Continuing the Capped buy and sell preview going team by team, this time from Calgary to Dallas.
In last week’s Capped, we took a look at the first four alphabetical teams in regards to who I suggest you should focus on for either buying or selling heading into this upcoming NHL season.
In this week’s Capped, we will carry on with a few more of the teams, trying to get them all in before the actual season starts up. I won’t lie, it’s not easy coming up with some of the buy or sells. I am trying to avoid the obvious guys to buy, the big name studs that everyone already knows about and probably would have a hard time obtaining. I am trying to search out on rosters the guys who I think you should be able to obtain at a reasonable price, the guys other GMs may not be paying attention to, and that will help your fantasy rosters. Of course, this being a Capped column, salaries play a big part of my research and referral.
On that note, let’s carry on with the next group of teams for you to focus on.
Buy: Michael Ferland – LW, unsigned
It’s hard to recommend buying someone who isn’t signed yet, but the last remaining free agent on the Flames should be signed soon and I don’t see him costing much, cap-wise.
He’s coming off his entry level contract and really didn’t show much until late last season and into the playoffs. He showed the Flames that he’s ready for the big time, playing well in 35 games over the regular season and playoffs. His hard-nosed style of play impressed everyone from the coaching staff right up the chain but he still has a lot to prove at the NHL level.
I don’t think Ferland will ever turn into a big point producer but if you are in a multi-category league (hits and PIMs), he has the makings to deliver some excellent value in those types of setups.
Sell: Jiri Hudler, LW/RW, $4.0M, one year remaining
Let me start by saying, I think Jiri Hudler is one of underappreciated players in fantasy hockey today, if not the most.
Hudler played last year on the Flames top line, alongside young studs Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Both of those two young players were the toast of fantasy hockey, but it was actually Hudler who was in the top group of scorers last year. Tied for eighth overall in the NHL, to be exact. What’s even scarier for Hudler is his even strength production. Of his 76 points last year, 60 of those came at even strength.
So with me singing the praises of Hudler, I am sure you are wondering why he lands on my sell list. Well it’s simple: at 31 years old, he’s heading into his contract year. I expect he will put up another solid season with the kids, but this also means a big raise coming his way next summer as a pending unrestricted free agent. He’s going to want his one last big payday and while he is excellent value at $4.0M, his pending raise will only hurt his value in salary cap leagues. If you think he’s hard to trade now due to low perceived value, just wait until he lands that big contract.
Buy: Victor Rask – C, $680,833, one year remaining (ELC)
Last year, Rask was pencilled in to start in the bottom six of the Hurricanes at best, more than likely in the AHL as the top center in Charlotte. A preseason injury to Jordan Staal changed that, giving Rask the perfect opportunity to grab a top nine role and he took full advantage of it.
His 33 points as a rookie exceeded what many expected from him last year and the best is yet to come for Rask. His on-ice shooting percentage five-on-five was dreadfully low, at 6.0% so there’s room for improvement there.
With rumours floating that we could see Jordan Staal back playing the wing on the top line with big brother Eric, this opens up the second line center role and look for Rask to slide right in there, possibly skating with Jeff Skinner, or even better, Elias Lindholm (if not both).
This kid is a sneaky good player, and it’s just a matter of time before fantasy owners see this too.
Sell: Ryan Murphy – D, $863,333, one year remaining (ELC)
With the Hurricanes drafting defensemen early in the first round in the past two drafts, you have to think that the future of their backend is looking good for years to come. The backend is getting crowded fast and it’s getting harder and harder for the Hurricanes to find a spot for Ryan Murphy.
Murphy, the former first round pick in 2011 has yet to find his place in the NHL, bouncing back and forth between the Hurricanes and their AHL franchise in Charlotte. He’s had no issues putting up offense in the AHL, but that’s not the NHL. He’s a smaller defenseman on a weak team and unless he’s able to show out of camp that he’s improved on the defense end of his game, he will find himself back in the AHL again.
Murphy is young and still has tons of upside but I would recommend selling now while you can still get (hopefully) a good return simply based on his age and upside, I just don’t think Carolina is the place he will find his success, at least not in the short-term.
Buy: Marko Dano – LW, $925,000, two years remaining (ELC)
The former first round pick in 2013 came to the Blackhawks as part of the Brandon Saad trade in the offseason. Last year, as a rookie, he tallied 21 points in 35 games. Not only does the kid produce, he isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty as well, generating 94 hits and 84 shots on goal.
Chicago was so impressed with him and his rookie season that they didn’t even bother to invite him to their rookie camp, but he still showed up anyway, ready to work and prove to his new team that he was a team player.
Although it was rumoured that Artem Anisimov was the player Chicago coveted in the Saad trade, it won’t surprise me at all to see Dano turn out to be the best part of that return for Chicago for years to come.
Sell: Brent Seabrook – D, $5.8M, one year remaining
There’s no denying that Brent Seabrook is an absolute beast on the ice. In fantasy hockey, while he’s still a solid asset, his contract status makes him a marked man for me in this buy and sell column.
He’s 30-years-old and although he has many years of NHL production ahead of him, his age works against him in fantasy hockey. Next is his contract status. He’s in the last year of his current deal and is a pending unrestricted free agent. I know Chicago doesn’t want to lose him but Seabrook is about to get paid, plain and simple. His new deal next year is going to price him right out of the fantasy market for many teams. Even if he gets moved to a different team, I don’t foresee him being worth the money he’s about to receive for fantasy teams.
Buy: Mikhail Grigorenko – C/W, $675,000, one year remaining
Most of us are well aware of Grigorenko and the troubles he’s faced in his young career. The long and short of it, Buffalo really messed with his future early on. After coming to the Avalanche in the Ryan O’Reilly trade, there’s a fresh start for Grigorenko and the coach is the main reason to start believing again. Patrick Roy got the best out of him in the QMJHL when he coached him in Quebec, and many are hoping he can do the same for Grigorenko in Colorado.
