 2015-16. It's clear that in looking at Saad's future value we should consider the possibility that he'll be elsewhere after next season, or that if he stays with Chicago he likely won't be able to count on the potent Blackhawks nucleus remaining fully intact.

As for the Blues, other than goaltending (both Ryan Miller and Brian Elliott will be UFAs), much of their focus during this offseason will likely be on re-signing Schwartz, whom St. Louis – with only $45.4M in payroll committed toward next season's $71.1M cap – could afford to sign to a lower cost version of a "year eating" deal similar to what Jeff Skinner or Gabriel Landeskog signed as youngsters.

 

Versatility

Saad is a pure winger, eligible this season as both a left wing and right wing in Yahoo leagues, whereas Schwartz is eligible at left wing and center. This has real world and fantasy hockey ramifications, since Saad's ability to play bo