Capped: Playing Either/Or with Different Salary Levels

Alexander MacLean



The regular season is winding down, and with it, we are almost to the offseason, when we can start preparing our teams for next year. Whether your league is bigger or smaller, the start players are the ones that play the biggest roles. However, being the most talked about players, their names get a reputation for producing, even if they may not be living up to the hype anymore. This week we’re going to lay out the stats for two skaters, without giving the name associated with them, discuss the contracts of both players, and then reveal the names with the hope that you can use this new perspective when evaluating players in your own leagues.

Numbers are from before Wednesday night’s games.



Player A – 72 GP, 11 G, 49 A, plus-3, 127 SOG, 91 Hits, 15 PPPs, 730 FOWs – AAV $8,000,000

Player B – 73 GP, 25 G, 29A, minus-7, 209 SOG, 54 Hits, 16 PPPs, 977 FOWs – AAV $5,500,000


Here we have two first-line centremen. One of them is paid like a first line centre, while the other is only the 40th highest paid centre in the league. Both have put up over 50 points through 70 games this season, with varying peripherals. Player A lacks in shots, but provides over one hit per game, while Player B is a faceoff ace, and doesn’t hurt you in the other categories.

Which one would you rather on your cap league team? For me, I would certainly rather pay $5.5 million for the production of Player B, instead of paying $2.5 million more for hardly any upgrade.

Player A is the first-line centre for Nashville, Ryan Johansen, while Player B is the most reliable centre on Vancouver, Bo Horvat. Johansen has much more value attached to his name, due to his single season where he hit the 70-point plateau, while Horvat is hiding away as a growing asset in the far northwest geographical corner of the league. In a fantasy league, you could almost certainly get Horvat and a plus for Johansen, while in cap leagues it could end up being more of a one-for-one deal. If you can make it happen, you’re likely better off with the younger Horvat, and the extra $2.5 million in cap space.

Additional note. Johansen is only plus three on a Nashville team with a goal differential of +27, and after starting two-thirds of his shifts in the offensive zone. Horvat on the other hand, is only minus seven, and has started 60% of his shifts in the defensive zone. His contract also runs through to the summer of 2023. If you want a younger version of Patrice Bergeron, a player who just keeps getting better with age, look no further.



Player A – 52 GP, 18 G, 16 A, plus-7, 132 SOG, 22 Hits, 6 PPPs – AAV $6,000,000

Player B – 67 GP, 28 G, 18 A, minus-6, 194 SOG, 29 Hits, 7 PPPs – AAV $3,000,000


Both wingers are in their fourth season. Player A is on pace for a season worse than his second and third years in the league, while Player B is showing signs of a breakout. Having played 1