It’s ironic (in other words, great timing) that one of the most popular bubble keepers this week was in the news on Friday. Pavel Buchnevich has signed a two-year, $6.5 million contract with the Rangers, avoiding arbitration. The Rangers now sit about $4 million over the cap, which has a lot to do with the major signings of Artemi Panarin ($11.6 million cap hit) and Jacob Trouba ($8 million cap hit), so they will need to make a move or two before the start of the season in order to be cap-compliant. A Kevin Shattenkirk buyout is one possibility.
In his third NHL season, Buchnevich scored a career-high 21 goals in just 64 games while maintaining a near-50 point pace (had a played a full season). One key reason that he’s a great potential bubble keeper: He is a possibility for the Rangers’ top line with Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, as mentioned by Flip in the summer return of Lining Up. Also in the Wednesday Ramblings, Cam also mentions that Kaapo Kakko might not be ready for the top line and the first power-play unit yet, which opens up an opportunity for Buchnevich.
It’s never too early to get a leg up on the competition in your fantasy hockey league. Be sure to preorder your copy of the Dobber Fantasy Guide, which will be ready for download on August 1!
Today I’ll use the opportunity to start on two of my own bubble keepers in my deepest league. Full disclosure: These players are owned in an auction league in which multiyear contracts are permitted within certain limitations. If the player’s contract is expiring and he did not reach a certain points threshold, I have the opportunity of keeping the player for a 10% raise (at minimum, although some players have to be priced higher based on the previous season’s totals). These are also players that are ranked outside of the top 150 of Dobber’s Top 300 Keeper League Skaters.
Justin Schultz (age 29)
Ever since I started playing fantasy sports, I’ve tried living by the old investing rule of buying low and selling high. I didn’t follow that rule with Schultz, who I bought on a two-year contract after his career year of 51 points (12g-39a), a season in which he also scored 13 points (4g-9a) in 21 playoff games en route to the Penguins’ second consecutive Stanley Cup. Needless