Ramblings: Older Bubble Keeper Options & Keeper Decision Tools (Sept 8)

Alexander MacLean

2021-09-08

Pierre Dorion was extended for another four seasons, plus given a club option which would take him to 2026. That’s certainly enough time for him to see through the rebuild they have been working on in Ottawa. Hopefully by then he doesn’t have to trade away everyone who is making more in salary than their listed cap hit – and for Dorion’s sake I hope his contract isn’t back-loaded either.

If you’re not sure what I mean by that, take a look at the most recent example, Evgenii Dadonov. The Russian winger signed a three-year deal in Ottawa, with a back-loaded deal that saw him paid $3.5 million the first year, $5 million the second year, and $6.5 million the third year, which averaged out to a $5 million AAV. Ottawa banked his cheap year, and then traded him for assets in the summer between year one and year two, shipping out the fiscally expensive years of his contract.

Josh Brown, Nick Paul, and Connor Brown are the three current players on the roster being paid more in salary than their listed AAV. Odds are if anyone is traded off of the Senators’ roster this year, it will be one or more of those three names.

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With Bubble Keeper Week in full swing, I wanted to look at an angle of it that maybe isn't discussed as often, and that's when to cut bait with your aging keeper-level players.

I know a couple of people this offseason that are wrestling with Alex Ovechkin, and whether he is worth keeping for the life of his next contract (and not having him come off the cap until he's 40), or just trying to sort out if he's worth keeping over options like Brady Tkachuk, Jonathan Huberdeau, or Mitch Marner. Ovechkin is elite in leagues with shots and hits counted on top of points, however, there comes a point where the immediate payoff is so marginally slim that a larger future payoff really starts to tip the scales. Keeping Huberdeau over Ovechkin doesn't seem far-fetched at this point, but where do you draw the line. How about Elias Lindholm or Alex Debrincat? I think at that point it depends on your contention window.

Most won't have to decide about whether or not to keep Ovechkin though, because there are very few players to keep over him. Other players in the age 34+ category aren't so fo