Capped: Value changes for top players in cap leagues using AAV

Alexander MacLean


The top skater and goalie rankings have been a favourite project of mine over the last year or so. I have put so much time into them, and there is still so much potential for what they can show. One of the many shortcomings of the rankings is that no two fantasy leagues are alike, meaning that to try and cover all of them is a fruitless venture. However, I try to provide useful and relevant information for the majority of leagues. Cap leagues I have found mostly use the actual NHL cap hit, but there are some that use AAV, and others that follow the rollercoaster of ups and downs of a player's salary earned over the course of the contract. I may get into some salary variation cap league values later in the offseason. In the meantime, I tinkered with my rankings system using AAV instead of Cap Hit, and had to make a few tweaks to continue to make things work inside the same kind of parameters. A lot of unsurprising names at the top, and then the depth rankings end up looking similar.

Let's take a look at the couple of main differences:



The Top End:


Quinn Hughes takes over the top spot from Cale Makar due to the lower AAV on his contract. A second Canadian team owns the second overall value player based on AAV in MVP Leon Draisaitl. Generally, a lot of the same names are near the top of the list, but this is much closer to how an inaugural draft may play out as the rookie deals are devalued. Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, and David Pastrnak are all worthy top names, though the fact that Pastrnak will be missing some games to start the season does hurt his case a little.

Cheaper contracts still show up like Filip Hronek and Conor Garland who are bargains for their middle of the lineup production at a cost under $1 million. The rookies with multiple years are also still highly valued, but the top drafted players really see their value fall.

The second tier of value contracts including Mika Zibanejad, Jonathan Huberdeau, Connor McDavid, and Nikita Kucherov could all contend with the top names in any given season. Their value stays high compared to the rookies that drop out. The only other contracts where the AAVs differ from cap hits are those for 35+ players. Most players over the age of 35 aren't too relevant here, as it usually is more for the players like