Top 200 Cap League Skater Rankings – March 2021

Alexander MacLean


Last chance for those of you who have stocked up on Quinn Hughes and the rest of the 2021 RFA class, before they re-up with new contracts this summer. Included in that group is rookie Kirill Kaprizov, who is set for a big raise. A comparable situation led to a two-year deal for Artemi Panarin, and didn't work out all that well for the Blackhawks. Expect at least a five-year term for him, and a cap hit at least equal to Vladimir Tarasenko's. Even at that cost he should still provide exceptional value. 

Balancing the 56-game schedule with the rankings, projections, and salary estimates has been quite the fun task. That being said, the season is more than half over, and with the trade deadline approaching, it’s a good time to take a look at next year. For those of you not near the top of your league, it may be time to start targeting a few of the top players on this list with multiple years of term remaining. Netting a Mark ScheifeleJake Guentzel, or Travis Konecny will be the kind of piece that you can build around for years to come.  

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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