Capped: Offseason Contracts that may be an Overpayment

Alexander MacLean

2016-10-06

This week's Capped discusses a few offseason contracts that we will likely look back on as overpayments

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          The calendar has flipped to October, and that means we are a mere week away from the start of the NHL season. This is maybe the most exciting time of year as a collective whole for hockey fans. Every team has hope coming into the season. From offseason moves, to internal growth, every team has many reasons to be hopeful. No team has a loss yet, and the playoffs are actually a possibility (even in Toronto and Edmonton). That all changes, though, as soon as the season starts. Since 2005/2006 when the NHL did away with tie games, every game has to have a loser. For certain teams losses start piling up, a few players start slumping, and maybe there is an injury or two. Even as early as November, the playoffs (and optimism) can seem to fade away, and the questions can begin.

          At that point, fans and media start pointing fingers (maybe even the players start pointing fingers too). Some of it comes down to the management and the coaching, but ultimately it is the players that play the game. Fans seem to often target the players who earn the most money, so let’s take an early look at some new contracts from the offseason, and see if we can pinpoint some of the players that are already starting with a target on their back. Fans and poolies alike should beware putting too much hope into these names.

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Darren Helm (C) –  Detroit Red Wings

Contract –  5 years at $3.85-million per year

          Darren Helm was a July 1st re-signing for the Detroit Red Wings. They seem to know what they have with him, and they are paying him for that. The problem for fantasy owners is that the Red Wings aren’t paying him to put up points. Helm had a decent season last year, and seems to be settling into a career as a defensively responsible centre who can be shuffled up and down the lineup. We can expect his ice time to stay around the 15-16 minute a game mark, however it is the short-handed ice time that will be his fantasy undoing. From the 2014-15 season to the 2015-16 season, his power play ice time was halved, and his short-handed ice time was increased by a full minute. Increased short-handed ice time is not conducive to scoring a lot of points.

          The last two seasons, Helm missed a few games, and then went on to put up 33 and 26 points. A rebound to 30 points can be expected, but hoping for much more would be foolish. Prior to last year, Helm battled his way through a mixture of injuries, including the strange back injury that held him to only one game in the 2012-13 season. If Helm can stay healthy and effective, then his contract may not come off as awful for the Red Wings. However, there isn’t much to be rewarded for by owning him in a cap league for the next few years.

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Matt Martin (LW) –  Toronto Maple Leafs