In this month's cap league skater rankings, the small sample sizes dominate, with managers trying to sort out who to buy-in on, and who is a flash in the pan. With the rankings here set up to value those that will provide the most value over the next three seasons (with the current season the most heavily weighted), this should be a great spot to help you question your biases, and maybe even set them aside.
Excellent starts from Troy Terry and Connor McMichael see them as the biggest risers, while Thomas Chabot and Marco Rossi see some of the largest falls. Rossi should rebound once he eventually makes his debut, but trying to sort that out is not as straightforward as we initially thought.
One other name to keep an eye on is Dawson Mercer, who has been exceeding all expectations and thriving as a top-two NHL centre. When Jack Hughes returns, he could either be pushed down the lineup or end up pushing one of Hughes' linemates down the depth chart, and getting a plum spot beside the Devils' star centre. Mercer is the reason Alexander Holtz was sent down, and if he sticks in the top-six after Hughes returns (and he should) then his stock may even continue to rise this season.
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.