Capped: The Next Andrew MacDonald

Eric Daoust

2014-04-17

AndrewMacDonald


Five players who could replace Andrew MacDonald as cap bargains on your team.

 

Yesterday many were shocked by the signing of defenseman Andrew MacDonald by the Philadelphia Flyers to a contract extension. The agreement will see him earn $30 million over the next six years which gives him a cap hit of $5 million. Regardless of whether or not the deal pays dividends for the Flyers on the ice, the news marks the end of MacDonald's appeal in salary cap leagues.

 

Over the last few years MacDonald has emerged as a decent option in deeper leagues. While providing modest point totals and occasional power play contributions, he also became an elite shot-blocker. What put his value over the top in cap leagues was his cap hit of $550,000 over the last four years offered poolies excellent value at a minimal cost. He was especially valuable to contending teams that were forced to make budget cuts to maintain their star-studded rosters.

 

MacDonald's extension shines light on the reality that the majority of fantasy hockey's cap bargain players will not maintain this status forever. Generally, they are grossly underpaid for what they bring to their real-life teams. When their next contract renewal comes up they will usually be rewarded with a fair contract, much to the chagrin of fantasy owners.

 

When this happens, you will either have to bite the bullet and accept the contract provided that it is of fair value or jump ship to the next bargain player. Depending on the league, such a player may be available on the waiver wire or you may have to hit the trade market to find your fix.

 

In the latter case, the good news is that many of your rival owners have difficulty separating real-life value and hype from the pure numbers of fantasy hockey. There is a good chance that the other GM does not appreciate a player's true value to your league and how important cap bargains are to building contending teams.

 

With that in mind, below are five current NHL depth defensemen that provide good all-around numbers at a cheap cost for at least one more year. These are just a few examples of alternatives that can help you recover from one of your players getting an unexpectedly-high pay raise.


Jordie Benn (DAL) – $700,000 / 2 years

 

The older and lesser-known Benn brother enjoyed a very successful first full NHL season. He achieved 20 points along with a plus-16 rating, 118 hits and 122 blocks. This is an excellent contribution given his price tag. The fact that he is rarely talked about besides being Jamie Benn's brother plays into your hands if you are shopping for his services. While there may not be much upside here for additional production, you should be happy with more of the same from Benn.


Justin Braun (SJ) – $1,250,000 / 1 year

 

Following a few years of disappointing numbers across the board, Braun appears to have arrived as a