Today’s trade question is from Jeremy.
(While Jeremy has provided all of his roster, scoring, and salary cap details, in the interest of space, I only include the key elements)
I recently joined a 16 team salary cap league. This is a long term competitive league that I had to apply and provide references to join. So, I am of the belief the owners are very savvy in this league. As it is my first attempt in a cap league, I would welcome your advice.
We start 4C, 4LW, 4RW, 6D, 2Goalies.
It is a Multi-Cat league including FOW (.25), Takeaways, Giveaways, PM, Hits (.25), Blocks, Goals (3), Assists (2), PPP (1), SOG. There is a buyout penalty and if you cut someone you retain 75% of their salary as a cap hit in year 1, 50% per year thereafter thru the life of the contract. When a player re-signs, you have a choice to release them with no penalty.
I have been offered his Travis Zajac(C) and Mathew Dumba (Min D), and 20th pick at prospect draft this summer for my Martin Hanzal(Pho C) and Anders Nilsson (NYI G). I would really like to get Dumba. This is very tempting, but I am not convinced this is the right move due mostly to the contract of Zajac. What do you think I should do?
Jeremy, First, let me commend your league. Cap leagues, especially with buyout options are very challenging and not everyone has the discipline and dedication to participate competitively and professionally. Kudos to your league for a process that assures new owners are up for the challenge. As far as the trade, I believe your instincts are leading you correctly here. Martin Hanzal has perennially been a very solid producer in multi-cat formats. While I don’t believe he is ever going to be a 70+ point player, he is a sound enough hockey player to produce 40-55 points with any reasonable role. But more importantly, it puts him around the top 25-35 centers in multi-cat formats. In fact in my one multi-cat league he sits right between Paul Stasny and Nazim Kadri in fantasy ppg. With a salary of 3.1M in a really deep multi-cat league, he is a solid bargain and he is signed for 4 years. As far as Zajac goes, his history suggests he has a higher offensive upside than Hanzal. I have not had the luxary to see enough of him play to understand why he has not been able to get back to the 60 point range he did a few years ago. But even if you accept that high side being 65+ points and see it is the reward side of the equation, the risk side is monumental. Zajac is 5.7M and is signed into the next decade well into his 30’s. Should he prove not worthy of that salary, you are staring down that salary or the 50% buyout hit for years. I think that would inhibit your team greatly over the years should Zajac not meet your expectations. Additionally, while the Nilsson part of this deal seems the most nominal, your league uses 2 starting goalies times 16 teams. Thus, goalies are a premium and you wouldn’t want to find yourself without one at some point over the years. I would keep and/or collect as many goalies as you can to give yourself as many chances to keep 2 active goalies ready at all times.
Final Analysis: The salary implications are too severe to justify Dumba’s potential. This was a fair offer from the other owner, but as you noted, a shrewd one. Dumba is a great prospect and will almost certainly be a solid offensive producer some day in the NHL. But my recommendation is to pass on this particular trade and work on Dumba from a different angle. Utilizing Hanzal might be ok at the right price, but get the other owner off of Zajac and on to someone with better risk/reward ratio. I would also recommend you keep Nilsson in the fold. Save for the stretch last year in which he was ill, he has been very good. In my opinion he has transitioned into a buy low candidate.