Top 200 Cap League Skater Rankings – January 2021

Alexander MacLean


The Salary Cap League Rankings are here! All of the top 200 skaters.


Here are the top 200 skaters to own in your salary cap league – January 25, 2021 edition. Usually this update would come mid-season, but since we're anywhere from one to six games into the season depending on who you cheer for, the fantasy values are still a little in flux. We still have our super ELC group at the top, but Nick Suzuki is a new name near the top of the list. He impressed to close out last season, and the upwards trajectory has continued into the new year. Tim Stützle has jumped ahead of Quinton Byfield, and Robert Thomas continues his ascension up the leaderboard. Meanwhile, at the bottom end, Alex Ovechkin hangs on to a top 200 spot for now, but this may be the last season that he does.

I have been tinkering with the formulas recently, and as a result the scale has jumped a little from previous iterations. This is also in part due to adapting the 82-game model to a 52-game set and balancing the values of a current shortened season against a possible full slate next year. I won't bore you too much with the details, but this is a constantly evolving model, so if you do have any questions then leave a comment and I will get back to it.

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 defensemen 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.

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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. I'm not perfect, and the rankings won't be either. Comments help with o