Coyle, Nyquist, and Bourdon - three players who could help you win your keeper league.
A popular team-building philosophy in capped keeper leagues is to combine star players who are usually expensive with cheap effective depth options to help keep the roster under the league’s cap ceiling. The stars are easy to identify. We know who they are and most of them have a proven track record of high-level production. It is the cap bargains that are more difficult to find and to make matters worse it is not uncommon for cheap players who are effective in one scoring format to not be worth owning in another league. Some additional research is required to figure out which players will help your team the most in your environment.
This week we continue look at a series of players who are good inexpensive investments in keeper leagues in both points-only and multi-category formats. Factors used to select the players include long-term upside and an ability and opportunity to produce immediately along with a multi-year contract with cap hit that is well below the league’s average. These players may or may not be easy to acquire in your league but there is tremendous value in owning them.
Note: Since we are profiling players who should be effective immediately, these players also apply as solid options in one-year leagues.
Gustav Nyquist (DET)
Gustav Nyquist recently re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings for two years. The cap hit of less than $1 million is significant because he is ready to be a full-time contributor at the NHL level. He had a stellar college career and has been above the point-per-game mark for two straight years with Grand Rapids of the AHL. Simply put, he has nothing left to prove at the lower levels.
The one hurdle left for him to overcome is the abundance of forwards signed to one-way contracts in Detroit. Still, his offensive abilities should be a welcome addition to a club that did not score a lot of goals last year. Meanwhile, forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson have a tendency to miss large chunks of games to injury and Darren Helm may not even be ready for the start of the season. So regardless of the numbers there should be plenty of space for Nyquist.
If he is able to play the full season in a favorable role, he should be good for no less than 40 points. Long-term he should eclipse the 60-point mark regularly. For a prospect he is a very safe player to own.
Charlie Coyle (MIN)
Charlie Coyle quietly had a strong rookie campaign with the Minnesota Wild after the lockout ended. He amassed 14 points in 37 games along with 28 PIM, 50 hits and 50 shots on goal. None of those numbers stand out individually but collectively they make him a nice fantasy contributor already. And he is only getting started.
In Coyle’s case, opportunity, one of the most important factors in determining fantasy success, will not be an issue. He was already getting 15 minutes of ice time per contest last year and the Wild lack scoring depth up front. At the moment there the quality minutes are his to lose.
Coyle has big-time potential but may be several years away from putting up any big offensive numbers. In the meantime, the fact that he is already good enough to be owned in most multi-category leagues makes him a very valuable asset to own. Any modest improvements made during the next two years will only add to the value you are getting for less than $1 million.
Marc-Andre Bourdon (PHI)
Unlike Nyquist and Coyle, Marc-Andre Bourdon is anything but a safe prospect at this point. He missed most of last year due to a concussion and probably missed his best chance to win a full-time spot with the Philadelphia Flyers. He still has not received medical clearance but appears to be on the right track to make a comeback.
Fantasy owners need to realize his potential as a multi-category defenseman. Back in 2011-12 he played 45 games with the Flyers and collected seven points, 52 PIM, 73 hits, 77 blocked shots and 45 shots on goal. These contributions were significant for such a bargain price.
In addition to the physical play, Bourdon also has some offensive ability that he showed in junior hockey. During his last two years in the QMJHL he hovered around the point-per-game mark. This has not yet translated in pro hockey but sometimes defensemen take a while to put it all together. Even though he will never challenge for a scoring title it is worth noting that he is more talented than the typical bottom-pairing shutdown defenseman.
Unfortunately, opportunity will be a problem. The Flyers have eight other defensemen signed to one-way contracts. The team can get full cap savings if they waive and demote Bourdon. This may be the best course for him personally as he gets his hockey career back on track in a lower-pressure environment. He may not be worth owning now, but keep an eye on him because if he wins an NHL job he will be productive immediately.
Previously from Daoust: