GabrielBourque


This week we take a look at a couple of affordable players whose cheap salaries are not all they are made out to be.

 

Anyone with experience in cap leagues knows the value of players that can provide valuable numbers at a low cost. These bargains are rarely of the star variety. Rather, they are usually guys that occupy secondary roles yet still play key roles for their NHL teams. In deeper leagues the players considered cost-effective extend to bottom-six players that have a salary near the league minimum.

 

While some bottom-six players provide an outstanding bang for the buck in fantasy leagues, their minimal cap hit along with their lower placement on the depth chart does present an added risk. Gabriel Bourque and Richard Clune of the Nashville Predators are two examples of cheap players who are perceived as effective depth players in deep cap leagues who have seen their ice time decline this year.

 

Today we will look at some factors influencing this outcome and the importance of assessing these factor when evaluating cap bargains in the future.

 

The 2012-13 campaign provided both Bourque and Clune with breakout performances that saw them each earn two-year contract extensions at an insignificant cap hit. Bourque provided excellent secondary scoring with 11 goals in 34 games. Clune, on the other hand, finished in the top 10 in both hits and PIM.

 

This year both have suffered from seeing fewer minutes on the ice and their fantasy numbers have suffered as a result. The biggest factor in their decline in ice time comes as a result of the team signing a slew of free agents this summer including Eric Nystrom, Matt Cullen, Viktor Stalberg and Matt Hendricks. All four earned big paychecks which means that they will have opportunities to produce. As it turns out, the new arrivals have had a negative impact on ice time for Bourque and Clune.

 

Gabriel Bourque

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

HIT

BLK

PPP

SHP

SOG

TOI

2012-13

34

11

5

16

6

4

39

23

3

1

50

15:49

2013-14

18

3

3

6

-2

2

13

3

0

0

29

13:41


After being quietly effective in a depth role for the Predators last year, Bourque's numbers have disappeared across the board. Not only is his scoring pace down, but his peripheral stats have suffered even more. He has been much better of late with three points in his last three games since missing a contest for the birth of his child. While Bourque should be able to produce another respectable season he will not be able to get back to his numbers from a year ago without seeing his ice time get back to the 15-minute mark.

 

Richard Clune

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

HIT

BLK

PPP

SHP

SOG

TOI

2012-13

47

4

5

9

3

113

159

6

0

0

46

9:24

2013-14

12

0

0

0

-5

52

31

1

0

0

3

8:00


In Clune's case, the hits and PIM are not a concern at this time. After posting nine points and 46 shots, both respectable totals for a fighter, he is down to no points and just three shots. Needless to say, the offensive side of Clune's game has disappeared.

 

Simply put, the added depth in the lineup has taken away any scoring opportunities that Clune once received. Not only is the ice time down but he has also served as a healthy scratch six times after missing just one game last year. He remains a valuable player because of his excellent contributions in two categories but the fact that he is a total liability elsewhere hurts his overall value significantly.


Money talks

 

In the end, salaries do matter when it comes to opportunity. Teams do not invest big money into players that they do not plan to use in important roles. In the case of the Predators, they did not sign Nystrom, Cullen, Stalberg and Hendricks with plans to have them sit on the bench. While the new additions have improved the team's depth up front, this has had a negative impact on Bourque and Clune, both in terms of ice time and production.

 

Star players clearly have the golden boy status on their respective clubs. Cap bargains are usually at the opposite end of the spectrum. Their lower salaries and secondary roles can result in fewer opportunities being available. It is far easier to put a minimum salary in the press box as a healthy scratch than it is to put last summer's big money signing up there.

 

When evaluating a cap bargain player, it is important to evaluate his position on his team's depth chart and the quality of the depth around him. New acquisitions can have a very negative impact on his future production. Take an extra peek at the depth charts to figure out which players are in a good position to contribute and which ones are in danger of playing fewer minutes or sitting out often. Bourque and Clune are examples of players who are offering less than expected to their fantasy owners. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for.


Previously in Capped:

 

Penguins for Pennies

Early Season Albatross Contracts


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