Capped: Navigating Defence Contracts, Part 3

Logan Doyle

2021-11-11

Welcome back to Part III of our weaving through the new landscape of defenceman values.

You can find Part I here, where we covered the new expensive high-profile contracts signed over the summer.

And Part II here, where we looked at some of the defencemen we had previously written off as overvalued, and who we need to re-evaluate as a result of Part I.

It wasn't just big-name stars that saw values shift and get paid. There was also a shift in the value of multi-cat, bottom pairing and character, second-pair defenceman.

We could call this the 'Oleksiak Effect' as it seemingly started with the signing of Jaime Oleksiak in Seattle at $4.6M.

Personally, I had him on my summer watch list hoping he would sign for no more than $3M. He appears to have a little untapped offensive upside that, with his peripherals would have made him a really solid five-six defenceman on my roster. But, oh-no! The Seattle Kraken had to become a team and reap havoc with my strategic plan.

Ye-Gods, if they didn't just smash my Oleksiak plan all to hell! There he remains, unclaimed on the waiver wire. I didn't expect much, wished for 25-30 points and an outside shot at ten goals. He's scored at a decent clip all things considered (5.9 percent for his career).

Then the ripple affect came. Jake McCabe signed with Chicago for almost $1.5M more than Alex McLean projected. With a $4M price tag he litters free agency lists and waiver wires. A career high of 20-points and no signs of offering upside beyond that, we wanted his peripherals and wanted them to stay cheap. Sadly, he has lost value in all but the deepest of pools; perhaps even some of those.

Dreams were further crushed when Nikita Zadorov signed for $3.75M and David Savard $3.5M. Names we had grown accustomed to filling the bottom spot or two on our defence and pouring in hits and blocks for cheap.

Somehow, amidst all of this one of the elite peripheral defenceman, one we have rationalized owning at $4M in previous years signed with a new team for no increase in salary. It makes me wonder if Adam Larsson regrets not testing the open market. His value has bumped up slightly as a result.

Fear not, all is not lost. With the loss of one value defenceman there is often the emergence of another or in certain cases the re-emergence of another value defenceman. This is the joy of fantasy hockey – being the one to unearth that value.

Take Jani Hakanpaa f