Editors note: would like to welcome Eric Daoust to the fold. Eric will be bringing you his work each Thursday with the 'Capped' series.
Over the next four weeks, we are going to look at some keeper league depth bargains. The idea is to look beyond cheap players who are heading into a contract year because they are likely about to get a bigger contract next summer, thus making them less appealing on the cap. Instead, the focus will be put on players with multiple years left on their current contracts that are cheap, provide good statistics while not being next to impossible to acquire.
When your keeper league team is hovering around the cap ceiling, your team likely includes a few expensive star players who eat up most of your available space. You will be forced to look for cheap bargains to occupy your depth positions. Winning the championship in a capped league is all about getting the most out of your dollars, so you will need to get good value out of your cheap depth guys to push your team over the top. Unfortunately, the pickings are slim. Here are a few forwards that can be inserted into your lineup for dirt cheap and provide good production.
Matt Read (RW – Philadelphia)
900,000 / 2 years
One of the best cap bargains in the entire league, Matt Read came out of nowhere to have a very successful rookie campaign with 47 points in 79 games. Already 26, Read is not your typical rookie. His two-way game is very polished which makes him even more valuable to the Flyers.
Read is a bit of a wildcard in most keeper leagues. He did not get the fanfare of the younger rookies so he is flying a bit under-the-radar. Plus, it is possible that the person owning him in your league does not think a rookie in his mid-20s has much upside beyond where he is right now.
If you can somehow acquire him for a good price, you have to jump at the opportunity. The cap savings over the next two years for a guy that should get 45-55 points will help your team tremendously while allowing for additional spending elsewhere on the roster.
Andrew Shaw (RW – Chicago)
565,000 / 2 years
He is not the most talented player in the world, but Andrew Shaw is a good agitator who fit in nicely in Chicago’s bottom-six last season. Consider his five most frequent line combinations at even strength:
|40.83%||EV||29 BICKELL,BRYAN - 36 BOLLAND,DAVE - 65 SHAW,ANDREW|
|9.27%||EV||81 HOSSA,MARIAN - 16 KRUGER,MARCUS - 65 SHAW,ANDREW|
|5.51%||EV||36 BOLLAND,DAVE - 16 KRUGER,MARCUS - 65 SHAW,ANDREW|
|3.71%||EV||29 BICKELL,BRYAN - 17 MORRISON,BRENDAN - 65 SHAW,ANDREW|
|2.59%||EV||15 BRUNETTE,ANDREW - 67 FROLIK,MICHAEL - 65 SHAW,ANDREW|
Shaw was certainly not given great linemates to work with, but still provided 23 points in 37 games. In a goal-starved NHL, Shaw’s instant offense in limited minutes (15:12) makes him a valued commodity.
For fantasy purposes, what we know is that he is in Chicago to stay. He is a good energy line player and does get some secondary power play time. The Hawks have injury-prone guys like Marian Hossa, and to a lesser extent Patrick Sharp, at the top of the depth chart so there could be opportunities in the top-six at some point. It would not be unreasonable to expect 35-45 points. There is risk, however, as his numbers prior to entering the NHL are very mediocre.
Marcus Foligno (LW – Buffalo)
900,000 / 2 years
Marcus Foligno surprised many when he posted 13 points in 14 games down the stretch for Buffalo. He will most likely not maintain that pace at any point in his career, but where fans think his production will fall makes his value a bit of a mystery.
Like Shaw, Foligno’s junior numbers were not particularly amazing – until his final season in Sudbury where he had 59 points in 46 games. He is progressing nicely and should be a good fit on Buffalo’s second or third line.
If you can get your hands on him for a reasonable price, he will provide good value for the next two seasons with a cap hit of under a million. He should be a good bet for 40 points. Expecting more would be risky because the Sabres lack elite players up front to help boost his numbers.
Mathieu Perreault (C – Washington)
1,050,000 / 2 years
Mathieu Perreault could be the benefactor of some major changes in Washington this offseason, when a new coach was brought in town and the team bid farewell to longtime Cap forward Alexander Semin. Perreault is coming off of a 30-point season in 64 games, which is impressive considering he averaged just 12 minutes in ice time and one minute of power play time. He is in competition with Troy Brouwer and Wojtek Wolski for top-six minutes on the wing, and is clearly the more talented of the bunch.
Perreault’s production last season was on pace for 38 points in 82 games. His ice time can only go up and the same goes with his point total. He should clear 40 points with ease and is a dark horse to top 50 points. That is pretty good value for a million dollars.
Colin Greening (LW - Ottawa)
816,667 / 2 years
After a successful stint with the Senators in 2010-11, Colin Greening followed up with a strong campaign last year putting up 37 points in 82 games. He is also a late-blooming power forward but his fantasy value carries more risk than the other players in this article because of competition from other forwards.
This fall will see the arrival of more highly-hyped prospects Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad, as well as newcomer Guillaume Latendresse. In addition, mainstays Peter Regin and Zack Smith could also cut into Greening’s ice time. To summarize, the Senators have a deep lineup and it will be difficult for Greening to gain favorable opportunities even if the injury bug strikes.
What works in Greening’s favor is that he is versatile, has good size and is a strong two-way player, so he will work his way onto the ice. He should be able to maintain a good scoring pace, but will be in tough to beat his total from last season. In deep leagues, he could still be a valuable asset as his cap hit is well under a million and should be able to put up 35-40 points.
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