- Written by Eric Daoust
A list of forwards with hefty new contracts that are now nearly untouchable in a cap league.
Along with the insanity that comes with the start of the NHL's free agency period comes all of the scrutinizing of the amount of money and/or term being given to all of these players. History shows us that many of the massive contracts handed out will be seen as poor decisions when it is all said and done. This year is no exception. But among all of these signings are some very fair and sometimes bargain-priced contracts signed by fantasy-relevant players. In cap leagues these players become much more valuable as they now cost much less than some of their peers while still offering excellent production.
For many poolies this is a very nervous time as many of their players have their value hanging in the balance when the calendar turns to July. Today we will look at five forwards that signed deals in July that will leave their fantasy owners disappointed. In some cases it may not be the contract itself that is bad, but the alternatives that exist around the league in a similar production range.
Dave Bolland (FLA)
$5,500,000 / 5 years
Bolland has been a fantasy tease for many years. Since setting his career-high of 47 points back in 2009, he has mostly failed to maintain that scoring production and has been very injury-prone. After yet another IR-heavy campaign in Toronto last year, fantasy owners had to be expecting some sort of short "show me" contracts. Clearly that did not happen.
One of the themes of the summer was the players perceived as leaders getting a ton of cash and term thrown their way. The end result is that Bolland now has an inflated contract that is completely irrational from a fantasy standpoint. Even if he is healthy all year he will probably not produce enough to justify his salary. There are too many cheaper alternatives out here that can deliver the goods.
Leo Komarov (TOR)
$2,950,000 / 4 years
One of the staples of successful teams in salary-cap multi-category leagues is filling the bottom of the lineup with cheap physical players that offer a great bang for the buck. While Komarov is probably going to have success in the NHL and help his team, his current cap hit is a pretty hefty one for a player that will play mostly a bottom-six role.
If you own him it may be a good time to take advantage of the hype and see if you can somehow land a comparable producer at a cheaper price. Keeping the bottom of your roster economical allows you to dedicate the big money to the stars.
Matt Moulson (BUF)
$5,000,000 / 5 years
Moulson managed to ride John Tavares all the way to a big contract. Granted, his level of play dropped considerably after being traded to Buffalo last year which probably cost him money. Still, his new dollar figure is still very high and in all likelihood not worth the investment from a fantasy standpoint.
The biggest hurdle Moulson faces in Buffalo is the lack of an elite centerman at his side. Next to Tavares he was a three-time 30-goal guy. With all due respect to Sam Reinhart, he is no Tavares and Moulson will suffer as a result. It will probably be up and down in Buffalo with tons of inconsistency and a horrible plus-minus moving forward.
Mason Raymond (CGY)
$3,150,000 / 3 years
Raymond revived his career last year by posting 45 points with Toronto. While his new contract is not terrible by any means, it is simply too much for what Raymond brings to the table as a depth producer in any format.
Even with the Flames rebuilding, they still have talent that could make it difficult for him to maintain strong minutes. Plus, he has found ways to slide down the depth chart in the past. Avoid the risk and find a cheaper alternative that can push the 40-point mark. In this production range you can afford to gamble on an unknown.
Jiri Tlusty (CAR)
$2,950,000 / 1 year
Tlusty is another fantasy tease that has yet to put it all together for a full season. He has yet to clear the 40-point mark even though he had a great half-year after the lockout ended in 2013. In fact, in the last two full NHL campaigns he has finished below the half-a-point-a-game mark.
In fantasy leagues there are always GMs that are optimists to a fault. One of your rivals could be drooling over Tlusty's 2012-13 numbers thinking he might be getting a first-line winger. If you find that guy take advantage of the opportunity to dump Tlusty. Find a cheaper solution out there. The risk will be much smaller and chances are the production might be equal.