Top 200 Cap League Skater Rankings

Alexander MacLean

2020-09-25

Here are the top 200 skaters to own in your salary cap league – September 25th edition. We made it a full year – this is the anniversary of the first list I published, and it has come a long way since then! That you to all the readers for staying involved and interested in my work throughout. Pandemics, offseasons, etc, it doesn't matter – the content keeps coming, and you just keep eating it up.

This time around we have the salary projections out at the same time as a rankings list, so you can properly approach the draft, free agency, and all of your offseason trade talks with confidence. Speaking of, the 2020 draftees also finally learn their homes in a few weeks, but that shouldn't affect their value here much. The top end of the list doesn't see much change, though Nick Suzuki continues his steady ascent – the extra year on the ELC for him and Adam Fox is a big part of why they are higher than you might initially expect.

The value of free agents will continue to fluctuate through the offseason as new contracts are signed. That won't be the only cause of change however, the format of the new season will undoubtedly affect the perception towards certain factors in the rankings. If a full slate can't be played, then does that affect how certainty is weighted versus upside? With the stagnant cap, do more rookies and journeymen receive playing time this season? If there is a shorter summer, a condensed schedule, and a lack of training camp, does the NHL see a rash of injuries to the degree of what the NFL is dealing with at the moment? That last point is very plausible, and if that is the case then players who are noted band-aid-boys likely become even bigger risks and see their value drop further. Fortunately, there should be time for at least the November update (if not the January update as well) to take any new contracts and possible format changes into account.

Stay tuned for the inaugural salary cap league goalie rankings that drop tomorrow!

Standard pre-rankings note:

This isn't meant to be a be-all and end-all rating system for you to use without thinking and just trade your players for anyone above them on the list that you can find, but used with some foresight for managing salaries, I'm hoping that the list can help you mine value in trades, and at the draft table.

The assumed league setup is for points-only leagues, with a salary allotment of approximately $73 million per team (10% of the NHL's $81.5 million being allocated for goalies), for 12 forwards and six defencemen per roster, amongst a range from eight to 14 teams (completely covered by the top 200 list). Cap hit is used for the player cost, so if your league uses salary or AAV, please account for that, as it can greatly change the impact of rookies. The rankings are set up so as to provide the most value in the current season, while providing some value in future years, based on modeling for predicted salary increases and production growth.

For those of you with variations from this setup, whether in terms of number of teams, salary space, roster positions, or scoring categories, you can make your own personal tweaks to move players up or down as necessary. This list is made to be a baseline guide for player evaluation, and to promote discussion and understanding of how to optimize rosters in a cap league setting.

If you note a mistake, or have any further questions about the ranking system, please let me know. You can find me on Twitter here @alexdmaclean.

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