Welcome to week five. I’m back from getting married (!), taking our honeymoon, and somehow keeping away from hockey for those entire two weeks away. The time away from hockey was easier to bear than I thought it would be, but at the same time it is nice to be back, and with only a month to go until the real games start. We have a couple more weeks of the buy and sell features, so let’s get to it.
To recap, in the buy and sell features, I profile one player per team to sell, and one to buy. These recommendations are based on salary cap leagues, and I try to cover various league sizes and categories. Last year we started alphabetically at the bottom, so this year we’re starting at the top. This week is Ottawa through St. Louis.
You can find the previous buy and sell columns here.
Buy: Anders Nilsson
Cap Hit: $2,600,000 with two years remaining
As we wait for Craig Anderson to be pushed out from Ottawa at the end of the year, Anders Nilsson appears to be primed to receive the majority of the starts available over the next two years of his contract with the Senators. Starting goalies can be tough to find at the best of times. In cap leagues, finding a starting goalie that may not get you the best ratios, but will net you 35 saves per game along with the occasional win at a sub-$3 million price tag can be considered a win in some formats. Playing in Ottawa’s favour is that they are also in the same division as Buffalo and Detroit, so the matchup game can be played to decent effect as well.
Sell: Dylan DeMelo
Cap Hit: $900,000 with one year remaining
On the surface, DeMelo looks like the kind of player that you love to fill out your dynasty team with. A cheap depth defenceman who is guaranteed to play, and can get you over 100 each of hits, blocks, and shots (or by my more preferred metric, an average total of five hits + blocks + shots per game). However, a lot of that peripheral production comes with added ice time. DeMelo was up over 19 minutes per game last season, which was a career first for the right-shot rearguard. Unfortunately for him and his fantasy owners, the Senators swapped out Cody Ceci for Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey on the right side of the ice. With $8 million combined owed to the two new additions, DeMelo’s ice time is in for a drop next season, bringing down his fantasy in his last season on a cheap contract.
Buy: Shayne Gostisbehere
Cap Hit: $4,500,000 with three years remaining
If this wasn’t at least a little obvious to you, then you may need to do some more reading before the beginning of the fantasy hockey season (buy the DobberHockey fantasy guide here). The bottom line is that Gostisbehere is a 60-point defenceman coming off of a 37-point season. Finding that kind of guaranteed uptick for a future season is tough to begin with. Trying to find it in a defenceman on a solid contract is next to impossible.
Sell: James van Riemsdyk
Cap Hit: $7,000,000 with four years remaining
There may not be a large “sell-high” window here, but it’s not like there is going to be one coming up anytime soon either. JVR is a 30-year old winger who has missed significant time in two of the last four seasons, and hasn’t yet touched 65 points, while on a deal paying him $7 million per year. In a points leagues, that’s borderline value, but adding in more categories does nothing to add to his value. Getting similar output value at a slightly cheaper price should be doable.
Buy: Alex Galchenyuk
Cap Hit: $4,900,000 with one year remaining
Sell: Matt Murray
Cap Hit: $3,750,000 with one year remaining
I had someone ask me recently about what I thought of him trading away Matt Murray in a cap league. At first, I was against it, and listed his current value as the main reason why. However, that value may not be going up anytime soon. The Penguins are aging, as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang are all 32 years of age, or older. They are also trading away players like Phil Kessel, while bringing in Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Tanev as replacements. When I look at the Anaheim Ducks, I see the Penguins, but a few years further along, as the core ages, and poor trades run the team slowly into the ground.
For the Ducks, goaltender John Gibson just finished his bridge contract, and has lost a lot of value in cap leagues as his win totals are sagging, his contract is no longer a bargain, and the injury history lingers. The time to sell on Gibson was either two years ago, or last fall, after he started the season well. The same could be said for Murray, though we have missed the first window. The second window opens in November, after he hopefully starts the season well. If you aren’t in the top few teams in your league this season, Murray should be a sell for you at that time.
San Jose Sharks
Buy: Kevin Labanc
Cap Hit: $1,000,000 with one year remaining
This one may also seem like an obvious buy but buying high on Labanc should still pay off. In the initial cap league rankings I’m working on, Labanc is actually inside the top-10 in value. That puts him ahead of some talent like McDavid and Matthews, even with taking into account a raise for the next couple of seasons. Check in on the price and see if you can get a top-10 value for less than a top-10 price.
Sell: Logan Couture
Cap Hit: $8,000,000 with eight years remaining
Logan Couture is one of those players that you seem to know is a decent fantasy option, but never seems to be good enough to be in any of the top tiers, or on my fantasy teams for that matter. He flies under the radar with me, and somehow his extension snuck up on me too. With it having been signed over a year ago now, and him having yet to play a game under it, fellow GMs may be napping on it too. His old $6 million price tag was manageable, but $8 million until his age 37 season is more than his production is worth. His name should still command a solid return, but the window is close to closing on the 30-year-old.
St. Louis Blues
Buy: Colton Parayko
Cap Hit: $5,500,000 with three years remaining
Parayko is the epitome of what every team wants in their number one defenceman. He has the size, he’s mobile, some offensive instincts, a heavy shot, and is reliable in his own end. Coming up to the 400-game breakout threshold, and with Alex Pietrangelo only having a year left on his contract, the remaining three years of Parayko on his bargain deal are worth getting in on. Even before his breakout, his three-year average stat line is 33 points, 194 shots, 110 hits, nine powerplay points, and 140 blocks. That should be his floor moving forward.
Sell: Alex Pietrangelo
Cap Hit: $6,500,000 with one year remaining
On the flip side of Parayko’s future breakout is a stud defenceman who is going to be pricing himself out of fantasy relevance next year, and still manage to be overvalued this year. Yes, last year’s slow performance out of the gate may be attributed in part to Pietrangelo adjusting to having triplets (!) but that doesn’t just go away after the first year. With the Blues having won the Stanley Cup, many have forgotten about his down year, but should he come out of the gate slowly, his value will plummet, especially with the impending raise. Pietrangelo is not far away from requesting Drew Doughty money on his next deal, and there is just no way to live up to that kind of money as a defenceman unless you’re a healthy Erik Karlsson.
You can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.