SemyonVarlamov

 

What does Semyon Varlamov's contract extension mean for his cap league value?

 

Olympic hockey is now in the elimination rounds which is dominating the hockey chatter in all circles. However, unless you are tracking injuries, there is very little news relevant to fantasy hockey. With that in mind, today we will take a step back and analyze some of the latest contract extensions signed by NHL players. Since these contracts only take effect next season they do not have any effect on one-year leagues but are very significant in keeper leagues.


Kris Russell (CGY) - $2,600,000 / 2 years

 

Kris Russell is enjoying the most productive year of his career as he is currently in a three-way tie for second among Flames' defensemen with 20 points in 44 games. His 23:28 average ice time per contest, third on the team, show that he is certainly being leaned on to play big minutes in Calgary. His play earned him a new two-year contract extension.

 

Obviously the biggest problem with Russell is injuries, including 14 games missed this year. This is mainly a concern in leagues with a short bench which could leave you scrambling on the waiver wire for help if he goes down. But if you can work around the risk he will certainly be given every opportunity to produce, especially with a lack of NHL-ready blueliners in the pipeline.

 

As far as cap leagues go, is Russell worth his new cap hit? In order to investigate deeper, we will look at a sample of defensemen already signed for next year at a similar cap hit:

 

Name

Age

Team

Cap Hit

GP

PTS

PTS/82

Clitsome, Grant »

28

WPG

$2,066,667

32

12

31

Brodie, T.J. »

23

CGY

$2,125,000

58

20

28

Leopold, Jordan »

33

STL

$2,250,000

24

6

21

Kindl, Jakub »

27

DET

$2,400,000

50

11

18

Russell, Kris »

27

CGY

$2,600,000

44

20

37

Spurgeon, Jared »

24

MIN

$2,666,667

45

15

27

Leddy, Nick »

22

CHI

$2,700,000

60

23

31

Sekera, Andrej »

27

CAR

$2,750,000

55

32

48

Greene, Andy »

31

NJD

$3,000,000

59

24

33

Gunnarsson, Carl »

27

TOR

$3,150,000

59

11

15

 

capped pic 3

 

For what Russell brings, you cannot complain about the new cap hit. With the cap ceiling set to go back above $70 million this summer there are going to be some nasty surprises among your team's defensemen that are up for a new contract. If you need an inexpensive 30-40-point defenseman (depending on health) Russell could be helpful to your squad.


Semyon Varlamov (COL) - $5,900,000 / 5 years

 

When Semyon Varlamov signed his new five-year contract extension, the reaction of many is that the cap hit is inflated. At first glance, the money does appear to be a bit much. But when looking at other goaltenders in the same pay range, things look a lot different. Here is a list of goaltenders with a cap hit within $1 million of Varlamov's:

 

Name

Age

Team

Cap Hit

Fleury, M. »

29

PIT

$5,000,000

Howard, Jimmy »

29

DET

$5,291,667

Luongo, Roberto »

34

VAN

$5,333,333

Bobrovsky, Sergei »

25

CLB

$5,625,000

Smith, Mike »

31

PHX

$5,666,667

Quick, Jonathan »

28

LAK

$5,800,000

Lehtonen, Kari »

30

DAL

$5,900,000

Varlamov, Semyon »

25

COL

$5,900,000

Crawford, Corey »

29

CHI

$6,000,000

Ward, Cam »

29

CAR

$6,300,000

Price, Carey »

26

MTL

$6,500,000


One thing that stands out in this group of netminders is that all of them have had their share of ups and downs as fantasy contributors. But they have also enjoyed their share of successes. Varlamov himself currently sits third with 28 wins and eighth (according to Yahoo) in save percentage. Aside from last year when the Avalanche were a mess, he has maintained a good save percentage throughout his career.

 

While Varlamov's new cap hit might be a tough pill to swallow, it is simply the price of doing business. He is a talented young goaltender that has come a long way in terms of proving himself as a number-one goalie. Over the last three seasons he has started 68% of games, an average of 56 starts per 82 games.

 

The fact is that goalies that win their crease eventually get paid and Varlamov has done that in Colorado. He cannot be considered overpaid when comparing him to others in his pay range. Unless you get lucky and land one of the few bargain established goalies like Antti Niemi or take a chance to re-create this year's Jonathan Bernier or Ben Bishop, you are going to have to pay to get value out of your crease position. Varlamov, while not a bargain by any means, should not be avoided.


Mark Fistric (ANH) - $1,266,667 / 3 years

 

Another defenseman in a long line of cap-effective rugged blueliners, Fistric is an underrated fantasy contributor that is effective in PIM, hits and blocked shots. After serving much of the early portion of the season as a healthy scratch, he has found a more consistent role with the Ducks where he has been racking up hits at a rate higher than any other defender. Here is a list of the top rearguards in hits per game:

 

 Name

Team

GP

Hits

Hits/GP

 Mark Fistric

ANA

29

130

4.48

 Radko Gudas

TAM

53

201

3.79

 Cody Franson

TOR

58

212

3.66

 Luca Sbisa

ANA

14

51

3.64

 Mark Fraser

EDM

23

78

3.39

 Alexei Emelin

MON

37

125

3.38

 Matt Greene

LOS

31

104

3.35

 Mike Weber

BUF

43

143

3.33


As you can see, Fistric leads the pack by a wide margin. Add in 20 hits and 38 blocked shots over those 29 contests and you have a nice combination of three categories. However, Fistric has his share of weaknesses as a player.

 

The most important of Fistric's drawbacks is that he offers very little in terms of offense, as evidenced by his career-high total of just 10 points back in 2010. He is not much of a shooter either, hitting the net just 181 times over his 311-game career.

 

Beyond that, as mentioned earlier, there is the problem that Fistric spends a lot of time in the press box (see game log here). In addition to several capable bodies already in the mix, the Ducks have a pair of rookies in Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen pushing to make the jump full-time. So while Fistric has a three-year extension in hand, he will probably be in and out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, diminishing his fantasy effectiveness to deeper leagues only.

 

Previously in Capped:

 

Cap League Strategy During the Olympic Break

Finding New Cost-Effective Multi-Category Studs

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