ChristianEhrhoff

 

Five bargain defensemen to consider 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 defensemen that signed good value contracts on or after July 1st.


T.J. Brennan (New York Islanders - $600,000 / 1 year)

 

Obviously, the signing of Brennan by the Islanders has received a lot of attention in fantasy circles. While a risky option and not a sure thing by any means, he has had an excellent career in the minor leagues and is about to get his best (and probably the last) opportunity to stick in the NHL.

 

From a fantasy perspective, there is a lot to like about Brennan. For starters, the cap hit is fantastic for a player that might bring a lot to the table. Also, his game translates well not only to points-only leagues, but also to multi-category formats. We have already gotten a taste of that all-around production in his various short stints at the NHL level.

 

Season

Team

GP

G

A

Pt

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

Hit

Blk

TOI/G

TOI-PP

TOI-SH

2011-2012

BUF

11

1

0

1

0

6

14

0

20

6

14:05

0:41

0:22

2012-2013

BUF

10

1

0

1

-1

6

18

1

3

13

14:48

2:23

0:02

2012-2013

FLA

19

2

7

9

-8

2

24

3

28

19

17:37

2:05

0:12

2012-2013

Total

29

3

7

10

-9

8

42

3

31

32

16:39

2:11

0:09

Career Total

40

4

7

11

-9

14

56

4

51

38

15:56

1:46

0:12

82-Game Average

 

8

14

22

-18

29

115

8

105

78

 

 

 

 

What we see is that in addition to modest offensive numbers in a very sheltered role, Brennan also contributes solid todals in SOG, PPP, hits and blocks. If he can manage to catch fire in New York, he can increase all of those numbers which would further add to his value in all formats.

 

Despite the low PIM total shown here, Brennan also has a history of picking up a lot of penalties including 115 PIM in the AHL this year. While he will probably never match that total at the highest level, it does show that in an expanded role he could find himself spending an unexpected amount of time in the sin bin.


Christian Ehrhoff (Pittsburgh - $4,000,000 / 1 year)

 

While he certainly does not come cheap, Ehrhoff remains a good buy in cap leagues, most in points-only formats but also in most multi-category settings. The Penguins have a history of scoring a lot of goals which should help him a lot in the offensive statistics. Additionally, Pittsburgh is normally an excellent team in the regular season which will help Ehrhoff erase his ugly minus-27 rating from a year ago in Buffalo.

 

The departure of Matt Niskanen makes Ehrhoff a perfect fit on the Pens’ blueline as Kris Letang’s sidekick. Niskanen, who has been an offensive underachiever for most of his career, suddenly found his groove in a contract year with Letang down for most of the season. Even if Letang manages to play most of the games this year, expect Ehrhoff, a more proven offensive contributor than Niskanen, to thrive in Pittsburgh.

 

However, be careful not to invest too heavily in keeper leagues. Chances are that Ehrhoff will ride his successes into another big long-term contract next summer that will more closely resemble the one he signed in Buffalo. Depending on where his new cap hit will fall, he may go from fantasy stud to albatross overnight.


Tim Gleason (Carolina - $1,200,000 / 1 year)

 

After a forgettable stint in Toronto, Gleason finds himself back in Carolina at a much cheaper rate. This is good news for fantasy owners as Gleason has been a good source for PIM, hits and blocks over the years. Even though he is not the player he was a few years ago, the lower price tag makes this a more acceptable development as it comes with very little risk on your team’s budget.

 

Even in a nightmare 2013-14 season, Gleason still managed to amass 65 PIM, 156 hits and 88 blocks in just 56 games. As long as he can improve his ugly minus-21 rating and chip in a few more points than he did a year ago, he should be a decent depth multi-category option to round out your roster.


Zach Redmond (Colorado - $750,000 / 2 years)

 

While Redmond is mostly remembered for having persevered through a life-threatening leg injury caused by a skate blade, he has quietly shown signs of emerging as a solid multi-category cap bargain. His opportunity to make the jump to the NHL full-time improved tremendously when he signed a two-year, one-way contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

 

Looking back to his cups of coffee over the previous two seasons in Winnipeg, Redmond has already posted solid numbers at the NHL level.

 

Season

Team

GP

G

A

Pt

+/-

PIM

SOG

PPP

Hit

Blk

TOI/G

TOI-PP

TOI-SH

2012-2013

WPG

8

1

3

4

0

12

13

1

12

8

19:30

1:29

1:24

2013-2014

WPG

10

1

2

3

1

0

10

0

7

11

15:18

0:40

0:03

Career Total

18

2

5

7

1

12

23

1

19

19

17:10

1:02

0:39

82-Game Average

 

9

23

32

5

55

105

5

87

87

 

 

 

 

Although not impossible, do not expect his 32-point pace to continue. Beyond average offensive numbers, he produces decent totals in PIM, hits and blocks while also possessing enough offensive game to perhaps become a good secondary power-play contributor. This would help him maintain his SOG and PPP averages.

 

Redmond will probably not stand out in any one category. It is the combination of decent numbers across the board at a low price that makes him appealing. In Colorado, a team that wants to improve its blueline, he will have a chance to turn the projections into reality.


Stephane Robidas (Toronto - $3,000,000 / 3 years)

 

At the age of 37 and after a few scary leg injuries, Robidas is not the dominant multi-category player that he once was. But he is far from done as a contributor and his new cap hit of $3 million is rather fair for what he brings to the table. He is no longer a threat to put up a lot of points but still offers a good combination of PIM, hits, blocks and SOG.

 

The biggest concern for Robidas is the term of his contract. He will be 40 years old when his new contract ends and Is an injury concern moving forward. Be careful if you invest in him in a keeper league that does not allow free drops while the player is still under contract in the NHL. If Robidas declines to a point where he can no longer contribute at an acceptable level, it could cost you in buyout fees. But at least in the short term he is a solid investment in multi-category leagues.


Added Bonus


Three weeks ago, a pair of defensemen – Kimmo Timonen and Marek Zidlicky – was profiled as defensemen that may be undervalued in the eyes of your competitors due to their age but still offer solid fantasy-league value. Based on the dollars and term being tossed around, it is safe to say that both Zidlicky and Timonen can be considered winners just like the five defensemen profiled above.

 

Next week we will begin looking at some of this year’s free agency losers from the perspective of salary cap leagues. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter @DH_EricDaoust.

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