Money talks. At least that seems to be the case for a lot of NHL players when they put up career numbers. The narrative always comes up as: “Watch out for Player X as it’s his contract year.” The reality is, this is a true statement. We recently just saw David Pastrnak put up monster numbers last year during his contract year. He is only one example of many who elevated their play to cash in. Therefore, when it comes to fantasy hockey, it might be worth picking up some players who are trying to get a big raise. Below are some suggestions as to who to target in your draft, or through trades.
Elias Lindholm – CGY
Elias Lindholm had an off-year last year (as did all of the Calgary Flames), and it is reported that he is looking for a massive payday, requesting between $8–9M AAV. Lindholm has finally been placed on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau and looks like he is bound to have a bounce-back season. For the number one centre on a team with one of the best playmakers in the league that is trying to get back into the playoffs, Lindholm might be a player worth buying low on.
Elias Petterson – VAN
Elias Petterson is going to have a monster year. He already broke out scoring 102 points last season, and I expect him to match that, and possibly even have a new career high. Petterson is an elite talent and will be looking to sign a massive contract in the near future. I personally think Petterson is the best player to add to your team out of all the names I have listed in this post. Look for Petterson to score 40+ goals, and to pass the century mark for points again this year.
William Nylander – TOR
When the Leafs are mentioned, it seems the first two names that people think of are Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. To be fair, both are very talented players. But I truly do not think William Nylander gets enough respect. Nylander scored at an over a point-per-game pace last year, and after signing a six-year deal that looks to be a discount now, Nylander will absolutely be looking for a big raise this offseason—especially when Marner and Matthews will be making $24.15M collectively. I would not be surprised to see Nylander flirt with the century mark in points this year.
Tyler Bertuzzi – TOR
Another Leaf is added to this list, and there are really two reasons for this. The first reason is that right now Tyler Bertuzzi is skating with Matthews and Marner. There is a massive opportunity for him to have a jump in production just by that alone. But also, Bertuzzi signed a one-year deal this past summer for $5.5M. I doubt that Bertuzzi would be willing to sign for such a short term again. This looks like a classic “show me” contract, and it is very likely that Bertuzzi will take good advantage of this opportunity.
Tyler Toffoli – NJD
This pick might be a little bit of a gamble, as Tyler Toffoli‘s shooting percentage last year may be unsustainable. However, Toffoli is currently skating with Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt and he is also on the first power play unit. If Toffoli wants to take advantage of what may be his last chance at a longer-term big payday, there are not many better teams to be on. Toffoli has a great chance to match his production from last year but with better players and a better team.
Other honourable mentions
Value picks who are motivated with reasons beyond scoring
Every year, there are players who produce at a high level when they are up for a contract extension. The names on this list feature some elite talents, and if you’re lucky enough to grab some of them for your fantasy team, consider yourself in a good spot.
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