Who are some of the league's best high-end cap bargains?


Last week we looked at the most cap-efficient point producers according to Cap Geek's Bargain Hunter feature. The importance of owning such players is obvious. There are simply not enough dollars available in most salary cap leagues to own every star player that you can acquire. Some of your roster spots will have to go to cheaper and generally less productive players. Finding a fantasy relevant player to occupy such a roster position instead of a mediocre producer can go a long way towards winning your league's championship.


However, if you simply own all of the league's best dollar-per-point players chances are you will not have enough firepower to win it all. Rather, these bargain players with cap hits close to the league minimum produce great number relative to others in their salary range. You will almost never find star-level producers at the bottom of the pay scale.


Thus, your team will be carried by more expensive star players that will be complemented by cheaper alternatives to make it all work. But even at the higher end of the player hierarchy there are players who can be considered cap bargains. Their cost is rarely minimal but is often a few million dollars less than similar-ranked counterparts. These players, like any other cheap player, are important to own because the money you save allows you the opportunity to allocate more money elsewhere on your roster.


Using the same Bargain Hunter feature we will look at the five players on this list (100 in total) who have the most total points so far this year prior to Wednesday night's games. 


These players offer a good combination of point-scoring ability and a low cost to own them. To avoid being repetitive, we will skip over Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and Alexander Steen who fit the criteria for this article but appear in Dobber's article about surprise top NHL scorers over at The Hockey News. Instead, we will cover Logan Couture, Matt Duchene, Nazem Kadri, Radim Vrbata and Tomas Hertl.












Couture, Logan »










Duchene, Matt »










Kadri, Nazem »










Vrbata, Radim »










Hertl, Tomas »










Logan Couture (San Jose)


Couture is quickly becoming an NHL star and starting next year he will be paid like one. That is when his new contract with a cap hit of $6 million kicks in. This should not scare away keeper-league owners though. He is well worth the money. Rather, the new deal should just force you to do a bit of early planning to ensure that you can handle his new cost when the time comes.


In the meantime Couture offers one of the best combinations of points and cheapness. His cap hit is barely above the league average and his production in any league is only a step down from the elite class of players. In multi-category leagues it gets even better because Couture also offers great totals in power play points, faceoff wins and percentage, shots on goal and shot blocking.

Matt Duchene (Colorado)


Like Couture, Duchene also has a new contract which begins next season at a cap hit of $6 million. He is also a young star that deserves the investment in keeper leagues. Aside from one subpar season Duchene has been a high-level producer in the NHL. His stock took a hit during the lean years in Colorado but the negativity was taken too far by some poolies which allowed for some smart buy-low trades. 


His 56 points over his last 58 contests is proof that those who own Duchene are getting elite-level production.

Nazem Kadri (Toronto)


Kadri's bridge contract is proving to be a major asset for those who own him in any fantasy league. There was a lot of debate about various aspects of Kadri's game and whether or not he deserved a better contract but statistically he has been producing like a star. He has 56 points in 61 games since becoming a full-time NHL player at the start of last year.


Kadri's strong numbers extend well beyond his point totals. He also offers strong numbers in hits, blocked shots and faceoff wins along with respectable totals in PIM, power-play points and shots on goal. As an added bonus, those who own him in a keeper league get to enjoy one more year at a cap-bargain cost before he is expected to cash in on a big contract.

Radim Vrbata (Phoenix)


One of the best-kept secrets in fantasy hockey despite being around since 2001, Vrbata has quietly had a very productive NHL career and has been excellent in recent years. 


This year is no different as Vrbata has caught fire out of the gate with 12 points in his first 13 contests. In terms of value per dollar he has been excellent over the life of his current contract, a three-year pact with a cap hit of $3 million, with 102 points in 124 total games. 


He is set to become a free agent this summer which could earn him a big raise but in the meantime he remains an excellent cap bargain.

Tomas Hertl (San Jose)


Many of the top prospects sign entry-level deals that carry a large cap hit which makes it difficult for owners to integrate them into their lineup as they get their feet wet in the NHL. That is not the case for Hertl, drafted 17th in 2012. His minuscule cap hit of $1.35 million greatly reduces the risk of using him as a rookie.


Hertl has hit a wall after starting his NHL career red-hot but streaky play is a common thing among NHL players. The key is that his ice time has remained steady and he has constantly been deployed on the power play. He is extremely talented and should have enough in him to be a serious contender for the Calder trophy.

Previously in Capped:


Best Bang for the Buck

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