Every year there are players that bounce back after an injury-plagued season, and they can be saviours to your fantasy season with high value, and a low upfront cost in the offseason (be it through trade or draft capital). We’re going to go through a few players who played half of the season or fewer, and what they can do for your fantasy squad next season.
Taylor Hall (LW) – New Jersey Devils
Cap Hit: $6,000,000
Hall went down in late December, and was expected back soon after; except days turned into weeks, then months, and he missed the entire rest of the 2018-2019 season. After an MVP worthy performance last year, Hall was keeping up the pace with 37 points in 33 games. With a contract year coming up, on top of adding either Jack Hughes or Kappo Kakko to the New Jersey offence, if Hall is healthy he could be the only player putting up 100 points next season on a contract of $6 million or less. MVP candidates can’t be acquired cheaper than this.
Matt Dumba (D) – Minnesota Wild
Cap Hit: $6,000,000
Matt Dumba had a very unfortunate pectoral injury in mid-December. Before that, he was leading defencemen in goal scoring, as well as pacing for the second 50+ point season of his career. His rates for shots, hits, and penalty minutes, are all trending upwards. For the 24-year-old defenceman who gets to be the focal point of an otherwise lacklustre offence, the sky is the limit. Dumba won’t come any cheaper than he will this summer, especially with his very reasonable $6 million cap hit extending all the way to the summer of 2023.
Ondrej Kase (RW) – Anaheim Ducks
Cap Hit: $2,600,000
Anaheim struggled to fill out their forward roster at times this season due to multitudes of injuries to regulars. Some of the young future players looked ready to step in, but players like Ondrej Kase are back healthy, with something to say about that. Kase will likely see himself start the year on the second line, as he sits behind Jakub Silfverberg and Rikard Rakell on the winger depth chart. From there, he could build on his career high of 38 points in his fourth season, where we more commonly see players break out.
Cory Schneider (G) – New Jersey Devils
Cap Hit: $6,000,000
The recovery for Schneider’s hip surgery from last year is a slow process. As with other goalies who have gone through similar procedures, it takes a while to get back to full strength. Pekka Rinne, Roberto Luongo, and others have had bad seasons proceeding the surgery, but rebounded eventually. Schneider may not rebound to a Vezina level, but he should be able to push youngster Mackenzie Blackwood for a fair number of starts. Starters are always tough to find, and this may be a big buy-low for those of you without other options.
Nick Schmaltz (C) – Arizona Coyotes
Cap Hit: $5,850,000
After a slow start, Schmaltz was just starting to pick things up before he landed on the IR with a season-ending knee injury in December. He sets up will with some of Arizona’s young offensive talent. If this team is going to jump back into the playoff picture then they are going to be leaning on offensive players like Schmaltz, Clayton Keller, Alex Galchenyuk, and Vinnie Hinostroza. His new deal shows that the team believes he can be a top option, despite missing the majority of last season, he will be tossed out at every offensive opportunity. The long leash, talented wingers, and lots of powerplay time should set Schmaltz up with a career-high in points above his current 31.
Erik Haula (C) – Vegas Golden Knights
Cap Hit: $2,750,000
Eric Haula left in the 15th game of the season after an awkward hit near the boards. His knee folded in a way that did not look pretty, but the team said he would only be out day to day. That was until he missed the entire season, and was forgotten about behind all of Vegas’ newfound depth. He is on a bargain contract and put up 55 points the season before. Now behind centres William Karlsson and Paul Stastny, Haula will have to fight for some ice time. That being said, getting back up to speed and scoring 40+ points alongside wingers like Alex Tuch, Brandon Pirri, and Nikita Gusev, is a very real possibility. Vegas’ depth next year is going to be what pushes them to the top of the Western Conference standings next year.
All salary cap info courtesy of Capfriendly.
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That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. Follow me on twitter @alexdmaclean.
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