How to Pull-Off a Cap League Blockbuster – Part II

by Alexander MacLean on November 23, 2017
  • Capped
  • How to Pull-Off a Cap League Blockbuster – Part II

This week's Capped reviews the key aspects of making a blockbuster trade in a cap league, building off of last week.


As I stated in last week’s article, “around mid-November is the time I find second-most active in trade markets, behind only trade-deadline week”. Over the last 10 days, I have pulled off two blockbusters in one of my Dynasty Cap leagues. Both of these deals involved Ryan Johansen, and the combined result gave me a completely revamped goaltending tandem. Last week was the review of the first deal, along with some lessons. This week I will be going over the second deal, recapping the lessons, and then adding some extra thoughts on the new Cam Atkinson deal.


The Second Trade Breakdown

I acquired:

C – Kyle Brodziak, St. Louis ($950,000)

G – Scott Darling, Carolina ($4,150,000)

LW – Jeff Skinner, Carolina ($5,750,000)

RW – Jamie McGinn, Chicago ($3,333,333)

A 2019 Third round pick in our prospect draft (Will be between pick 49 and 72)



In exchange for:

G – Jonathan Bernier, Colorado ($2,750,000)

RW – Magnus Paajarvi, St. Louis ($800,000)

C – Ryan Johansen, Nashville ($8,000,000)

RW – Calle Jarnkrok, Nashville ($2,000,000)



If you need to refresh on the league settings, you can check out the summary in last week’s article here.



My Reasoning for the Trade

Even before the first trade, I had been asking after Scott Darling, since his combination of mid-range contract price, paired up with playing on an up-and-coming Carolina team looks to be a recipe for success. When I acquired Johansen, the Darling owner asked about him, and after some quick talks, we got to the point of my Johansen and Bernier going for his Darling and Jeff Skinner making up the core of the deal.

Unfortunately cap league deals are never that simple, and we spent a full day going back and forth trying to balance the salary. Also, because Bernier is the lesser player of the four, we knew that another decent piece was needed on my side. Jarnkrok was added, as was Brodziak to balance the faceoff wins. Jarnkrok’s contract is a great one for cap leagues, however he loses a little value with the acquisition of Turris by the Preds, because he isn’t taking as many faceoffs. Salaries were balanced out be adding Paajarvi and McGinn, and a third-round pick was added to balance the McGinn contract (Not a pretty one to be taking on).


The Reasoning for the Other GM


Again, I can’t fully speak to all of the motives for the trade from the point of view of the other GM, but he had three starting goalies, so trading one of them for two centres makes a lot of sense. He also managed to rid himself of McGinn’s contract, took on a good one in Jarnkrok, all while saving about $600,000 in cap space.





1. Dealing with the salary cap


Making deals around the cap can be tough, as is knowing when to use up your cap space to make a move. For minor changes of less than $2 million, it is generally not all that concerning either way. Generally, most teams find themselves operating closer to the cap, and as a result it is necessary for the salaries going each way to balance out. Adding on smaller pieces to balance the money is usually the easiest, and most harmless way to accomplish this.


2. Understand the needs and wants of your trading partner


I knew going in that my counterpart wanted to unload both a goalie and the McGinn contract. I also knew that he was in need of a centre. This made the swap of a centre for a goalie a natural fit. Adding a second centre in Jarnkrok really sealed the deal, and netted me the return I needed as well.


3. Having something to give


The crux piece of getting this deal done was the inclusion of Calle Jarnkrok. For one, he was really the only one that made sense to include to make the salaries work. And two, he is on an amazing contract for cap leagues. His value in most leagues is little above waiver wire replacement level, however in a deep cap league where faceoff wins, plus/minus, and short-handed points are all tough categories to gain an edge in week to week, he has some hidden value. Jarnkrok is one that I have paraded a bit as being a valuable guy to buy into for cap leagues since he signed his six-year $12 million deal in July of 2016. Tough to go against my own views there, but it was necessary to push the deal through.



Cam Atkinson

Cam Atkinson signed a seven-year extension on Thursday last week, worth $5.75 million per season. He will be making over $7 million through the first two years of the deal, with a full no trade clause (NTC) before dropping down to a salary just above $5 million, and seeing the NTC relax to a modified 10 team trade list. There is no reason Columbus should be shopping Atkinson anytime soon. Columbus has plenty of good, young talent, and this contract is very team friendly. What Atkinson gained in a few extra years of security, he gave up in salary. My spreadsheet had him projected to be earning a shade over $6 million, though I was expecting even a little more than that.


Wingers that provide the dynamic scoring ability that Atkinson displays, are few and far between. Columbus is lucky to have Atkinson signed until the summer of 2025. Even though he is starting slow this season with seven points thus far, his goal total should continue to be in the 30 range as long as he is healthy for a full season. The likely culprit behind Atkinson’s slow start is the struggling Columbus power play. Once that starts clicking (and it will) then he should get back on track very quickly. Buy now while his value is this low – it won’t be for long.




Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment with your thoughts on my trade or the Atkinson extension.


As always, you can find me on twitter @alexdmaclean where I post some of my other smaller musings that don’t make it into the articles.