phil kessel


Is Kessel worth the money in cap leagues?

 

This week the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that Phil Kessel signed a massive contract extension with the team which will last for eight years at a cap hit of $8 million. Ever since then many have been debating whether or not Kessel deserves such a raise. This is bound to continue for the duration of the contract.

 

Instead, let's take a look at Kessel's value in salary cap fantasy hockey leagues under the new agreement. This will allow us to remove the subjective real-life aspect that makes him so polarizing. The numbers will provide a more conclusive answer.

 

In order to evaluate Kessel we will look at his value rank according to Fantasy Hockey Geek in the following formats:

 
  • Points-only
Goals  = 2 points, assists = 1 point
  • Standard Yahoo roto categories (G, A, +/-, PIM, GWG, PPP)
  • UHL head-to-head roto categories (G, A, +/-, PIM, GWG, SOG, PPP, SHP, HITS, BKS, FOW)

 

While Kessel does not match up to the elite players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin, all of which only cost slightly-more than Kessel, that does not mean that the tier beneath the elite is overpaid. It just means that the game's best players happen to be excellent cap bargains. Beyond that, the star players are still worth the money because they produce a ton from a single roster position. The depth position can be occupied by cheaper players to keep the team under the cap ceiling.

For comparison, three similarly-paid wingers will be used: Rick Nash, Zach Parise and Corey Perry. All three are considered top wingers in fantasy hockey and have a history of being productive over multiple seasons. So how does Kessel rank compared to the others?

Phil Kessel (8,000,000)

Format

2011-12

2012-13

Average

Points-only

6

7

7

G=2, A=1

6

7

7

Yahoo Standard

77

21

49

UHL

86

37

62

Rick Nash (7,800,000)

Format

2011-12

2012-13

Average

Points-only

61

27

44

G=2, A=1

47

16

32

Yahoo Standard

159

27

93

UHL

91

23

57

Zach Parise (7,538,462)

Format

2011-12

2012-13

Average

Points-only

22

36

29

G=2, A=1

20

35

28

Yahoo Standard

101

48

75

UHL

15

44

30

Corey Perry (8,625,000)

Format

2011-12

2012-13

Average

Points-only

58

46

52

G=2, A=1

29

44

37

Yahoo Standard

34

16

25

UHL

18

25

22


Plain and simple, Kessel dominates in points-only and goal-heavy pools. There are few who are better in these formats. In leagues that are heavy on offensive contributions he is easily worth his salary and can even be considered a franchise cornerstone. The numbers do not lie.

 

In the roto formats Kessel is not nearly as dominant. His value is hurt by the fact that he is a liability in the hits and PIM categories, not to mention that he has been a on the wrong side of even in plus-minus every year of his career except the 2008-09 campaign.

 

Even though the weaknesses are a factor, Kessel's value is still very good in the multi-category setups. Looking at the last two years, he is clearly more valuable than Nash despite the latter's superior physical game. Perry, the other power forward, is one of the best all-around multi-category producers which puts him ahead of Perry in value.

 

The best roto comparison to Kessel is Parise who has a similar average rank when looking at the last two seasons. The two are different players - Kessel is superior offensively while Parise is more balanced - but the end result is interchangeable value to your squad.

 

While Kessel is not as good of a multi-category scorer as he is in leagues that focus more on goals and assists, his value still holds up next to other top wingers who are in the same cap-hit ballpark. He is not elite in such formats but he still ranks very high and should be considered among the best wingers to own. The new cost does not change that.

 

The debate about whether or not the Leafs should have signed Kessel to this big of a contract will continue for many years. Ultimately the way he is viewed will be tied to the success of the hockey team. But in fantasy hockey there is no debate. Kessel is among the star producers who are worth the hefty investment.

 

Previously in Capped:

 

Last Minute Contract Signings

Star Power in Cap Leagues


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