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Posted - 02/28/2014 :  10:14:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The five worst contracts in salary cap leagues.

A lot of time is spent discussing cap bargains. We want to find inexpensive talent that can produce as much or more than their more expensive peers. After all, the team that gets the most out of its cap-compliant roster is the one that wins the championship.

But what about the other end of the spectrum? Every year there are players that earn a big salary and offer next to nothing to their fantasy owners. Their contributions may be enough to keep their head above water in a non-cap league but with the added finances they actually have a negative impact.

Here are the five fantasy-relevant forwards (30+ GP) who are at the bottom of the mountain in terms of bang for the buck this season:

David Clarkson
The Maple Leafs' prized acquisition has failed to live up to expectations in the first season of his seven-year pact. Missing 12 games to suspension and nine to injury certainly does not help but regardless his 10 points in 39 contests is simply not good enough.

Clarkson has much more appeal in multi-category leagues where his 55 PIM, 116 hits and 75 shots are good totals. Unfortunately, multi-category leagues allow many cap bargains to become valuable. With that in mind, Clarkson is a very questionable investment in those leagues as well unless he completely turns the corner offensively. There are simply too many cheaper players available that produce similar numbers.

Brooks Laich
Once a very competent scorer, Laich has been in decline since achieving 59 points back in 2010. He has hit rock bottom with just 13 points in 53 games since the end of the lockout. Additionally, his peripheral stats are down across the board despite still averaging 17 minute on the ice per game.

Whether or not Laich can return to respectable totals remains to be seen. In fantasy leagues, the key is assessing risk and reward. You can roll the dice that he can return to 40 points with good peripherals, but at $4.5 million the gamble could be costly. You will probably have more success staying away from Laich in favor of a cheaper alternative. Use the savings to upgrade your roster elsewhere.

Ville Leino
By now it should be common knowledge that Leino is not a good investment in fantasy leagues with a salary cap. Aside from his 53-point campaign that earned him his inflated contract, he has never scored more than 25 points in a season. Beyond that, he offers next to nothing in peripheral categories.

Even with all of this known, it is not uncommon for someone to grab him in a medium-to-deep league hoping to re-create some of the magic that happened in Philadelphia. Those that took a chance on him this year have been rewarded with no goals, 10 assists and a minus-10 rating in 39 games. Simply awful.

Bryan Bickell
While not being as bad as Leino this year as an all-around fantasy contributor, Bickell is not far behind. After a dream playoff stretch earned him a large contract, he was expected to line up in the Hawks' top-six and provide some size and physical play alongside their skilled offensive leaders. Instead, Bickell has failed to live up to the expectations and his average ice time down to 11:20 - his lowest since becoming a full-time NHLer.

In fantasy hockey there is no reason to consider owning Bickell and his cap hit. He has never scored more than 37 points in any season and his only noteworthy categories are hits and shots. This is yet another example of the small sample of playoff hockey being misleading in terms of fantasy value.

Ryan Malone
Once an excellent producer in multi-category leagues, Malone has settled into a depth role in Tampa Bay. His 12 points in 42 games are down significantly from the days where he could be relied upon for 20 goals and 40 points year in and year out. Malone's peripheral stats are still present but much like in Clarkson's case there are simply too many players out there that can bring the physical stuff at a lowered cost.

Keep an eye on Malone over the next year as his current contract ends after the 2014-15 campaign. At 34 years of age it is unlikely that he will have an offensive resurgence, which will probably force him to take a pay cut. In multi-category leagues this could make Malone a bargain player that can help your team until he hangs up his skates.

Written by Eric Daoust of

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