BradRichards

 

Five freshly signed forwards who will be bargains in your 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.

 

Today we will look at five forwards that signed good value contracts on July 1st.


Brian Boyle (Tampa Bay - $2,000,000 / 3 years)

 

One of the guy that saw his stock rise following the New York Rangers' trip to the Stanley Cup final was Boyle who has been an excellent multi-category player over the last few years. Heading into free agency, there was a chance that someone would overpay for his services like so many others. Thankfully for his fantasy owners, Boyle signed a very reasonable three-year contract in Tampa Bay to occupy a bottom-six role while the team begins integrating some of its young talent into offensive roles.

 

What Boyle brings to the table is very evident from a fantasy perspective. Not a big point-producer, he instead brings a lot to the table in peripheral categories. Let's consider his last three years.

 

Year

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PIM

Hits

Bks

FW

FO%

PPP

SHP

SOG

2011-12

NYR

82

11

15

26

2

59

236

83

629

0.518

1

1

165

2012-13

NYR

38

2

3

5

-13

29

145

30

215

0.564

1

0

56

2013-14

NYR

82

6

12

18

1

56

154

54

306

0.529

2

2

137

82-Game Average

 

 

8

12

20

-4

58

217

68

467

0.529

2

1

145

 

Boyle is an excellent PIM/Hits/Bks combo player that is also solid in the faceoff circle and at shooting pucks on net. And despite his lack of eye-popping point totals, they are still decent for a guy that gets limited ice time. In the right setting, his overall production is above-average by league standards. Getting that production at a cost below the league average is a definite win for his owners.


Steve Downie (Pittsburgh - $1,000,000 / 1 year)

 

Downie is a great example of a player's value suddenly changing tremendously because of a new unexpected cap hit. Not only did Downie sign on a team that has historically scored a ton of goals, he also signed at the bargain rate of $1 million.

 

The end result is that Downie might be one of the best multi-category bargains in the entire league given his career averages of one point every two games and two PIM per game. The only concern is his health as he has missed a ton of games over the years. In fact, he has only played 60 or more games twice in his career. But when he does play expect a strong combination of points, hits and PIM. If he can continue his career production trend he will be a very valuable fantasy asset. The positives out-weigh the negatives.


Olli Jokinen (Nashville - $2,500,000 / 1 year)

 

Those of you using Jokinen for secondary scoring received some great news when he signed a one-year deal in Nashville after the team failed to land a legitimate first-line centerman. While Jokinen has had issues throughout his career and is prone to completely disappearing at times, he remains a fairly reliable scorer with increased value due to his solid cap hit and his team's need for some added scoring punch.

 

As an added bonus, the fact that Jokinen is not popular among fans can work in your favor. GMs tend to bring emotion into their decisions which will likely cause Jokinen to be undervalued or completely overlooked. In a keeper league you can probably acquire him in a trade for marginal young assets. Meanwhile, in a one-year league draft this fall you can probably find him on the board in the later rounds.


Derek MacKenzie (Florida - $1,300,000 / 3 years)

 

MacKenzie is not a name that receives a lot of attention in fantasy circles but in deep multi-category leagues he is surprisingly effective and is not expensive to own. In order to look deeper into his production let's look into his stats over the last three years.

 

Year

Team

GP

G

A

Pts

+/-

PIM

Hits

Bks

FW

FO%

PPP

SHP

SOG

2011-12

CLS

66

7

7

14

4

40

189

19

234

0.546

1

3

61

2012-13

CLS

43

3

5

8

1

36

122

19

192

0.594

0

0

33

2013-14

CLS

71

9

9

18

0

47

241

32

256

0.515

0

3

70

82-Game Average

9

10

19

2

56

251

32

311

0.547

0

3

75

 

It turns out that MacKenzie is a top-end hitter but also provides good PIM and faceoff value along with the occasional shorthanded point that can make a big difference in head-to-head leagues. Like Boyle, he is not a big point producer but provides a good balance across the board. Now in Florida, his bottom-six role should be safe while the team focuses on protecting their young developing players by keeping them in offensive roles.


Brad Richards (Chicago - $2,000,000 / 1 year)

 

One of the biggest shockers of the opening day of free agency was Richards accepting a huge discount to sign with a Stanley Cup contender in the Chicago Blackhawks. While his stint in New York has been a major disappointment, he will not carry the responsibility of being a big-money free agent signing when he steps on the ice with the Hawks.

 

After years of searching for a centerman to anchor the second line, the Hawks have found their man. However, the fact that Richards is the clear-cut number-two guy will limit his offensive upside, at least during his stint in Chicago. He should be safe to continue producing in the 50-60-point range but his chances of exceeding that and returning to some past point totals are very slim.

 

Next week we will look at some defensemen that signed good value contracts during the free agency period. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter @DH_EricDaoust.

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