Daoust discusses 10 new signings and their cap league impacts...
This time of the year can be the most exciting in many fantasy leagues. Your trade deadline has just passed or is just around the corner and teams are preparing for the final stretch of the season. Additionally, there are a ton of entry-level contract signings that will have an impact either in the near or more distant future. Most of these signings come from junior and college hockey.
In fantasy hockey prospects carry much more value in leagues that have farm rosters or other forms of protection. That way, teams can hold on to prospects while they develop and are not penalized on their main roster if the youngster is not immediately productive when they hit the NHL. In leagues with a salary cap, the cost of these prospects also has an impact on their shorter-term value. In essence, cheaper prospects on the farm roster are easier to call up to replace an injured NHLer, especially if your team is close to the salary cap ceiling. On the flip side, those that cost more will be more difficult to call up unless the cap hit of the injured player makes such a move possible.
With that in mind, today we will look at 10 entry-level signings that have taken place so far in March along with each player's value, both in the short and longer term.
Patrik Bartosak (G - Los Angeles)
Contract: $620,000 / 3 years
Drafted: 95th overall in 2009
Bartosak, who turns 21 in two weeks, enters a Kings' pipeline that is pretty thin in goal following the trades of Jonathan Bernier and Ben Scrivens. Given the precedence of the Kings trading their backup goaltenders, it is reasonable to think that it could happen again in the next year or two if current backup Martin Jones continues to build his trade value. At that point it could be Bartosak or Jean-Francois Berube getting the call to Los Angeles. If he makes it to the NHL at his current cap hit, he could have good value for spot starts on a strong club.
Brady Brassart (F - Minnesota)
Contract: $836,667 / 3 years
Brassart is a good two-way prospect who plays with an edge. The 20-year-old will probably join the Wild's AHL squad next year where he will continue his development. He could have value in multi-category leagues over the next couple years if he earns call-ups to Minnesota in an energy-line role. Long-term, his offensive potential is limited but he could carve out a nice career as a depth scorer that gives your fantasy team a bit of everything.
Cody Corbett (D - Colorado)
Contract: $616,667 / 3 years
Corbett is a defenseman with good size who has improved a lot over the last two years. Defensemen take longer to develop so it is not uncommon for unknown prospects to make their mark at an older age. Corbett's development will continue in the AHL next year in an Avalanche organization that while not terrible among blueline prospects does not possess a lot of quality talent. And while the defense corps on the main roster have gotten the job done this year, they possess journeymen that individually are replaceable. This gives the likes of Corbett a decent opportunity to climb the ladder in the coming years. It will take a couple years but he could provide decent secondary scoring to your lineup.
Kevin Czuczman (D - New York Islanders)
Contract: Unknown / 2 years
Czuczman signed with the Islanders after a successful campaign with Lake Superior State University. The physical defender is going straight to the NHL and could make his debut Friday. In multi-category leagues that count hits and PIM there is a good chance that he produces right out of the gate. Whatever offensive potential that he possesses will likely not show itself for a few years and in any event will not be Czuczman's strongest asset.
The unknown cap hit is a concern with regards to how much value he can bring to your squad. Considering that there was demand for his services, there is a chance that his contract is on the more expensive side. As an example of a similar two-way free agent defensive prospect, Danny Dekeyser signed last spring at a cap hit of $1.35 million.
Kurtis Gabriel (F - Minnesota)
Contract: $666,667 / 3 years
Drafted: 81st overall in 2013
Gabriel is a big physical winger with a good work ethic. Currently enjoying the best year of his junior career, the 20-year-old is showing that he might offer a bit of offensive potential that might help him get over the hump into the NHL one day. Even if all goes well, he will never be a big scorer in the NHL. Rather, his ability to throw his body around while being involved in the occasional fight will be what appeals most to fantasy owners. At this point Gabriel does not appear to be NHL-ready but if he continues to work hard he could force his way onto the Wild roster and could offer a bit of immediate production from the fourth line.
Barclay Goodrow (F - San Jose)
Contract: $626,667 / 3 years
Goodrow is a good two-way forward with some offensive ability and a physical game. His abilities make him appealing in all formats but in points-only settings he will likely take longer to become valuable and has less upside. Multi-category leagues will be his calling card as Goodrow's owner will benefit from all of his talents. On a talented Sharks club it will be tough to find a spot in the top-six for the foreseeable future which will limit his overall effectiveness but could become a fixture in the bottom-six before his entry-level deal expires.
Yanni Gourde (F - Tampa Bay)
Contract: $587,500 / 2 years
Gourde is an undersized but talented forward recently signed by Tampa Bay as a free agent after making some noise on San Jose's farm team under an AHL contract. While his size makes him hit-or-miss, any 22-year-old that scores at a point-per-game clip in the AHL should be on your radar.
The biggest problem with the Gourde signing is the depth in the Lightning organization. He will be competing with a number of high-level prospects which could prove to be an insurmountable task. Still, the talent is there and in deeper leagues you have to take chances. This one could pan out for you.
Ryan Haggerty (F - New York Rangers)
Contract: Unknown / 3 years
Like Czuczman, Haggerty appears to be heading straight to the NHL and will burn the first year of his three-year entry-level pact. The 21-year-old has decent size and good scoring ability including 28 in 35 games at the college level this year.
Also, like Czuczman, Haggerty's unknown cap hit makes it difficult to gauge his immediate value while he is not established yet at the NHL level. He was in high demand which could mean a large cap hit. Nevertheless, he is a good prospect to own with some short-term value as well as some long-term upside.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (F - Washington)
Contract: $1,750,000 / 2 years
The wait is finally over. Kuznetsov has arrived in North America and has already gotten his feet wet in two games with the Capitals. The highly-talented forward possesses a ton of upside in pools that favor offensive categories.
Unfortunately, now may not be the best time to move Kuznetsov to your main roster unless you are in a deep league. With his more expensive cap hit and a limited amount of time for him to make an immediate impact, it is possible that he disappoints this year. Instead, look for Kuznetsov to be a bigger threat next year when he will have more time to get into the flow of things and get used to the NHL game.
Zack Mitchell (F - Minnesota)
Contract: $615,000 / 3 years
Already 21 years old, Zack Mitchell is having a strong finish to his OHL career with the Guelph Storm. He brings some offensive ability to the table and is also sound in the defensive zone. If he ever has fantasy value it will be in leagues that focus on offensive categories. The lack of an edge could ultimately hurt his chances in Minnesota due to the organization's abundance of offensively-gifted players at the NHL level and in their prospect ranks. He may have to toil in the minors for a few years like current Wild player Justin Fontaine.
Previously in Capped: