After we touched on some of the buy-low candidates last week, this week we’re going to look through a few sell-high options. First though, I wanted to touch on the Robert Bortuzzo signing. The most comparable contracts (as shown below) are Jordie Benn, Kevin Connauton, and Mark Fistric. Of the set, I would certainly rather Bortuzzo. Factor in that the cap is rising, and the price for defencemen especially seems to be inflating, and we have a decent under-the-radar depth signing.
You know you’re not getting an offensive player in Bortuzzo, especially with almost zero powerplay exposure, but for a depth defenceman in leagues counting peripheral stats, he’s one of the better options at his price tag. The cost certainty on the back-end for this year and three more after is a really nice thing to have as well. I’ve put in an offer on him in my main cap league.
With most teams having hit the 40% mark of the season, it seems like a good time to sell some pennies for dollars based on small(ish) sample sizes.
David Krejci (C) – Boston Bruins
Cap Hit: $7,250,000 (Three years remaining)
The now 32-year-old is on a nice hot streak, capping off a nice run taking advantage of Patrice Bergeron’s linemates. The cushy spot between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak will be ceded back to Bergeron when he returns, and Krejci’s linemates become at best 45-point scorers. It will be tough for Krejci to keep up any kind of solid scoring pace at that point.
He has been doing all of his scoring at even strength as well, not having scored a power play point in almost a month. With his cap hit on top of it, you probably won’t get full value for what Krejci produces, but re-allocating that cap hit should do wonders for your team moving forward.
Jeff Petry (D) – Montreal Canadiens
Cap Hit: $5,500,000 (Three years remaining)
In case you missed it, Shea Weber returned to the Montreal Canadiens lineup at the end of November. Since then, Petry has miraculously kept up his solid start, both in the scoring categories, and with the peripheral production. He is seeing almost 24 minutes a night, and has scored eight points in the 10 games since Weber’s return. Of those eight points, none have been via the powerplay. However, Weber’s arrival, has freed him up a little at even strength, where he has seen a correspondingly increased output.
As a result, the sell window has extended, and possibly even opened a little wider. Petry’s advanced stats, historical production, and team in general all scream regression. There’s only so much a second pair defenceman can score on a team without secondary scoring through the lineup. Petry had never topped 30 points before last season where he hit 42 (of which Weber missed most of it). He may hit the 40-point plateau again this year, but that will be due to the hot start. If he hits 42 again, that would be 17 points remaining over the last 48 games (a 29-point pace). You can certainly sell him off for better value than that at this point.
Tomas Tatar (RW) – Montreal Canadiens
Cap Hit: $5,300,000 (Three years remaining)
A fresh start was certainly needed for the newly-turned 28-year-old. His usage had gone stale in Detroit, and he wasn’t getting the support needed to succeed. Unfortunately for him, Vegas wasn’t a great fit either, putting up six points in 20 games. He was then shipped off to Montreal on the eve of the season, in a move that may have saved his career from going off the rails.
Since arriving in Montreal, the second line has stabilized a little with Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher. However, the trio has been fairly streaky, leading to Tatar and Danault being on pace for career seasons. Of the three, Tatar is the one with the highest IPP (75%), and it would be a bit of a surprise if he finished the season as that much of a driver of the line. He hasn’t finished with an IPP that high since the 2012 lockout shortened season. Even with that, he still isn’t on pace to crack 60 points. Without any notable peripherals, he’s moveable for another forward that will hit the mark.
Matthias Ekholm (D) – Nashville Predators
Cap Hit: $3,750,000 (Four years remaining)
Ekholm is a solid producer on a very reasonable contract, however his numbers will be capped due to the presence of Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, and Ryan Ellis, who are all ahead of him on the offensive side of the depth chart. With Subban out due to a mysterious ailment, Ekholm has taken a bit of a step forward as he has in the past when the opportunity has presented itself. Unfortunately for Ekholm’s numbers, Subban appears to be a step closer to returning. That would push Ekholm back to his usual 30-point pace when everyone in healthy (and minimal powerplay time).
With Ekholm’s value about to take a bit of a dive, it’s time to shop him around and see if anyone is willing to bite and pay the value of a 50-point pace defenceman on a solid contract. See if you can jump on Ryan Pulock, as he appears to be heating up, and is half the cost of Ekholm for two more years.
Mark Andre-Fleury (G) – Vegas Golden Knights
Cap Hit: $5,750,000 (One year remaining before a three-year, $7 million AAV extension kicks in)
I love M.A. Fleury, as he seems to be one of the best personalities in the game, and he is fun to watch too. There has been a lot to watch recently, since he had started in 13 straight games before Malcom Subban took over for Monday’s 1-0 loss to Columbus. Fleury is on pace to start 73 games this season. That number of starts has been hit once since 2012, and it was Cam Talbot with the Edmonton Oilers in 2016-2017. That was a great year for Talbot, but he tailed off right at the end. He went right up until the last month of the season before he had three games in a row with a save percentage below 0.900. His last eight games of the season saw him fail to hit a save percentage of 0.900 five times. Goalies can’t keep up with that kind of workload in the NHL. We saw it with Andrei Vasilevskiy last season – how many fantasy teams did he sink in the second half?
This isn’t to say Fleury will fall off completely, but he is either going to lose some of his edge, or his starts will be dialed back, losing the value from his volume stats. Take into account his $7 million AAV extension kicking in next year, and now is about peak value for Fleury in salary cap leagues.
Want the low-down on the rest of the league, who is set to go up or down? Get in early on Dobber’s mid-season guide here! Arrives January 11th.
Previous Capped articles:
All cap related info is courtesy of Capfriendly.
That caps off this week’s article, thanks for reading. As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean
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