Capped: The 2017 RFA Defenseman Class

Alexander MacLean


This week's Capped discusses the 2017 RFA defence crop, what challenges their negotiations/contracts may bring, and whether to buy or sell. 


The 2017 restricted free agent (RFA) class includes a star-studded group of forwards, but there are fewer star defencemen to discuss. Defencemen have also seemingly had their salaries inflate a little faster than forwards, especially in the middle tier. It seems as though any second pair defenceman that can skate and chew gum at the same time now makes over $4 Million a season. Looking ahead at the contracts that some of these young players are due up for, it may be even more ideal to get out early from under these potentially expensive contracts.



Shayne Gostisbehere (D)  –  Philadelphia Flyers

Current Cap Hit  –  $925,000

First off, I would just like to say that it took me way too long to be able to spell Gostisbehere’s name properly. Even writing this I had to double check that I had gotten it right. However, not only has his name been causing troubles, but his sophomore slump has been causing problems for both the Philadelphia Flyers and fantasy owners alike. Gostisbehere (AKA Ghost) was scratched last Saturday for the second time this season, and had an underwhelming return to the lineup, going minus two and recording no points. After breaking out last year with 46 points in 64 games, bigger things were expected from the talented Flyers rearguard.


Sami Vatanen and Torey Krug make decent comparables for Ghost in terms of style of play, talent level, and how pricy the next contract may be. Vatanen and Krug both make very close to $5 Million a season, which is a good benchmark expectation. If Ghost can get back on track (and he will), then $5 Million a season would be a bargain price. That would especially be true in leagues where the categories counted are points based. Ghost does lose some value in leagues that count hits, blocks and penalty minutes, but the value of a possible 60 points from a defenceman is too good to pass up.



Dmitry Orlov (D)  –  Washington Capitals

Current Cap Hit  –  $2,570,000

Dmitry Orlov was part of the 2016 RFA class as well, and managed to reach an agreement on a one-year deal with Washington less than a month before the beginning of this season. It was a good thing for the Washington Capitals that they got Orlov signed, as his play has been impressive thus far. Currently with 20 points, Orlov is on pace to surpass his career high by eight. On pace for 37 points, Orlov is quickly becoming a defenceman that should see 40 points for a few seasons in the right situation. For now though, his is only a great third option behind John Carlson and Matt Niskanen.


Due to the presence of Carlson and Niskanen, Orlov has not had the chance to show he ca