This week's Capped covers some names who are underperforming compared to their cap hit, determining who is in a slump and who may be overvalued.
Some managers are getting pretty desperate to save their fantasy seasons at this point, and there are varying degrees of panic. If you are one of those managers, then your players need a bit of a shakeup; that is unless you are one of those teams that has seen as many man games lost to injury as the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are leading the NHL at the moment in terms of both man games lost to injury, and the quality impact of the players lost for those games. Even Anaheim had to go out and make a trade for a couple replacement centres. Without that kind of built in excuse, then there is some work to do. For example, drafting Brent Burns, Cam Talbot and Joe Pavelski in the first three rounds this year really would have set you back. Conveniently enough, Tom Collins covered some bounce-back candidates on Monday as well, that can be found in his column here. I’ll try to cover a few different names, focusing on what the contract means as an extra layer of intrigue on top of the potential for a rebound.
Nicklas Backstrom (C) – Washington Capitals
Cap Hit – $6,700,000 with three years remaining
Nicklas Backstrom started the season away from running mate Alex Ovechkin, but they have been reunited and look to return to the production of years past. Backstrom was drafted in the early rounds this year, and rostered with his $6.7 million salary, because of his excellent consistency from year to year, averaging an 80-point pace over the last five years. For most, a 20-point showing in 27 games (through Tuesday night) wouldn’t be disappointing, but with Backstrom’s production lacking in many peripheral categories, owners can’t afford anything less than typical Backstrom.
The thing is, none of the Washington Centre’s underlying stats show that he is due for some improvement. In fact, his PDO is high, higher than it has been in any season in his career, and it is due to fall back down. Line-mate Alex Ovechkin’s numbers show that he is also due for a slight regression, so there isn’t much to be gained there either. A jump back to 80 points on the season is unlikely, and maybe the best we can expect is a continued 60-point pace the rest of the way.
Mitch Marner (RW) – Toronto Maple Leafs
Cap Hit – $925,000 with two years remaining
Marner has a long and extremely productive career ahead of him. However, he is currently working his way through a very well documented sophomore slump. Head coach Mike Babcock has been shifting him around different lines, and is giving him every opportunity to work through the struggles. It may not be this se