Welcome to week seven, which concludes our buy/sell features. We also have actual NHL hockey to watch (though it’s only preseason games), and there are somehow still a bunch of very skilled RFAs left unsigned.
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 we finish off with our last team: the Winnipeg Jets.
You can find the previous buy and sell columns here.
Buy: Patrik Laine
Cap Hit: unsigned
How often does an opportunity come across for you to trade for a guy whom we all just know is going to hit 50 goals at some point in his career? Laine hasn’t done it yet, and that’s why he’s still unsigned by Winnipeg. He wants to be paid as a 50-goal man, but the Jets aren’t willing to budge off the fact that he just isn’t yet. What we’re going to get is a contract similar to Boeser’s (though I’m guessing a little cheaper), which Laine should outplay from the get-go. That means, you have a chance to buy-low on a 50-goal guy… that will also be underpaid! Do it now, contract stalemate and media comments be damned. He won’t be spending the entire year sitting out, and he should be “back” to full health by the time he signs too.
*Word of caution to those who will be using his actual cap hit. Be ready to possibly deal with a similarly elevated cap hit for the first year if a contract is signed in-season, as was the case with William Nylander last season. Capfriendly has a great breakdown on that here.
Sell: Nikolaj Ehlers
Cap Hit: $6,000,000 with six years remaining
When I started this week’s article on Tuesday, I initially had Dustin Byfuglien here before news broke that he is considering retirement. At this point, his value can’t get much lower, so you might as well hold onto him and hope.
Let’s move on to Nikolaj Ehlers, who passed the 200-game breakout threshold, and then put up his worst season to date. Ehlers missed almost all of the third quarter of last season due to an injury, and when he came back, he was playing a full two minutes less per game. Entering this year, he may be without line mate Laine for some time (or the full season if he gets traded), and on top of that, he never seems to be able to find a place on the top powerplay unit. I expect Connor to be back in time for the start of the season, and that will keep Ehlers down on the second line.
For those in multi-category leagues counting hits, among other stats, Ehlers can be a real drag. When it comes to 60-point forwards, there are just so many other options. Don’t tie yourself to this one.
Bonus Buy: Neal Pionk
Cap Hit: $3,000,000 with two years remaining
Pionk’s stock rises drastically with his trade to Winnipeg, as the Jets’ blueline is nowhere near as crowded as the one in New York (somehow). The 24-year-old is now in line for top-four minutes, and should see secondary powerplay time as well. With Byfuglien slowing down (and perhaps not even coming back), and the Jets’ skilled top two lines up front, there will be lots of offence to trickle down through Pionk, who has already shown he could hold his own last year on a poorer Rangers squad.
In other news, I am steadily working on my formulas to put together a working model for some salary cap league rankings. I am hoping to have that ready and out to you for next week, however there are still a few bugs in the system that I am trying to work around. Bear with me as those will be ironed out with the first few published iterations of the rankings. With the rankings, I will be looking for all thoughts, whether positive, negative, constructive, or just a plain inquiry, as they are being done for the readers!
I’ll end off with that this week and keep it short so I can work on those a little more, and then get to my first fantasy draft of the season.
All salary info courtesy of capfriendly, all statistics are pulled from FrozenTools.
You can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.