Capped: Looking Ahead to Free Agent Frenzy

Alexander MacLean



This was mentioned last week, but again, the salary cap for the upcoming 2018-2019 season will be $79.5M. Adjust accordingly.


Between the Entry Draft and Free-Agent Frenzy day, this week is one of the best of the summer. The draft is a day full of hope (and usually torment if you live anywhere in Canada), while July first becomes a whole mess of feelings and opinions. With a focus on the salary cap and cap leagues, we will try and get you ready ahead of time for the bigger signings, what teams and contracts to expect, as well as a little insight on where the bargain line might lie for certain players. Strap in because this one is going to be a doozy.


All salary info from capfriendly.


We saw quite a few signings over the past week. Here’s a brief thought on each of those relevant signings before we get into the impending UFAs:


Ilya Kovalchuk:

Kovalchuk’s fantasy value has been covered well over the last few days by many of the other DobberHockey writers. What I will add here, is that Kovalchuk signed the exact same deal as Patrick Marleau, and should be able to score a little more than the Leafs’ dad. Kovalchuk won’t likely have a place on championship-caliber cap league rosters. However, if you have cap space to burn and are scoring starved, you could do worse.


The Penguin Forwards:

Dominik Simon and Daniel Sprong received identical two-year, $750,000 average annual value (AAV) contracts. This shows that they aren’t going to be gifted anything, but both players will have a chance to fill in depth roles this year. Sprong is a dark horse scorer coming into this season, but he likely needs this year as an adjustment period before becoming a full-time NHL scorer in the 2019-2020 season.

Bryan Rust scored himself a nice $3.5 million AAV on a four-year deal. I don’t know what the Penguins or my prediction worksheet ($4.2M predicted AAV on a four-year deal) see in him, but based on my eye test, he’s not worth the $3.5 million. However, with the Sheary trade, we get the impression that a spot is opening up for him to ride full time with Sidney Crosby. Rust is entering his fourth “full” year, though he has yet to play 70 games in a season due to injuries. Some of the indicators are there for continued offensive growth, but without the power-play time, as well as the presence of other red flags, I’m not buying in. 

This section was finished here when I wrote it on Tuesday. Then the Penguins signed their fourth line centre Riley Sheahan to an almost identical cap hit from last year ($2.1 million – one year). Status quo here with whatever value he had last year. Don’t bother getting your hopes up that he moves up th