Facing Off

by Chris Pudsey on December 10, 2015

The hidden value of cheap faceoff wins in your cap league and some players who provide them.

Anyone who plays in a league that offers faceoff wins as a stat category knows how valuable top centermen can be, and sometimes how hard they can be to acquire. That one category tends to inflates the values of centers so finding the inexpensive FOW leaders should be worth noticing, especially those who may fly under the radar, so to speak.

We all know of the Patrice Bergeron’s, Mikko Koivu’s and Sidney Crosby’s when it comes to FOW prowess,  but there are others who are still worthy in the discussion as key FOW players for your fantasy team. In this week’s Capped, let’s take a look at some “under the radar” players who are solid in the FOW category and won’t break the bank for your fantasy team.

Let’s get the guys who are still on their entry-level contracts out of the way first. The fact that these kids are doing so well in the faceoff dot so early in their careers is really a testament to their hard work on that part of their game. If there’s one thing most young centers struggle with right out of the gate, it’s winning the faceoff. Good on these kids for stepping up and showing success early on.

 

Sean Monahan – Calgary Flames – $0.925M (ELC)

FOW

Goals

Assists

PPP

TOI/G

Hits

Blocks

298

8

11

3

20:19

13

12

Monahan is in the last year of his entry-level contract and while his offensive numbers may seem a bit lower this year compared to this time last year, he has shown to still be a force in the faceoff circle. He currently is the 10th best FOW player in the NHL and is a key piece in the Flames future. 

The talent is all around Monahan and the offense will come.

 

Bo Horvat – Vancouver Canucks – $0.894M (ELC)

FOW

Goals

Assists

PPP

TOI/G

Hits

Blocks

237

2

6

4

17:06

27

12

The 20-year-old has struggled offensively this year but injuries to second line center Brandon Sutter has kept him in the top six so far. He started last year slow too so maybe this year he will catch fire in the second half again. 

He’s a better fit as the team’s third line center for his defensive abilities but desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose. 

 

Victor Rask – Carolina Hurricanes – $0.680M (ELC)

FOW

Goals

Assists

PPP

TOI/G

Hits

Blocks

203

8

11

9

17:48

8

11

The 21-year-old tends to fly under the radar because he plays for the lowly Hurricanes, but this kid is really turning heads to those paying attention because he is actually putting up some offense. The fact he is having success in other areas as well is a bonus, such as FOW.

If this kid continues the way he’s going, he won’t fly under the radar much longer. He looks like the real deal, and with Eric Staal looking more and more like he will be moving on once his contract expires at the end of this season (or earlier via trade), Rask is already taking steps to replace him as the team’s number one center.

 

Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Ottawa Senators – $0.900M

FOW

Goals

Assists

PPP

TOI/G

Hits

Blocks

241

7

3

0

15 :09

54

23

Pageau is the little engine that could. The diminutive center doesn’t short-change the Senators with his ice time as he is the main man on the third line. He’s in the top 20 when we look at the FOW category and is one of the better hitters and blockers in that top 20 group as well. Only one of the top 20 faceoff men, Mike Fisher, has more hits and only Ryan Kesler has more blocks.

He’s signed for one more year after this one and considering the price tag, that’s good value for the multi-cat leagues.

 

Luke Glendening – Detroit Red Wings – $0.628M

FOW

Goals

Assists

PPP

TOI/G

Hits

Blocks

205

1

4

0

14:47

54

29

Glendening, simply put, is not an offensive player.  That being said, he is cheap, cheap, cheap and still gets a decent amount of icetime. He is the Wings key penalty killer and is relied on heavily for that.

Much like Pageau, Glendening will offer extras like hits and blocks to go with the FOW instead of the goals and assists. He is signed for one more year after this one.

 

Jay Beagle – Washington Capitals – $1.75M

FOW

Goals

Assists

PPP

TOI/G

Hits

Blocks

204

3

4

0

14:30

34

10

In the off-season, the Capitals re-signed Beagle to a three-year contract extension and both sides couldn’t have been happier.

He’s a versatile guy for the Capitals that has been used everywhere in the lineup. He can be used on the top line with Ovechkin and has been used as low as the fourth line center.  He won’t give you much offensively but is coming off a career year that saw him put up 10 goals and 10 assists, so it’s not like he can’t chip in from time to time.

 

Mark Letestu – Edmonton Oilers – $1.8M

FOW

Goals

Assists

PPP

TOI/G

Hits

Blocks

200

3

4

4

14:41

21

9

Letestu came to Edmonton this summer as a free agent signing, and like many of the Oilers forwards this year, he’s been a bit of a disappointment offensively.

I am not saying he was every really expected to produce much, but I think the Oilers were expecting more than the three goals he has provided this year. He gets a fair amount of powerplay time due to the fact that the Oilers simply don’t have great FOW guys to win the draws in the offensive zone, so they rely on Letestu to try and win those important draws.

He’s better known as a penalty killer and that’s a more suitable role for him but as it stands right now, he’s getting second line power-play time. It’s too bad he isn’t taking advantage of that benefit by producing more on the score sheet to go with the high number of FOW. He still has two more years left on his deal after this one.

 

Nick Bonino – Pittsburgh Penguins – $1.9M

FOW

Goals

Assists

PPP

TOI/G

Hits

Blocks

209

3

2

1

15:58

11

22

Bonino came to Pittsburgh in a trade with Vancouver in the offseason. Unfortunately for Bonino and the Penguins, he left behind his offensive numbers in that deal too.

Bonino was used primarily as the second line center last year in Vancouver and performed admirably in that role (15G, 24A). In Pittsburgh, he is mainly being deployed as the third line center but the offense hasn’t been there. In all fairness to Bonino, that can be said for a lot of Penguins so far this year.

Right now, he’s still seeing PP2 time and killing a lot of penalties so hopefully he can start finding the score sheet a bit more as the season progresses. He still has one more year left on his current deal with the Penguins.

To offer some context to the guys above and their FOW’s for the money, here’s the top ten FOW guys so far this season and their annual salary.

Name

Team

Cap Hit

FOW

Ryan O’Reilly

Buffalo

6.0M

404

Claude Giroux

Philadelphia

8.275M

398

Bryan Little

Winnipeg

4.7M

360

Patrice Bergeron

Boston

6.875M

358

Jonathan Toews

Chicago

10.5M

354

Mikko Koivu

Minnesota

6.75M

347

Ryan Kesler

Anaheim

5.0M

323

Sidney Crosby

Pittsburgh

8.7M

312

Anze Kopitar

Los Angeles

6.8M

303

Sean Monahan

Calgary

0.925M

298

****

As always, thanks for reading.  Comments are always welcome.

 

Feel free to follow me on twitter @chrispudsey