You won’t find Carey Price in our Vezina consideration, you won’t find Connor McDavid in any of these ballots either. That’s because we’re awarding the standard NHL hardware to those most underpaid for what they bring to the table. These players are your cap league stars.
*I will preface this article by saying that save for the Calder trophy, players on entry level contracts are excluded, as it takes away from the fun. We don’t want Elias Pettersson winning everything this early in his career, now would we?
The Hart Memorial Trophy:
Nikita Kucherov (RW) – Tampa Bay Lightning
Cap Hit – $4,766,667
An honourable mention last season, and the cap-league MVP this year. Being paid less than $5 million, Kucherov is leading the league in points, doing so at a pace unmatched in the salary cap era. Take away 10% of his production, and he is still tied for the league lead. He is also doing this from a RW position that is fairly shallow outside the top tier.
This is the last year he will really be eligible here however, as Kuch has a new eight-year contract with an AAV of $9.5 million kicking in next season. He will still be more than worth the cost in a cap league, but keeping him may now come at the cost of one other pricier contract on your team. For the Tampa Bay Lightning’s sake, let’s hope that isn’t Brayden Point.
Elias Lindholm – Riding shotgun with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan in Calgary, Lindholm has enjoyed a career year, providing some well-rounded production all-season. That being said, his luck metrics are all a little high, so beware a bit of regression next year.
Sean Couturier – Somehow still underrated in Philadelphia, the stud centreman is entering his prime on a deal that is making Sidney Crosby’s contract look like an overpayment.
Josh Anderson – A very solid own in multi-category leagues. His cost for production of a heavy volume of shots and hits along with a scoring touch is impossible to replace on a non-entry-level-contract.
The Norris Trophy:
Erik Gustafsson (D) – Chicago Blackhawks
Cap Hit – $1,200,000 UFA as of July 1st, 20