Capped: Extensions for Rinne and Gourde
Welcome back to another edition of Capped. This week we’re going to cover a few early-season contract extensions that will have some ramifications for your fantasy squads.
Pekka Rinne (G) – Nashville Predators
Current Cap Hit: $7,000,000
Extension Cap Hit: $5,000,000 – Expires in July 2021
The Predators’ starter since the 2008-2009 season worked with GM David Poile to find a deal that suited both sides. Out of the two-year extension, Rinne gets a good paycheck to stay with the team, while the Predators get some extra cash from 2019 through 2021 that they can use to beef up for another few championship runs. Next season, between Rinne and
current backup heir apparent Jusse Saros, the Predators will be paying their goaltenders less than the $7 million they are paying Rinne alone this season.
The cap room can then be used to re-sign their forward depth this summer, but since Nashville already had over $7 million in space, that was previously covered. What it means, is that Poile has much more flexibility at the deadline, possibly acquiring someone with a couple years left, rather than just a rental. If you’re a Rinne owner, the deal appears to be a win-win, as he took a pay cut, while sticking with one of the best teams in the league.
If you own a depth Predators forward such as Mikka Salomaki or Zac Rinaldo (for the peripheral stats), be prepared that they will likely be pushed to the press box after the trade deadline, as Nashville uses up that cap space for some excess depth.
Where could we then find a downside to the new contract? Well if there was one, it would be that with the pay cut, the transition is starting from Rinne to Saros. Saros being only 23, will take over the starter’s crease slowly, likely working his way up with an additional five starts or so for the next number of years. After starting 23 games last season, the natural progression would see 30 this season, then 35 and 40 for each of the two years of Rinne’s new deal. That means we can expect Rinne’s workload to decrease to about 40 starts in 2020-2021. His ratios should still be among the best in the game, but the wins and saves won’t be up with the elite goalies. Owning the Saros handcuff is a must as a Rinne owner.
The Rinne contract also sets up the goalie market for a busy off-season. The list of goalies without contracts yet for next season looks something like this:
Add in Keith Kinkaid, plus a few other journeymen backups, and we are set up for quite the carousel come July. With Rinne taking $5 million per year, it is tough to see anyone on the above list, except for Sergei Bobrovsky, being paid move than that. The next two on the list would be Cam Talbot and Semyon Varlamov; both should be around the $5 million range depending on how their respective seasons close out from here on.
Yanni Gourde (F) – Tampa Bay Lightning
Current Cap Hit: $1,000,000
Extension Cap Hit: $5,166,667 – Expires in July 2025
Since the beginning of the 2017-2018 season (97 games), Gourde has put up a very respectable 80 points. That is more than Vladimir Tarasenko, Joe Pavelski, or Matt Duchene (all four have also played over 90 games). Everyone in that group is paid more than six million, but they are all considered solid contributors with relation to their cap hit. Gourde has been an absolute steal on his current contract, and will continue to be well worth the cost on his new deal.
Last year was the first year the young Lightning forward played more than 20 games in the NHL, and though his percentages were a little high, that was the case with a lot of Lightning forwards. This team scores goals, and with Andrei Vasilievskiy in net, they don’t allow too many either. Gourde has also kept up his high shooting percentage this season, indicating it may not be just a blip on the radar, he just puts himself in excellent positions to score.
Gourde is also a very versatile player, and seems to have locked himself into one of the scoring lines, along with second unit powerplay time. This season, while scoring a point-per-game, he has also slightly upped his rates for plus/minus, hits, faceoff wins, penalty minutes, and powerplay production. There’s a market for him in any fantasy league setup.
Last year saw him as the 64th most valuable player in standard Yahoo leagues. Using the Capfriendly contract comparator tool, in this case, Gourde’s contract compares most favourably to Jonathan Marchessault’s, whose production vs cap hit is also very valuable. Other names with similar contracts include Tyler Bozak, Carl Soderberg and Mats Zuccarello. Of the group, Gourde is the easy choice in fantasy. The 26-year-old may have even yet to peak. If the current Gourde owner is panicking due to a lack of cap space next season, this is the time to jump in.
Both of these contracts continue to show why Nashville and Tampa Bay are the cream of the crop when it comes to cap management, and that the state taxes play a helpful role in players taking less money. The five teams where the contracts are taxed less than 40% are Tampa Bay, Nashville, Dallas, Florida, and Vegas (for reference, Toronto and Montreal are above 52%). If your team is littered with players from these teams, your cap management is probably going very well. One more thing to consider when trading for players and taking a guess at what their future contract may look like.
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That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
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