Conacher


Over the next several weeks we will look at players who are emerging as excellent cap bargains in the AHL and can potentially help your team in the not-too-distant future. All players profiled will have a cap hit of less than $1 million. The idea is to find players who can help you fit more expensive stars on your roster while not sacrificing anything in terms of production.


Here are six forwards from the Eastern Conference:


Cory Conacher (LW – Tampa Bay)


Cap Hit: $925,000
Years Left: 2


AHL Team: Syracuse
GP: 20
G: 9
A: 10
PTS: 19
PIM: 26


Cory Conacher has been a household name at DobberHockey for quite some time after storming onto the scene in the AHL last year. The league’s reigning MVP and rookie of the year is scoring at a clip just short of his rate a season ago but is nonetheless making progress in his quest to secure a roster spot in Tampa Bay in the near future. The undersized winger has excellent scoring ability in addition to playing a very feisty game which will make him appealing in all league formats. There is room to be promoted on a Lightning team with weak forward depth so Conacher could surprise early.


Beau Bennett (RW – Pittsburgh)


Cap Hit: $900,000
Years Left: 3


AHL Team: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
GP: 20
G: 5
A: 11
PTS: 16
PIM: 6


The leading scorer of his team after 20 games, Beau Bennett has made impressive strides in his first quarter-season as a pro. He is certainly making a case to receive injury call-ups to Pittsburgh once the NHL resumes action.


You may have to be patient with Bennett because he is only 20 and still needs to round out his game. He still has two years left on his entry-level contract beyond this season so you can afford to stash him on a farm roster if you have one. The combination of excellent long-term upside and a cheap contract make him a valuable asset to own.


Ryan Spooner (C – Boston)


Cap Hit: $870,000

Years Left: 3


AHL Team: Providence
GP: 18
G: 5
A: 8
PTS: 13
PIM: 6


Ryan Spooner is a talented yet undersized center who is having a very successful rookie season in Providence where he sits second in scoring with 13 points in 18 games. His best asset is his skating which will serve him well as he eventually transitions to the highest level.


Unfortunately it is difficult to see how he will fit in Boston in the short-term. The team already has a great mix of young and veteran talent but is near the cap ceiling under the old CBA. With contract extensions kicking in for Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand it is possible that the team is forced into making some changes. Promotions could come from within and so far Spooner is positioning himself to be one of the players that could be called upon.


Tyler Johnson (C – Tampa Bay)


Cap Hit: $900,000
Years Left: 2


AHL Team: Syracuse
GP: 20
G: 15
A: 8
PTS: 23
PIM: 16


The player in this article who is having the most impressive campaign is Tyler Johnson, an undersized centerman who is lighting up the lower leagues in a manner similar to David Desharnais. Similar to his teammate Conacher, Johnson has the advantage of weak NHL-level depth in Tampa Bay which will help him secure a roster spot.


However, his centerman label could pose problems. Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier are signed long-term and not going anywhere. With several good wing prospects in the pipeline, it is very possible that Johnson is stuck as the third centerman at the highest level.


Johan Sundstrom (C – NY Islanders)


Cap Hit: $925,000
Years Left: 3


AHL Team: Bridgeport
GP: 20
G: 6
A: 6
PTS: 12
PIM: 8


Johan Sundstrom has to be considered a surprise so far in his first season in North America after playing in the Swedish Elite League last year. His 12 points rank third on the team. He has a very projectable frame and plays a complete game. Things will be getting crowded in terms of prospects trying to secure roster spots on the Islanders’ roster in the coming years but in Sundstrom’s case you have two more years after this one at a bargain rate. His versatility should be helpful in getting a spot on the main roster. From there he has a chance to be a productive fantasy asset.


Jason Akeson (RW – Philadelphia)


Cap Hit: $900,000

Years Left: 2


AHL Team: Adirondack
GP: 6
G: 0
A: 7
PTS: 7
PIM: 0


After leading his AHL club in scoring last year, Jason Akeson found himself down in the ECHL to start this season to make room for a few NHL-level players being sent down during the lockout. He is now back up with Adirondack and has seven assists in six games which already has him ranked fifth among forwards.


Akeson is a bit of a wildcard but has good upside if the stars align. The demotion to the ECHL could be seen as a negative in terms of how much the organization values him but if he continues to produce and earn his minutes he could prove to be a valuable player to own on your farm roster. Besides, the Flyers are wacky on the trade front so you never know when a spot could open up and Akeson finds himself in the NHL. 

 

Previous posts from Eric Daoust:

 


 You can find Eric on Twitter @DH_EricDaoust.


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Comments (2)add comment

ericdaoust said:

ericdaoust
... Thanks Pengwin!

I have several weeks of these articles planned. Not all of these players will pan out, but it's important to look at the minor leagues and see who could be next in line to provide good bang for the buck.
December 06, 2012
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Pengwin7
Excellent One of the best of the last few months!
Well done here!!!
December 06, 2012
Votes: +0
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