Top-10 Best Long-Term Contracts

by Tom Collins on June 22, 2015

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Nicklas Backstrom is among the players signed to a fantasy-friendly long-term contract. There are several others around the league, too.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I joined a dynasty keeper league that is starting from scratch. It’s a cap league, with all sorts of different scoring and categories. 

Saddled with the 28th and 33rd pick overall, I made a trade and also wound up with the 27th pick. So I selected Tyler Johnson, Semyon Varlamov and Kevin Shattenkirk. Not bad, but Johnson and Shattenkirk will get new contract in two years, probably big enough to screw up my cap at that point.

That led me to thinking about long-term keepers with great cap hits. Guys like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin may be worth the money, but they can also eat up 10 to 15 per cent of your team cap.

For this list, I’m looking specifically at players who have at least five years left on their deal to show how there are plenty of players with great long-term options. Fun side note: The Kings have eight players signed to deals with at least five years remaining.

I’m using Generalfanager.com for all things cap hit wise.

Here are the top 10 best long-term contracts.

10. Charlie Coyle

Coyle is about to enter his anticipated fourth-year in the NHL, and many are expecting a breakout season from the 2010 first round pick That would include the Wild, who signed him to a five-year deal last Oct. 22. The deal is a little unique, where instead of being frontloaded, Coyle’s salary will increase each season. It averages out to about $3.2 million a season, which will make him an attractive fantasy option if he can nail down a top-six role. 

9. Brendan Gallagher

The little sparkplug that could, Gallagher is about to start a six-year deal that is worth an average $3.75 million annually. But just look at the way it’s broken down. 

2015-16: $5.5 million

16-17: $4.5 million

17-18: $2.75 million

18-19: $3 million

19-20: $4 million

20-21: $2.75 million

It’s a weird set-up for sure. But considering Gallagher has improved on his goals and points every year, and is trusted as a top-six winger in Montreal, there’s no reason to believe he can’t be a consistent 25-goal, 50-point guy for the next few years.

8. Nick Bjugstad

Forget Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Vincent Trochek. Within a few years, Bjugstad will be the non-defenceman star of the Florida Panthers (or where ever they relocate to). He’s seen his numbers improve every year (last year, his 24 goals was tops on the team, while his 43 points was third). Best of all, he’s signed for six years at $4.1 million a season, an excellent cap hit for the 22-year-old.

7. Duncan Keith

While the NHL and many fans may hate cap circumvention, from a fantasy perspective, it’s great. It keeps cap hits down, and makes guys affordable that maybe wouldn’t be that great an option if he was getting what he is worth. Keith is the perfect example of this. We’re five years into his 13-year deal, and he’s due $7.5 million next season. But he only makes $6.25 million combined over the last three years of his deal. If it weren’t for cap circumvention, Keith would be making $8 to $9 million, and no one in cap leagues would ever select him. Instead, he’s at an average of $5.5 million, which is a great deal for a guy who has hit 60 points twice, takes a healthy amount of shots, routinely hits double-digits in plus-minus, mans the Hawks power play, and blocks shots. 

6. John Klingberg

The defenceman who would be a Calder candidate if it wasn’t for an 18-year-old in Florida, Klingberg has provided his fantasy owners with plenty of excitement. He’s just about to start a seven-year contract where he will average $4.25 million (in the first three years of the deal, he’ll make just $2.25 million, $2.75 million and $3.5 million). He doesn’t really even need to improve on his rookie season numbers to be valuable. As long as he doesn’t see a decline, he’s well worth the money.

5. Justin Faulk

Last year, Faulk had 15 goals and 49 points, to go along with 20 power play points. He was pretty much Carolina’s best player last year, and doesn’t have any threat of someone stealing his job any time soon. Best of all, he’s signed for five more years at $4.83 million per season. As the Hurricanes youth movement starts to come to fruition, Faulk will be counted on to lead this team over the next few years. 

4. Jonathan Quick

Even though the Kings missed the playoffs, Quick had one of his best seasons to date. He set career highs in wins, and it was his second best season ever in terms of shutouts, saves, save percentage and minutes played. Across the league, he was top 10 in games played, wins, goals against average, saves, goals against average, shutouts, minutes played and penalty minutes. Thanks to a 10-year front-loaded deal, Quick has eight years remaining at $5.8 million per year. There are 12 goalies with a higher cap hit, and that number could rise depending on what type of deals Braden Holtby and Devan Dubnyk sign this offseason. An excellent bargain for what many consider to be a top-five goalie.

3. Taylor Hall

The Band-Aid boy signed a seven-year deal that kicked in at the start of the 2013-14 season, meaning he still has five years left at an average of $6 million a year. It may seem high until you remember two things: One is that he’s finished in the top 10 in points in two seasons. The second is that he is about to have Connor McDavid as a linemate. In a few years, $6 million will seem like a bargain.

2. Nicklas Backstrom

Backstrom makes the most money of any one on this list, but even at $6.7 million per season for the next five years, he still has a great contract. He’s pretty much a point-per-game player, and will always be near the top of the assists leaderboard. It’s hard to believe he’s just 27-years old, so he has many productive years in front of him. As long as Ovechkin can keep scoring 50-60 goals a year, Backstrom is a hot fantasy commodity.

1. Roman Josi

The Preds defenceman provides every bit the same fantasy value as his counterpart, Shea Weber, but at a fraction of the cost. While Weber has a $7.86 million cap hit. Josi is at $4 million even. This is great news for Josi owners, considering he’s now considered a top-10 fantasy option after putting up 15 goals, 55 points, plus-15, 201 shots, and 209 blocked shots. 

Other Top-10 articles from Tom:

Playoff-Driven Stock Increases

Playoff Duds

Forwards Under 23