Who is the better fantasy hockey own – Bozak or O’Reilly?
This week's match features Tyler Bozak versus Ryan O'Reilly. Both are enjoying the best year of their young careers; but can they sustain (or improve upon) their current scoring pace in future seasons?
Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Implications
Although they were born nearly five years apart (O'Reilly turned 23 in February, Bozak just turned 28) it's actually O'Reilly that has almost 50 additional NHL games on his resume. This is mainly due to O'Reilly jumping directly to the NHL after being drafted in 2009 (impressive considering he was a second rounder) while Bozak split 2009-2010 between the AHL and NHL after signing as an undrafted free agent. Fast forward to now, and each is an unquestioned top six player.
Contract status is interesting for both. This past offseason Bozak signed a five year, $21M contract which some felt was undeserved but might just end up being a bargain if his production this season is any indication. As for O'Reilly ("ROR"), he was an RFA when the CBA expired before the lockout and chose to ink a two year KHL deal. But once the lockout ended he couldn't come to terms with the Avs, even after terminating his KHL contract. Finally, more than a month after NHL games had resumed, ROR signed a two year, $10M offer sheet with Calgary; Colorado matched, resulting in ROR now being on the last season of that deal and poised to once again be an RFA this summer.
It's very good to see Bozak putting up career best stats after signing his UFA contract, as there's always concern about players slowing down after finally pocketing big bucks. With ROR, he's already produced while earning $5M this season and he's still at least one contract away from being a UFA, so there's no reason to suspect he'll slack off once he signs another RFA deal this summer.
The question is how much ROR stands to be paid on his upcoming deal. Colorado is more than $20M below the 2014-15 cap as of now, and their only major UFA to be is Paul Stastny. All things considered, it seems likely that ROR will get a raise putting him in the vicinity of the $5.57M per year Gabriel Landeskog earns, or perhaps even approaching Matt Duchene's $6M per year. For those in cap leagues, that means ROR could cost 30% or more than Bozak for each of the next several years.
Ice Time (2013-14 through March 24th)