There is never an offseason for fantasy general managers in cap leagues.
Even if rosters, trades and waiver claims are frozen, GMs still need to keep atop of the players on their teams that are free agents and what their potential salaries might be. Too many big raises could put you way over your league’s salary cap.
Last year, David Pastrnak went from a cap hit of $925,000 to $6.67 million, Leon Draisaitl from $925,000 to $8.5 million, Evgeny Kuznetsov from $3 million to $7.8 million and Jonathan Drouin from $925,000 to $5.5 million.
All of a sudden, a fantasy GM who owned these four guys saw their cap hits go from a combined $5.775 million to $28.7 million. That would have forced some owners into making bad trades to get under the league cap.
Below are 10 players that fantasy general managers are keeping a close eye on.
10. Noah Hanifin
If Hanifin wants a significant raise, he doesn’t need to look further than what his teammates are earning. In the past year, Brett Pesce signed a six-year deal that sees him get paid $4 million per year, while Jaccob Slavin signed a six-year deal that will see him earn $5.3 million. However, Hanifin has easily been the team’s number two power play QB and led the Hurricanes dmen in goals and points. He only made $925,000 this past season.
9. Jason Zucker
It might be tough to keep Zucker in Minnesota, even though he just posted his third 20-goal season and had a career-high 33 goals and 64 points. He’ll be looking for a significant raise from the $2 million he was making. The problem is Minnesota has $7 million in cap space and also has to re-sign Matt Dumba. The team already has seven forwards making at least $3.2 million next year. Do they want to add an eighth to the list?
8. William Nylander
Will William Nylander get a huge pay raise from his current deal of $894,167 after back-to-back 61-point seasons? Will he be locked up long-term to a big money deal as part of a core, similar to what Edmonton did years ago to Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Or will he be forced to sign a lower bridge deal so the Leafs can first deal with long-term contracts to Auston Matthews and Mitchell Marner? Truthfully, I can see almost any scenario happening w