The Avalanche gave Grigorenko a one-year, “show me” deal this summer and I think he’s ready to finally show that he’s the player the Sabres thought he could be. He should get a good chance to play a top-six role (worst case scenario, top-nine to start) and receive some decent power-play time as well.
Is he a bit of a crapshoot? Absolutely! Hopefully he realizes the opportunity in front of him and he goes into camp ready to work. If he does, then he will be successful. If he walks in thinking that Patrick Roy is going to simply baby him, this may not work out. I think he’s worth the gamble and I would be buying him.
Sell: Carl Soderberg – C/W, $4.75M, five years remaining
With Soderberg being the Avalanche’s big offseason acquisition this summer, expectations are high for him to produce. While I think he will get plenty of opportunities to do just that, I am still skeptical that he will ever really equal the big contract he just received.
Then there’s the risk of him playing on the third line instead of the top-six. This will be determined by how Nathan MacKinnon deals with second line center duties. If he flourishes, then Soderberg will more than likely find himself on the third line, much like his time in Boston.
I am just not sure I am comfortable taking that risk for this amount of money.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Buy: David Savard – D, $1.3M, one year remaining
I am a big fan of David Savard. I think he is one of the better up-and-coming defensemen in the league and hopefully, fantasy owners haven’t quite taken notice of this yet.
Now recognized in Columbus as a top-pairing defenseman alongside Jack Johnson, Savard thrived last year in all aspects and situations, receiving ample time not only killing penalties but also on the power-play. His 36 points in 82 games last year were easily career highs for him and there could be more to come. Not only did he excel offensively, he also led the Blue Jackets in hits with 195.
He’s in the last year of his current deal, and about to receive a hefty raise, but I think at only 24 years of age (soon to be 25), he’s an excellent long term investment.
Sell: Scott Hartnell – LW, $4.75M, four years remaining
In his first season with the Blue Jackets, Hartnell had an excellent season. Of course, playing alongside one of the games brightest stars in Ryan Johansen doesn’t hurt either. Hartnell was the second leading goal scorer for the Blue Jackets (28 goals) and second leading assist producer as well (32 assists).
At 33 years of age, Hartnell isn’t showing signs of slowing down, but with the addition of Brandon Saad in the offseason, one has to wonder how this affects Hartnell and his placement in the line-up. There’s a good chance Saad slides up with Johansen and bumps Hartnell down to the second line, if not all the way down to the third line during five-on-five play.
I can see Hartnell still being a multi-cat threat in most categories, but if he does lose his spot on the top line to Saad, expect his offensive numbers to take a dip. Sell him while people are still looking at last year’s stats.
Buy: Patrick Sharp – LW, $5.9M, two years remaining
To say Patrick Sharp’s 2014/15 season was a disappointment for fantasy owners would be a slight understatement. It probably was for the Blackhawks too. Sharp was a salary cap casualty for the Blackhawks, but his departure from Chicago to Dallas is a refreshing change for Sharp.
Honestly, I think Sharp is going to be one of those comeback players of the year types this year. He should play a top-six skater with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn or at worst, playing on the wing with Jason Spezza on the second line. This is the makings of two very good lines this year.
At 34 years of age, Sharp is no spring chicken but if you look at the Stars line-up, you can see why he is going to be a good fit. Their scoring depth from the wing is shallow and on the power-play, Sharp is a perfect fit to play the point alongside John Klingberg. He’s comfortable doing it after years of being used that way in Chicago and I can see head coach Lindy Ruff using him there.
A lot of fantasy GMs are giving up on Sharp so his price shouldn’t be high, although the return very well could be.
Sell: Cody Eakin – C, $1.9M, one year remaining, then re-signed four years $3.85M
After setting career highs last year in goals (19) and points (40), it was easy to see why the Stars wanted to lock up Eakin long term. He is young (23) and has room to grow. He was used up and down the line-up, depending on the injury situation, but his true spot on this roster is the third line center. Jason Spezza is signed long term and he won’t be supplanting Jamie Benn or Tyler Seguin on the top line anytime soon.
Eakin is a solid own if you league incorporates FOW, but that’s at $1.9M. His value diminishes at a cap hit of $3.85M. Third line centers normally don’t have good value at that price point, even if they are good at FOW.
If you think you can use him this year and still get fair market value for him next year in the offseason, then good luck to you and enjoy his current value. If you think his new contract will hurt his value (which I do and this is why he is on my sell list) then this is the time to sell him while his value is still there. The return should be better now than in a year’s time.
So if my math is correct, that should be ten teams done, one-third of the league. Thanks again for reading. As always, feel free to comment and discuss the choices, or feel free to add someone you think should be been included. Feel free to follow me on twitter @chrispudsey as well. Thanks to capfriendly.com for salary information. Also thanks to Hockey Abstract for the individual stats.
Next week, we will carry on with the offseason buy and sell and move on to more teams.
Also from Chris Pudsey
- Ramblings: My landing spots for this summer’s big crop of UFA goalies; thoughts on the Hurricanes; Winnington, and more (May 18)
- Ramblings: Boston Completes The Sweep, Werenski's Keeper Value, & Hertl's Breakout Season (May 17)
- Ramblings: St. Louis-San Jose Game 3; Signings; Krueger; A Pair of Coyotes - May 16
- Ramblings: Playoff Production, Vigneault's Potential Impact, Potential Breakouts (May 19)
- Capped: Assessing the Goaltending Market
- Frozen Tools Forensics – Looking to Free Agency (Part IV)
- 21 Fantasy Hockey Rambles
- Geek of the Week: Mika Zibanejad