Capped: Evaluating the Changing Defenceman Landscape

Logan Doyle


Welcome back to part two of my wanderings through the ever-changing, evolving landscape of defencemen contracts.

Last week I covered off most of the newer, large contracts that were signed over the summer like Cale Makar, Zack Werenski, Seth Jones, to name but a few. If you missed last week's read, you can check it out here and catch up.

I'll stick with the IKEA analogy to start. Like any trip to IKEA, it is easy to get detoured and sidetracked. That said, before I dive into some of those contracts, we need to re-evaluate we need to tie in the two big contracts signed in the last week, Morgan Rielly and Adam Fox.

Fox signed for pretty much exactly what was expected. I had thought his Norris Award might bump him above his immediate comparable, Cale Makar. The only surprise was the seven- and not eight-year length of the deal. The reasoning for that can only be properly determined by Fox and his agent. For our purposes, we don't really care. A basic rule of thumb in dynasty leagues is to never look further ahead than three years. Too much changes too fast, so we're not going to. With this deal, Fox tucks right in behind Makar and alongside Carlsson for contract value. It's my belief Makar has a higher offensive ceiling than Fox. Some might disagree and I wouldn't argue too strongly with that opposing view, but Makar has a higher ceiling (see what I did there).

The other signing was Rielly at $7.5M for eight years with the Leafs. Had he gone to free agency he would have hauled in $8.5 to $9M on the open market. Rielly's desire to remain a Maple Leaf long term has his fantasy owners fist pumping. With the increase in salary across the blueline these past few months, getting Rielly locked up significantly below current market value is a huge win.

This creates a nice seg-way into a player currently breaking into a new fantasy tier of offence and offering a direct comparable to Rielly's new deal, Aaron Ekblad.

Since Ekblad signed his eight-year, $7.5M deal in Florida I have steered clear. With his 40-point production it just stuck out like an albatross of a deal. But as players like Jones and Werenski signed for millions more Ekblad looked more and more attractive with each signing. For the last two years he teased with 50-point paces, interrupted by injury and COVID. This year, he's off to a fast start and baring another injury or debilitating fifth