Capped: Introducing cap league tools and top cap league values

by Alexander MacLean on July 18, 2019
  • Capped
  • Capped: Introducing cap league tools and top cap league values


Happy Thursday everyone, and I hope you’re enjoying the summer. In the dog days between free-agent frenzy and Bubble Keeper Week, we find ourselves without much exciting to talk about, so let’s fill the space with a theoretical discussion.

I have gotten the green light from the big man himself, Darryl, to put up a cap-league fantasy ranking, alongside the other lists on the main page. This would be going live in the fall (assuming life doesn’t get in the way and I can cobble something together by then) and would take into account a whole range of factors affecting the value of your cap-league skaters in the fantasy world.

Unfortunately, for now we are going to have to deal without having a goalie ranking. Let’s get the skater rankings up and running smoothly before possibly jumping over to those (if there would be interest there as well).



The Task

First off, to quote one of the comments I got in the forums “you should feel insanely overwhelmed once you get into it.”

That line is absolutely correct. If this was being done for a single year league, then the formulas would be fairly simple to sort out based on optimizing points while having a league’s worth of players come in at about 99% of the cap ceiling. However, since almost all cap leagues are keeper leagues, and values can fluctuate so wildly based on contracts, there would be a lot more added value in a keeper league list for salary cap leagues. Additionally, having some experience trying to estimate salaries using an algorithm, I have a head start on what would be a necessary part of accounting for future contracts in the value of players.


Here are some of my base assumptions I am starting off with:

-A 14-team league, where 12 forwards and six defence are rostered on each team, meaning 252 players is our target base.

-The salary cap is equivalent to the NHL cap ceiling, with $9,500,000 allocated for goalies, meaning $72,000,000 per team, or $1,008,000,000 as our total ceiling for the 252 players.

-Three years are taken into account; any more and it’s too far out to be worthwhile, any less and it isn’t really a keeper league ranking. The current year weighted at about the same as the next two years combined.

-Age value peaks at around 26.

-We are using Cap Hit, instead of AAV, salary, etc.

-A points only system was assumed for scoring.


There is a great deal yet to do for it, but I’m feeling that it is at least under control to start. In the end, the goal is to end up with a list, possibly the top 200-300 players to own in a cap league, and have it be updated every two months throughout the season, similar to the other rankings on the main page.



Intitial Rankings

The ranking model has been started, and is currently being tinkered for a single season, before expanding to include multiple years. For the single season value, the current top five for next season are as follows:

Thomas Chabot: The defenceman multiplier causes Chabot to jump to the rankings, all the way to the top spot. Youth, an ELC, 60 points, and positional scarcity are the factors here. Even on a terrible Ottawa team, he is a must-have if you can get your hands on him. 

Alex DeBrincat: The top forward in the rankings is also underpaid this year,

Erik Gustafsson: Gustafsson came out of obscurity last season to propel himself to the highest echelon of fantasy relevance. With a talented forward core, and no competition on the back end in Chicago, he is going to be producing like this for years. Though after this next campaign, he will be appropriately paid for it.

Elias Pettersson: The highest name with more than one-year left on his current contract. As a result, once future years are accounted for, he will likely become the top ranked player to own.

Matthew Barzal: Barzal only scored 62 points last season, but he’s still the third-highest forward on the list at the moment. At 22, Barzal still has a year of his ELC left, and he could definitely hit his 85 points again. On the flip side, the Islanders seem to have a habit of overpaying their players in order to keep them. Barzal’s next contract may be a big one.




All suggestions are welcome, as this is being done for the readers! Let me know what you think in terms of how much weighting to give future years, how you would value defence versus forwards, and what kind of cap rules does your league have?

Have your say in the comments below, or over here on the forums.



Other quick hits:

-I submitted my piece for the Fantasy Guide a few days ago. It covers one-way deals to watch for, and a few under the radar RFAs to watch for. Naturally, that means half of those RFAs signed the next day. The best deal of the bunch, Haydn Fleury.

-My model had Jakub Vrana getting over $6 million per season. Yes, I know that’s high, but it’s what the numbers say he was worth on the market. Getting him for almost half of that is a great deal for Washington.

J.T. Compher signed a four-year contract worth $3.5 million per season. Unfortunately, he won’t be on the first powerplay, so he’s likely capped at 40 points.


All salary info courtesy of capfriendly, all statistics are pulled from FrozenTools.

You can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.



Previous Capped articles:

Reviewing Who Remains on the Free Agent Market

A Blind Test to Assess Recent Signings