Capped: Musings from around the league
Sometimes in the middle of the NHL season, when there have been no signings recently, and the big things I want to cover early-on have been covered, I will find myself without a great idea for an article – like this week. As a result, we’re going to jump around to a lot of different thoughts, ramblings style, and because I don’t want to tread on toes, we’re going to call them musings.
Last week in my article, I mused about how strange it was that the entire Islanders’ lineup’s hit numbers are either on the same pace or increased, with two exceptions. The first being Matthew Barzal who basically doesn’t hit – he has four so far this season, and Ryan Pulock. Pulock’s numbers are still down, I still have no idea why, but it led me to check out hit numbers for two other teams.
Arbitrarily I chose the other New York team, and San Jose. San Jose’s numbers had some going up, some down, but no one seeing huge and unexpected changes. For the Rangers, there were some going down, some staying the same, and some going up, most notably, Jacob Trouba. The new Ranger put up over 100 hits last season, and he is doubling his rate thus far this year. For those in leagues counting hits, blocks, and other peripherals, selling off a fiery John Carlson for Jacob Trouba (same cap hit) and some help elsewhere on your team, could do wonders for your overall team depth. Of note, Trouba has also been seeing more powerplay time the last few games. If that sticks, it could put him back on a 50-point pace.
I hope you were able to get ahead of the curve on buying Linus Ullmark, Viktor Arvidsson, and John Klingberg after they were mentioned in last week’s article. All three have put up very solid weeks, causing their buy low windows to be all but closed by this point.
John Klingberg – Stats this week:
Linus Ullmark – Stats this week:
Victor Arvidsson – Stats this week:
*Stats found using the player calculator tool on the FrozenTools player pages.
The Top 200 Cap League Skaters article was updated on Monday. The list is still in a big state of flux, as I’m sorting out values, tweaking the contract projections, and trying to manage to have the list function for multitudes of different styles of leagues. Players like Morgan Frost and Cale Makar are making a big impact, while supposed value darlings in Kevin Labanc and Erik Gustafsson haven’t lived up to expectations thus far. Bonus for owners of the latter two in dynasty formats though, is their estimated future AAV is lowering as a result.
The contract I am most interested to see this coming offseason is the extension for Tony DeAngelo. Aside from Kevin Labanc (who will be taken care of with a juicy extension from the Sharks), DeAngelo’s signing this past summer was the most surprisingly low one in my opinion. Signed to a one-year deal at the rookie maximum cost (when he didn’t have to sign a rookie value deal), he has already vastly outplayed the deal.
There are three main factors that make these discussions an interesting one in my eyes. First, with the Rangers rebuilding, will they try to lock up DeAngelo at a reasonable value so that he is a bargain when they are trying to seriously compete? Second is he was traded away from the Lightning in 2016 for only a second-round pick. At the time, he was considered to be one of the most skilled offensive defencemen prospects in the game. He was traded because he was viewed to have a large personality issue. Do the Rangers give term and money to a player with that kind of history, or are they confident he has moved past it, and can help a young team grow? Lastly, after already taking one “bridge” deal, does DeAngelo look at the contracts signed by the top RFA defencemen last season, and decide something similar would work best for him?
To recap, the top defencemen from last season’s RFA group all took similar three-year deals with large payouts in the last year of the contract. This gives the player a lot of control at the end of the contract, with a higher qualifying offer necessary, and an expected mega TV deal raising the cap in the next few years.
The Boston Bruins locked up two depth forwards on Wednesday, signing Charlie Coyle to a six-year contract with an AAV of $5.25 million, and Chris Wagner to a three-year contract with an AAV of $1.35 million. With Boston’s core forwards already locked up on team-friendly deals, they can afford to lock up their depth pieces. The deals were generally fair, with Coyle’s coming out almost identical to my formula prediction ($5.13 million AAV), and Wagner’s coming out below the formula prediction ($2.0 million AAV).
Looking at the 2020-2021 season when the two deals above will kick in, they are either going to be in a bit of a cap crunch, or they will have to let Torey Krug walk. Depending on how key core/depth pieces like Jaroslav Halak, Zdeno Chara, and Jake DeBrusk are handled, it is looking more and more possible that Krug tests a very shallow free-agent market in 2020.
Charlie Coyle’s contract also comes with a full no-movement clause, which means he will need to be protected in the Seattle expansion draft. Boston doesn’t have the deepest crop of forwards, but they will limit their options here. Going back to Krug, if he walks, it seems a lot less likely that the Bruins would have to protect four defencemen, so maybe that’s plan A moving forward.
If you have questions, comments, or article requests, you can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.
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