Welcome to the new readers this season, and to the old ones, welcome back! Last week we went over a few slow starters, so this week we’re going to flip it around and take a look at some players getting off to hot starts. As was the case in the Capped article from two weeks ago, I’m going to tell you not to overreact either way.
First off, I would like to point out a little feature of the Frozen Tools report generator, the cost-per-point list. Now it’s not a perfect tool for evaluating talent, as we have to deal with acquisition cost, expectations, position, entry-level contracts, and other variables, but it does help sort out some of the more valuable players that you can find in cap leagues. For example, you have to go down more than 40 spots on the list before you find someone making more than $2 million (it’s Morgan Rielly at $5 million). Let’s take a look at some of the top bang-for-your-buck options now.
Alex DeBrincat – Chicago Blackhawks
Cost per point: $99,352
DeBrincat has put up some ridiculous numbers as a sophomore this year. Nine points in six games is something that won’t keep up, but that doesn’t mean he can’t finish the season as a point-per game player. The last time we had this great of a bargain on our hands out of the Windy city, it was Artemi Panarin. Panarin has since been paid, and then shipped out of town for Brandon Saad (the main resident of Joel Quenneville’s doghouse). Should Saad be shipped out again, (or has his contract come of the Blackhawk books some other way) then we could have the room for Debrincat’s extension. The wonderful thing is that Debrincat still has two years left on his deal, so we get to enjoy the excellent point-per-dollar production for now.
Maxime Lajoie and Thomas Chabot – Ottawa Senators
Cost per point: $104,286 & $152,917
These Sens defencemen are second and fifth respectively in cost-per-point. No one expected Ottawa or its blue liners to get off to this kind of solid start sans Erik Karlsson. It is real. It is very real, especially for the stud youngster Chabot. As we learned with the Vegas Golden Knights last season, one of the biggest pre-cursors to production is being given the opportunity. Who knows how many players could actually be this successful if the opportunity was given for them to run with it as these two defencemen have. My thinking is that it’s more than we may expect.
For the outlook of the rest of the season, expect Lajoie to tail off as his percentages even out. Chabot on the other hand won’t keep up his scoring pace of 100+ points, but he could easily post a point every other game from here on out, finishing with over 50 in his sophomore year.
Sebastian Aho and Mitch Marner – Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs
Cost per point: $147,917 & $158,561
These two are studs, plain and simple. Both should hit 90 points at least once in their careers if healthy.
I had a choice between the two of them (and four other lesser players) in a box pool this year. With box pools sometimes you have to know when to zig while others zag in order to gain some valuable separation. This is one of those spots, where I am taking the chance Aho leads the Canes in scoring, while Marner may get left to pick up what is left behind Matthews, Tavares and Rielly. At this point early in the season, the race is close, and should stay that way all season. It’s a comparison I will be watching all year long.
Warren Foegele – Carolina Hurricanes
Cost per point: $160,000
Foegele hasn’t just put up a few points in the first few games like many mirage players do to start the season, but he has contributed in other areas, and passed the eye test as well. The 22-year-old winger won a spot on the “top” line in camp beside Jordan Staal and has played over 15 minutes in five of seven games. He has registered at least two shots in each of the team’s first seven games this year, looking very confident with and without the puck. Carolina has quite a few bargains on forward right now, but Foegele may be the most underrated of the bunch.
Anthony Duclair – Columbus Blue Jackets
Cost per point: $216,667
Columbus has split up their top line across two power play units, so the top unit is wherever Artemi Panarin ends up. Duclair is on that unit (for the time being anyways), and already has a power play goal to show for it.
As a player earning the league minimum, Duclair has a lot to prove trying to earn another contract next year and looks to be making the most of an opportunity to play with offensively skilled players in Columbus. As a depth play, Duclair is a viable option, especially in deeper leagues.
Ryan Hartman – Nashville Predators
Cost per point: $218,750
As I mentioned last week, “Ryan Hartman has to be one of the best bang for buck contracts when the player was signed”. Having watched a few Nashville games thus far this season, Hartman looks like one of their most energetic forwards, and he is doing all the right things. He’s a definite buy-low right now.
It’s still not too late to get the DobberHockey 2018-2019 Fantasy guide. If you have a late draft, this cap put you over the top, meanwhile for those already settled into their teams, the projections can help keep your expectations grounded when players get off to hot starts. The guide also includes a heads up on injuries to keep an eye on, scheduling quirks to take advantage of, as well as upside and likely outputs for players, giving you a better projected baseline on future value for keeper leagues.
All cap related info is courtesy of Capfriendly. All player data was pulled from FrozenTools.
That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.