This week's Capped covers some names who are impressing in the first quarter, as well as having a contract worth pursuing in Cap leagues.
December is almost here, meaning that NHL teams can take a look in the mirror and actually have something meaningful to reflect on. The NHL standings never seem to change drastically past this point, so some teams are realistically already out of the running. However, in fantasy sports, that is not the case. It is a lot easier to make big changes in order to cover our weak points, making a push for a better second half of the season. Below are some names that have either propelled your competition up the standings thus far, or may be part of the solution moving forward.
Josh Bailey (LW) – New York Islanders
Cap Hit – $3,300,000 with 1 year remaining
Josh Bailey has managed to not only put together an excellent start to the 2017-2018 season, but his whole 2017 calendar year has been highly productive. As of Tuesday night, Bailey had amassed 60 points in 70 games through all of 2017. That is a highly productive 70-point pace over a full season. Expect this to keep up for three reasons. First, his underlying statistics show no regression is likely, and he even may be in line for an extra goal or two as evidenced by a shooting percentage of 7.5%. Second, this is a contract year for Bailey, and he is playing with a big payday on the line next summer. Third, Bailey finally seems to have cemented himself on a line with John Tavares (and Anders Lee). See if you can buy him for this year, with owners potentially scared off by his looming UFA contract (Expect in the range of a $6 million by six-year deal).
Colton Sissons (C) – Nashville Predators
Cap Hit – $625,000 with 2 years remaining
Hidden in Nashville behind what is now a deep centre core, Colton Sissons is arguably their best faceoff man. Currently he possesses the best faceoff percentage on the team at a whopping 59.8%, and second in total faceoff wins behind first-line centre Ryan Johansen. Sissons also provides a nice hit total, so in deeper leagues where these peripherals are relevant, he becomes an exceptional bargain. He may also be flying a little under the radar because he is only scoring at a 25-point pace. This is certainly a depth player, but because of his miniscule cap hit, he can be a big help to any cap-strapped team.
Esa Lindell (D) – Dallas Stars
Cap Hit – $2,200,000 with 2 years remaining
Esa Lindell is quietly having a very good season behind stud John Klingberg. Lindell is second on the Stars in ice time, second in defenceman scoring, and second in defenceman powerplay points; all behind Klingberg. Lindell is also tied for third on the team in shots (behind Jaime Benn & Tyler Seguin), while maintaining hits and blocks numbers that put him close to one a game in each. He is also available in 90% of Yahoo leagues, and 52% of Fantrax leagues. There isn’t much better value to be found than something that is aessentially free.
Brendan Gallagher (RW) – Montreal Canadiens
Cap Hit – $3,750,000 with 4 years remaining
Brendan Gallagher is on pace for a career year, and if it wasn’t for a few broken fingers over the last handful of seasons, he may have put it all together sooner. At the moment, the perception is that all Montreal players are cursed. There is, however, some value to be found with their skaters. Max Pacioretty is on pace for a career high in shots (and the goals will follow), while Phillip Danault and Gallagher are both mightily outplaying their respective contracts.
As quietly as is possible in Montreal, Gallagher is leading the Canadiens in goals with 10. He is on pace for 33 goals, 250 shots, 100 hits, and 60 penalty minutes. As soon as his teammates actually start scoring around him, his assist rate should rise back up to a normal range, putting him into the conversation for a multi-category stud for fantasy purposes. He has done this kind of thing before too. The 2015-2016 season started off so well for him before being derailed by the hand injury, and he was on pace for similar stats then. This is no mere flash in the pan, this is where Gallagher’s production should remain.
Sven Baertschi (LW) – Vancouver Canucks
Cap Hit – $1,850,000 with 1 year remaining
Sven Baertschi has been quite the bargain so far this season, but this is the one big sell-high for the article. Even though his contract has looked great for cap league owners to this point, don’t expect it to continue. Baertschi checks all the boxes for regression: High PDO, 5on5 SH5, personal SH% numbers, paired with a low shot rate, and declining ice time, all on a non-playoff team, and there is a lot to be wary of. Don’t even try to milk this any longer. The Canucks winger was down to 13 minutes of ice time last game (his lowest total in the last seven games), and has gone pointless in his last five contests. Sell him for whatever you can get, making a point of the smaller contract as a selling point.
Thanks for reading. 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.
- Ramblings: Power Forwards are the Worst, Gusev, Hughes Bros, Rielly & J.T. Miller (Oct. 16)
- Ramblings: Early team reviews; injury updates; Gustav Nyquist - October 17
- Top 100 Keeper League Defensemen - October 2019
- Injury Ward: Byfuglien News, McCann, Doughty, Eberle, Hischier, & Forsberg
- Forum Buzz: Early Season Pick-Up Guide, Owning Buff, Saros, Arvidsson, and Fowler
- Top 200 Fantasy Prospect Forwards - October 2019
- Eastern Edge: Around the Metro this season
- Capped: Early returns on a cost-per-point basis