This week's Capped covers some thoughts from the 2018 calendar year that got missed during the projection series.
I hope you all enjoyed the projection series that has run the last few weeks. It was a fun run through, and hopefully I can have the projection model providing a little more accuracy by the time July 1st rolls around.
With February upon us, we are only three short weeks away from the NHL trade deadline. Let’s get into a few thoughts on your deadline shopping, starting with the forwards.
Max Domi (C/LW) – Arizona Coyotes
Cap Hit: $863,333 – RFA as of July 1st, 2018
The Arizona Coyotes haven’t exactly been a bountiful land of fantasy relevance this season (or in previous seasons), however they do have a very good H2H playoff schedule, and everyone on the team knows they are playing to impress for next year. Domi especially has something to prove, as he needs a new contract for next season. The former 12th overall pick in the 2013 entry draft has produced at every level, including the NHL in previous seasons. This season has seen his shooting percentage drop off the face of the earth, but it seems to be the only number that is very out of place. Chalk it up to bad luck, and get in on him while you can.
There are not many players who offer scoring upside, who could be had as cheaply as Domi, based on his reduced trade cost, and with regards to his small cap hit. He will be better in points leagues, but the penalty minutes can help, and the peripherals are not too shabby to severely hinder his value in larger multi-category leagues. Additionally, the plus-minus stat isn’t one to try and chase anyways, as it can be so fickle. This is one turn around to be ahead of the curve on, both for the end of this season, and in future seasons.
The Expensive One
Nicklas Backstrom (C) – Washington Capitals
Cap Hit: $6,700,000 – UFA as of July 1st, 2020
The star centreman for the Capitals has never scored under a 69-point pace in his NHL career, and is currently only tracking for 64 (even after two on Tuesday night). The numbers will balance out for Backstrom, who has struggled through a slow month of January. As a result, he makes for a worthwhile buy-low at this point, with owners potentially being worried that this is the beginning of a decline now that he has hit his 30s. Backstrom however, plays a style of game that lends itself well to hold up over time. He plays a smart game, based on his supreme passing abilities, and the way he sees and thinks the game at such a high level. Those attributes will ensure that his scoring touch won’t be dropping off quickly.
At the $6.7 million cap hit, Backstrom may be a pricy addition to try and fit onto your team, but he will pay off if you can get creative and make it work. Not much more needs to be said for such a proven player, skating alongside one of the NHL’s top triggermen in Alex Ovechkin.
Mike Fisher (C) – Nashville Predators
Cap Hit: $ ??? – UFA
Fisher was a hugely valuable asset last year in cap leagues, and to the Nashville Predators for their cup run. When he retired last season, there was a hole left in the Predators lineup. They have since filled the void at centre with Nick Bonino, Kyle Turris, as well as some internal growth from Calle Jarnkrok and Colton Sissons. As a result, with Fisher getting into game shape to sign on with the Predators for one more Cup run, it is really up in the air what role he will play.
Fisher would not be coming back for the money, and will likely sign for close to the league minimum, or maybe at a nice, round $1 million figure. At that kind of price point, he should be able to provide good, low-risk value. Fisher is a multifaceted player, and also played a role on the Nashville power play last season. Between his scoring, power play potential, hits, penalty minutes, blocks and faceoff wins, there is not much he doesn’t cover. For deeper leagues, if you can stash him on a farm system, he’s a worthy gamble. In shallower leagues, put him on your watch list.
The Potential Disappointment
Elias Lindholm (C/RW) – Carolina Hurricanes
Cap Hit: $2,700,000 – UFA as of July 1st
Fantasy owners continue to wait on the Elias Lindholm breakout. There was a sneak peek at the end of last season, where he scored 34 points in 38 games, but he has reverted back to his usual 40-point pace this season. The Hurricanes winger has been bounced around the lineup, and his fantasy owners are probably getting impatient. At a $2.7 million price tag, there appears to be little downside, and the tools would still be there for another post-all-star-break run this year.
However, Lindholm’s shot rate is down, his shooting percentage is high, his hit rate is down, and he is no longer taking many faceoffs. He has also lost some favour, and has been playing further down in the lineup than in previous seasons. Carolina also has a poor fantasy playoff schedule, and with games played being such an advantage in H2H playoffs, let Lindholm be someone else’s idea of a good deadline acquisition.
As an aside, he’s projected to be making over $5 million next season, which would really negate his possible bargain status.
That caps off another Thursday. Let me know in the comments who you’re targeting, and why. Stay tuned for the defencemen next week.
If you can’t just get your fill on Thursdays, you can find me on twitter any day of the week @alexdmaclean
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