Capped: Acquiring Team-Friendly Contracts
Playoffs are here, and it is the best time of year. Three or four games a day, and all great hockey. It’s too bad that the NHL hasn’t figured out that the best way to schedule a Saturday is one game each at noon, 3pm, 7pm, and 10pm (EST). Alas, we can’t have everything.
On the fantasy side, regular season trophies and paychecks are handed out, while playoff drafts have likely all concluded. That doesn’t mean we can stop thinking about fantasy hockey. For the top GMs in your pool, there is no offseason. They are constantly analyzing, researching, and trying to get ahead. For those of you still reading articles through the playoffs and through the summer, analyzing, researching, and getting you ahead is what we are here for. Getting ahead in cap leagues is made a lot easier when you have players that produce above their cap hit year after year. Easier to do with the star players like Mark Scheifele and Alexander Barkov, however they have larger cap hits. We’re going to look this week at a few players with under a $5 million cap hit, that are all signed at least through the 2022-2023 season.
Current Cap Hit: $4,916,666 – Expires in the summer of 2023
Ben Bishop could be a Vezina finalist this season, and he is doing it on a wonderful contract, that is team friendly in that it is below market value, and that he is signed with term until he is 35. In a year where poor goaltending put a lot of fantasy and NHL teams off the tracks, Bishop has been a reliable start all season. Dallas will have a couple UFA contracts come off the books this offseason, and may have Stephen Johns back healthy next year too. If the Stars can also re-sign Mats Zuccarello, this will almost assuredly be a playoff team next year as well.
Similarly, Devan Dubnyk has a great contract, but Dubnyk is older, his contract has less bargain years left, and The Wild aren’t likely to be a playoff team for the next few years (barring some larger changes). Bishop really can’t be stopped as the top goaltending bargain in the league, and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. At the age of 32, you may even be able to get him at a small discount this offseason.
Elias Lindholm (RW) – Calgary Flames
Current Cap Hit: $4,850,000 – Expires in the summer of 2024
I gave up on the Elias Lindholm breakout one year too early. The new Flame put up career highs across the board playing alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. He won’t come cheap in a trade, especially since he puts up numbers in all sorts of categories. His contract would be a good one even if he only had a year or two left on it. The fact that he has five full seasons left on this bargain deal is almost criminal. Outside of trading a piece like Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko, there really isn’t anyone outside of the NHL you shouldn’t be ponying up to try and acquire the 24-year-old who is just now hitting his peak.
Shayne Gostisbehere (D) – Philadelphia Flyers
Current Cap Hit: $4,500,000 – Expires in the summer of 2023
I have mentioned Gostisbehere enough times through my articles that I can now spell his name without double-checking. Simply, Gostisbehere has the potential to be one of the few 60-point defencemen in the league, and has already had two out of four seasons where he paced for 60 points. This past season, his power play rates really took a hit. He was still playing on the top unit, but it just wasn’t producing as well as it had in previous years. Ghost (as he is so affectionately dubbed) played over three minutes per game on the powerplay all season, while only putting up 14 powerplay points. Last year he saw almost the exact same amount of time on the power play, and netted 33 points on the power play. With scoring going up league-wide, and no one realistically to take the power play quarterback role from him, that is a juicy role to rack up points.
Travis Sanheim burst onto the scene with a successful season from the back-end in Philadelphia as well this season, and many are worried about his impact on Gostisbehere. Sanheim only saw one minute of powerplay time per game, and that fluctuated on and off throughout the season. However, he only put up 5 power play points, and since Ghost has the contract and history, he will get every chance to hold the reins.
As another observation, sometimes NHL players inexplicably have alternating production, putting up a good year and then a bad year over and over again. It seems that the 25-year-old defenceman for the Flyers is on that track, putting another 60-point season in his crosshairs for next year. Get in now.
Viktor Arvidsson (RW) – Nashville Predators
Current Cap Hit: $4,250,000 – Expires in the summer of 2024
What else can we say? David Poile has done it again. Another massively underpaid emerging star, signed long-term right before he breaks out fully. This past season, Arvidsson was remarkably consistent, having only one stretch of three games in a row without a point. The recently-turned 26-year-old also put up career highs in goals, and points-per-game, and is looking like a solid bet to hit 70-points in a healthy season next year. A 70-point player being paid under $5 million is rare, there were only six in each of the last two seasons. Get him on your team while his 58 games are still keeping his value down.
Previous Capped articles:
That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. If you have any other thoughts on players we should be looking out for, have your say in the comments. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
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