Finding Value in the Sporting News Salary Cap Hockey Challenge

Updated: September 28, 2009 at 1:33 am by Matt Bennett

In Sporting News Salary Cap Hockey, you (the team owner) get an allotted bankroll and can then buy players to fill positions on their team (based on player values erik-cole2determined by Sporting News). A player’s value goes up (and down) during the season based on performance, thus increasing (decreasing) the amount of bankroll the owner has available to buy and sell players. The best point producers are who you would expect, Ovechkin, Crosby, etc. but their points come at a high price. If any of the top players struggle, their player values decrease and can severely hurt a team’s value. If an owner finds a great pick at a lower price, team value can increase at a more rapid rate. Here I’m taking a look at some of the best buy-low, sell-high candidates to increase team value rapidly.

Erik Cole, $2.82M – Cole had 15 points in 17 games after returning to Carolina after a dismal stint in Edmonton. Cole really seemed to click with Eric Staal at the end of the year and has already recorded 2 points in 2 preseason games.  He could give your team a quick boost in to kick off the season.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, $2.49M – With Christian Ehrhoff and his 42 points headed to Vancouver, the door is now wide open for Vlasic. San Jose coach Todd McLellan likes puck-moving, offensive defensemen and Vlasic fits that bill. Look for Vlasic to build off of his career-high 36 points and 21 powerplay points from 2008-09. 

Tomas Kaberle, $1.42M – Kaberle has historically been a 50+ point producer on the Toronto blueline; however, last year he put up only 31 points in 57 games.  Look for Kaberle to return to his regular form and rack up more points and plus-minus thanks to a revamped Leafs lineup.

james-nealJames Neal, $1.15M – Neal had a rookie campaign highlighted by 24 goals in 77 games playing alongside Mike Modano. This season he’s going to be lining up with Loui Eriksson and Brad Richards and is going to be a legitimate scoring threat.

Claude Giroux, $0.70M – Giroux is going to be spending significant playing time with Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere, of whom he showed excellent chemistry with late last season.  Giroux put up 27 points in 42 regular season games last season and 5 points in 6 playoff games.  Expectations are for Giroux to put up a 60-70 point season this year and could be a steal at this price.

Francois Beauchemin, $0.54M – Beauchemin has racked up 6 points in 5 preseason games and could carry this hot streak over into the regular season.  Beauchemin should play at least 20 mins per game as a member of Toronto’s revamped top-4 defensive core and powerplay unit.  Don’t look for Beauchemin to stay hot for the whole season though.

Ville Leino, $0.50M – Leino put up 9 points in 13 games last year and was a highly touted player waiting to come up in Detroit’s farm system.  Leino will have a full-time role with the team this year playing on a line with Valtteri Filppula and possibly the second powerplay unit.  Detroit will be looking at Leino to fill in the holes from Detroit’s offseason departures and expect the former SM-liiga (Finland) MVP to come up big.

steve_sullivanSteve Sullivan, $0.50M – Sullivan returned last season after a 153 game absence after suffering a near career-ending back injury.  However, when Sullivan returned, he resembled his old self putting up 32 points in 41 games.  This season, Sullivan will be skating on the Predators’ top line with Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont, and powerplays, giving him a lot of opportunities to rack up points.  Last season, Sullivan averaged 28.8 Sporting News Points (SNP) per game.  For reference, Anze Kopitar and Jason Pominville also averaged 28.8 SNP per game.  If Sullivan stays healthy (he just tweaked his groin in the preseason), then he gives maybe the best chance to rack up points for the lowest cost.

Erik Johnson, $0.50M – Johnson, a first overall draft pick in 2006, missed all of last season with a knee injury after posting 33 points in 69 games in his rookie season.  Johnson has racked up 5 points in 5 preseason games for the Blues.

Did you find some other solid buy-low candidates?  Respond to the article below!

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Matt Bennett is an original DailyFaceoff.com co-Founder. Feel free to reach Bennett directly @bennettdf.
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