Welcome to week six – we’re almost at the end! (Both of the offseason and the buy/sell series.)
To recap, in the buy and sell features, I profile one player per team to sell, and one to buy. These recommendations are based on salary cap leagues, and I try to cover various league sizes and categories. Last year we started alphabetically at the bottom, so this year we’re starting at the top. This week is Tampa Bay through Washington.
You can find the previous buy and sell columns here.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Buy: Yanni Gourde
Cap Hit: $5,166,666 with six years remaining
How do you find some good buy value on a juggernaut team? You play the betting game on the third member of a top line with two of the best players in the game. If that player happens to be someone who has averaged over a 55-point pace in his first two season in the league, and can produce some peripherals for you on top of that, then even better. That’s what we have with Gourde. Gourde and J.T. Miller were the most common fourth forwards on the first powerplay, and Miller has left town. A full year on the top line and top power play should mean it will be a sure thing to outplay his new contract cost.
Sell: Alex Killorn
Cap Hit: $4,450,000 with four years remaining
There aren’t really any sell high’s in Tampa, so this is more of a “get out while you can and the Tampa glasses are still giving Killorn a shine. With seven forwards in Tampa set to make over $4 million (assuming Brayden Point signs for more than that), one of them is going to be knocked out of the top-six. That is highly likely to be Alex Killorn. The 29-year-old winger has failed to live up to his contract thus far, and as great as Anthony Cirelli is, it’s going to be tough for Killorn to set offensive career highs if Cirelli is the best player that he plays with on a regular basis.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Buy: Andres Johnsson
Cap Hit: $3,400,000 with four years remaining
I had the pleasure of being able to go see the Maple Leafs win game three at home against Boston back in April, and one of the players that stood out to me most in that game, was Andreas Johnsson. He was a boon on the top powerplay, and always creating offence, both off the rush and down low. His new contract is that of a third line player, but right now his slot in the lineup is on left wing beside Auston Matthews and William Nylander. It doesn’t get much sweeter.
Sell: Alexander Kerfoot
Cap Hit: $3,500,000 with four years remaining
As with Tampa, there aren’t many “sell” players here either. However, new third line centre Kerfoot is jumping into Nazem Kadri’s slot, so some may expect him to fill in that production as well. Let’s tap the brakes on that right now. Kerfoot is a tier below Kadri in terms of offensive potential, two tiers below in terms of peripherals, and likely won’t be the fourth forward on the top powerplay unit. Don’t expect his production to jump at all from the 42 and 43 points he put up in his first two NHL seasons.
Buy: J.T. Miller
Cap Hit: $5,250,000 with four years remaining
Miller may be leaving from his exposure to the Tampa Bay power play, but this may end up being a boon for Miller’s value as the offence can now run through him (at least more often). His point/60 minutes ratio last year was his highest yet (he has improved every single year in the league), but the results overall were disappointing due to diminished ice time. There is now no reason why he shouldn’t get back to the 17 minutes a game he had last season (or perhaps even higher), and that would mean at least 60 points.
Sell: Alexander Edler
Cap Hit: $6,000,000 with two years remaining
Alex Edler put up an excellent fantasy season in both points formats, and multi-category leagues. His contract last year was one that was manageable for fantasy owners, but with the extension he signed over the summer, he appears to be pricing himself out of the range of a valuable defenceman. This is further exacerbated by the emergence of Quinn Hughes as a power play option, as well as bringing Tyler Myers in, likely reducing both Edler’s offensive production and general ice time (affecting his peripheral production).
Vegas Golden Knights
Cap Hit: $5,000,000 with five years remaining
Behind the acquisitions of Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone, Marchessault is being forgotten on the second line. One year removed from a 75-point season, he regressed to 59 points last season. By the way he is being treated, one would think he scored only 40 points. None of his underlying statistics were hugely out of line last season or the year prior, so we can pencil him in somewhere in the middle, around 65 points. For a player being treated as a typical second line winger making $5 million, that kind of production is one of the better options you can look into buying right now.
Sell: Marc-Andre Fleury
Cap Hit: $7,000,000 with three years remaining
This may not apply to you if your league greatly overvalues goalies as some do, however in the properly weighted leagues, it may be the time to see if you can move Fleury. Goalies typically tend to start declining around the age of 35, and at 34 years with a full track record of deep playoff runs, Fleury’s odometer is starting to creep into riskier territory. Without a reliable backup, Fleury is at risk of burning out again this season, and his new contract isn’t helping his value for us cap-leaguers.
Buy: Nicklas Backstrom
Cap Hit: $6,700,000 with one year remaining
As most people who watch the game will tell you, Backstrom’s style of game lends itself well to allowing him to continue to produce as he moves through his 30s. More specific to Backstrom though, is that the last time he was in a contract year (10 years ago) he peaked with 33 goals and 101 points. Playing for the last big contract of his career, there is certainly some incentive for him, and we may see a bit of a production bump as a result.
Sell: Radko Gudas
Cap Hit: $2,345,000 with one year remaining
On a team that already rosters madman Tom Wilson, there isn’t as much room for a second goon. Radko Gudas may remain effective, but he won’t get offensive minutes, nor will his leash be long enough for him to provide his typical value in leagues counting penalty minutes. Targeting a replacement such as Scott Mayfield, Mackezie Weegar, Erik Cernak, or Robert Hagg, you can get a better deal to fill out your defence. In deeper leagues, players such as Christina Folin and Ilya Lyubushkin may be worth looking into as well.
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