Five overpriced players who could potentially become cap bargains this summer.
One of the long-lasting facts about sports fans is that we all have a dislike for overpaid players. It may not be their only negative but the fact that the team is spending a couple extra million for an underachiever always stings. After all, in the salary cap era it is all about getting the most out of your dollars so every dollar wasted hurts your favorite team's chance of winning a championship. The problem is that the disdain can become irrational and affect a player's fantasy-league value even in leagues that do not use finances.
As the saying goes, you take what the defense gives you. In this case, if fellow fantasy owners sour on certain talents due to their inflated cap hit, this feeling can stay well beyond the fact. If you are in a salary cap league there will come a time where the player's ugly contract is up and there is a good chance that he will become more reasonable to own. When the offseason rolls around you will have opportunities to jump ahead of the curve and snatch up some players who today are considered bad investments but tomorrow could be reasonable pick-ups or even bargains.
Here are five fantasy-relevant forwards that are candidates to receive a significant pay cut this offseason:
Marian Gaborik (LA)
The highly-talented Gaborik has historically been a winger that broke the hearts of his owners due to his tendency to get injured often. Then came the summer of 2009 when he left Minnesota to sign a massive five-year deal with the New York Rangers that carried a massive cap hit of $7.5 million. At first the production remained solid but since the lockout ended he has been nowhere near the point-per-game mark and this year he once again spent significant time on the sidelines.
When July 1st rolls around Gaborik will once again sign a pretty lucrative contract. However, it will not come anywhere near his current cost. If he would sign for, say, $5 million annually then the investment would be far less risky in fantasy leagues. After all, Gaborik is only 32 and remains a very productive winger with the potential for greatness in the right situation.
Brian Gionta (MTL)
Gionta is a player that has sneaky value in multi-category leagues that can be overlooked due to his modest offensive numbers. This is primarily due to his elevated shot totals which has come at a rate of 2.33 per game over the last three years. Beyond that, he has become a good shot-blocker for a forward and is a capable power play contributor.
Despite being the Canadiens' captain, Gionta is not a lock to be retained by the team. Regardless of where he lands his next contract will pay him less than the $5 million he is currently earning on a yearly basis. It could come as low as $3 million which would make him an attractive player in a lot of formats.
Dany Heatley (MIN)
In the midst of his worst season ever at 27 points, Heatley's value has never been lower. His ice time is down including topping the 15-minute mark just once since March 3rd and he has also spent time in the press box. Add in the $7.5-million cap hit and you have the 2014 version of Scott Gomez.
The good news for Heatley's fantasy value is that after this season the contract is done and teams will certainly not be lining up with big offers this summer. Instead, look for him to seek a one-year deal on a team that is shallow in depth up front in an attempt of re-discovering a bit of scoring ability. His days as a scoring star are long gone but in the right situation he could still top 20 goals and 40 points. If the contract falls in the $2-million range, he could be a decent option to round out your roster.
Derek Roy (STL)
Now a few years removed from his 70-point days, Roy has largely become a forgotten player. After carrying a cap hit of $4 million for seemingly the past decade, it appears that he is due for a pay cut. However, that does not mean that Roy has lost his fantasy appeal. Despite a reduced role in St. Louis he has still managed 37 points in 73 contests. If he can find a favorable situation as a second-line centerman this summer he could bounce back and push for 50 points while carrying additional value in leagues that count face-offs won as opposed to face-off percentage.
Devin Setoguchi (WPG)
It would be an understatement to say that Setoguchi is having a bad year. With just 27 points in a contract year, there is a good chance that he does not get retained by the Jets. Once he hits the open market there is a good chance that his next contract will be less expensive than his current $3-million pay rate.
Despite the setback this season Setoguchi is still a decent multi-category player due to his strong totals in hits, shots and blocked shots. Beyond that, his offensive production has been rather consistent over the years as this is the first time Setoguchi finished below the half-a-point-a-game mark since his rookie campaign. Look for a bounce-back at the offensive end in his new environment which will only add to his overall multi-category value.
Previously in Capped:
The Impact of Injuries
Season Review – Trade Market