Top 200 Cap League Skater Rankings – May 2021

Alexander MacLean


I hope those of you with Quinn Hughes, Andrei Svechnikov, Cale Makar, and the rest of the tasty 2021 RFA crop were able to take advantages of those bargain contracts and win some championships. Hughes, Conor Garland, and the rest of my group carried me as far as the semis in my one cap league, and the finals in another, but I unfortunately wasn't able to bring home either prize. Back to the drawing board, and updating these rankings is the first place I start.

Lots of new names high up the list, but 2020 top-five ranked Adam Fox still has another year left on his ELC, so he stays atop the leaderboard. Rookies Jason Robertson and Alexis Lafreniere round out the top three as they look to build upon their short-season production over a longer campaign. Meanwhile, McDavid jumps up to #4 in the rankings, as his fantastic production this year just blows the competition out of the water, despite being on the largest contract in the league.

The numbers will change through the offseason as the future lineups and free agent market settles out, and new contracts are signed. Scoring projections are taken into account, and the future salaries for the UFAs/RFAs are estimated through my model, with free agent skaters currently rated based on their expected next contracts. Signing a bargain or an overpriced deal will greatly affect their ranking.

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.