ChrisKunitz

 

Five efficient forwards for salary cap leagues...

 

It goes without saying that finding good production at a cheap cost is essential to your team's success in a salary cap fantasy league. But having the best team is more complicated than that. You can own every good player close to the minimum salary and have a ton of cap space left but this squad would not produce enough to win. Therefore, one must strike a balance between very cheap players and higher-end talent. Using Cap Geek's Bargain Hunter tool, here are the most productive "cap bargain" players of the current season:

 

Name

Pos

Team

GP

G

A

P

ATOI

CAP HIT

VALUE

Kunitz, Chris »

F

PIT

47

24

25

49

19.08

$3,725,000

$76,020

Okposo, Kyle »

F

NYI

47

19

27

46

20.27

$2,800,000

$60,870

Nielsen, Frans »

F

NYI

48

16

20

36

17.93

$2,750,000

$76,389

Saad, Brandon »

F

CHI

49

15

19

34

16.44

$894,167

$26,299

Johansen, Ryan »

F

CLB

46

17

17

34

17.92

$1,945,000

$57,206


Chris Kunitz (LW - PIT)

 

One of the luckiest players in the NHL is Chris Kunitz who benefits from having two of the best centermen in the world on his team. Fantasy owners do not care though, as long as he produces. He has certainly delivered with 101 points in 95 games since the lockout ended.

 

Keeper league owners are also happy because Kunitz is signed for the next three years at a cost of $3.85 million against the cap. This is a very low-risk investment. Even if he regresses significantly he is still worth the money.


Kyle Okposo (RW - NYI)

 

After many years of teasing us it appears that Kyle Okposo has arrived as a high-end scorer. Part of his success can be attributed to great chemistry with superstar John Tavares - Okposo scored 40 of his points with the Islanders' captain on the ice with him. This connection ensures that Okposo will continue to see top line opportunities as well as a lot of ice time with the man advantage. At $2.8 million for the next two years Okposo has quickly become one of the league's top cap bargains.

 


Frans Nielsen (C - NYI)

 

Frans Nielsen has not been as productive of late after a blazing-hot start but appears to be back on track with four points in his last five games. Even though he is probably going to beat his career-best of 47 points, fantasy owners had to know that his star-level production in the early going was unsustainable. Still, even as a secondary scorer his $2.75-million cap hit is very reasonable.


Brandon Saad (LW - CHI)

 

On a Blackhawks team with many large contracts, getting solid production out of cheap players such as Brandon Saad is a huge bonus. At just 21 years of age, he has made huge strides and has certainly earned a spot in the Hawks' top-six.

 

Keeper-league owners can enjoy one more cheap year as Saad's entry-level contract expires in the summer of 2015. At that point, one can expect that he will be properly compensated like so many of his teammates while the NHL's salary cap ceiling continues to rise at a fast rate.


Ryan Johansen (C - CLB)

 

After a disappointing first two NHL seasons, Ryan Johansen, a former fourth overall pick, is having by far the best year of his young career. His 34 points lead the Blue Jackets. This will certainly lead to a nice raise this summer as his entry-level contract expires. Given that this has been his only season of significance, it is possible deal resembles the one signed by Nazem Kadri last summer. Considering the inflation of the salary cap, Johnsen's new pact could have a value of around $3.5 million against the cap.


Added Bonus

 

Recently the St. Louis Blues have extended enforcer Ryan Reaves for four years at a cap hit of $1.125 million. In salary cap leagues that count hits and PIM this is a significant signing. Reaves certainly fits the bill as a cheap player that can give you solid production and compliment your offensive-minded star players.

 

One concern lies in Reaves' long-term spot in the Blues' lineup. Just last spring teammate Chris Porter made a name for himself in the playoffs and, armed with a two-year one-way contract it was believed that he had cemented a depth position in St. Louis. However, after a few signings over the summer Porter was AHL-bound. The same, or a slew of healthy scratches, could happen to Reaves if the team brings in more veterans this summer or when their high-end prospects, Ty Rattie and Dmitrij Jaskin, earn full time NHL spots.

 

Another similar example transpired in Nashville where a series of depth signings created a logjam in the Predators' depth lines. The result is a significant hit to the value of each player individually. In some good news, the Predators shipped Matt Hendricks to the Oilers in a move that will help the current players suit up more frequently.

 

Regardless of how things transpire for Reaves long term, the signing is good news nonetheless. The financial investment is minimal plus he provides great production in two categories. Additionally, the fact that his club is strong will help his plus/minus. Just like NHL teams value the presence of players that provide toughness, your fantasy team can certainly use a similar boost, especially when the player provides great numbers in his areas of strength.


Previously in Capped:

 

The Impact of Recent Contract Extensions

 

Keeper Leagues and the Rising Salary Cap Ceiling

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