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Free Agent Frenzy Fantasy Impact (Offseason Update for Week 3)

by chewy 12. July 2013 06:30

This past Friday was one of the busiest days in NHL history in terms of significant transactions, rivaling the best trade deadline days in recent memory.  It started at the noon buzzer and ran straight through the evening.  Many of the deals will have little to no fantasy impact (see Anaheim signing Nolan Yonkman for more); however, many of the deals will play into your draft prep later this summer.  Here are the moves this week (mostly from July 5) that you need to be aware of before heading to the draft table, ranked roughly in terms of fantasy impact.

(Note: Players re-signing with their current teams are not included here)

 

 

BIG DEALS

 

Bobby Ryan Traded to Ottawa

Though technically not a free agent signing, this move was the biggest of the day.  This deal will have fantasy implications for years to come, particularly on the Anaheim side.  But in the near term, this deal is all about Bobby Ryan landing in Ottawa.  He will automatically slide in as the #1 LW for the Sens, reserving a spot with Spezza (when healthy) or Turris (when not).  Mr. Ryan has to this point left us wanting more from a fantasy perspective.  The highlight reels would suggest that his point totals should be higher.  Perhaps the change in scenery will give him the boost to return to 30 goal scorer status.  He's declined over the last 2 seasons, so this may be the jump he needs.

 

Ray Emery (PHI)

On the surface, seeing the Flyers bring the goalie of the year into town, particularly one who has followed such a rocky road throughout his career, doesn't seem like much.  But don't be fooled.  This may ultimately be the most significant move of the off-season.  Yes, I just typed that.  Consider this:  had the Flyers received above-average goaltending over the past two seasons, the could have written a significantly different history.  This is a good team with bad goaltending.  Emery has proven over the past few seasons that he is a good soldier, and a very good goaltender.  What he needs is opportunity and good health.  The Flyers gave him the first piece.  If he can keep the doctor away, we may have a serious value pick with Emery.

 

Nathan Horton (COB)

Another headline move, Horton brings his tremendous talent (and history of injuries)  to the rising Jackets.  Question his motives if you like, but this feels like a nice fit.  The Jackets (and you, if you draft him) will have to wait a few months for his services, but once he arrives, he should bolster a team that may be fantasy relevant for the first time ever.

 

Jarome Iginla (BOS)

If you're a Bruins fan, this move happened just a couple months too late.  Iginla was never proper utilized in Pittsburgh, being forced into the off wing.  His time (and results) with the Pens could have been so much more.  Too many cooks, or something like that.  He's coming into a situation in Boston with a sudden need for a first or second line Right Winger to play with top notch talent at center and LW.  This should be a perfect fit and the opportunity Iginla needed to revive his fantasy status.  Look for a bump in numbers.

 

 

 

MID-RANGE DEALS

 

Valtteri Filppula (TB)

Apparently Stevie Yzerman saw enough of Filppula during their brief overlap in Detroit to convince him to pay the money Detroit wasn't willing to dish out.  With Lecavalier sliding out, Filppula defaults into the #2 center role.  A slight increase in playing time may be a bonus for a player who has been a marginal fanstasy factor throughout his career.

 

Mike Ribeiro (PHO)

Ribeiro benefitted from his surroundings in Washington, more than he will in Phoenix.  Expect a  "dive" in his points.  (Sorry, I will always see this punk as the league's top diver).

 

Pierre-Marc Bouchard (NYI)

This was another under-the-radar move that may ultimately play out into a major factor in the upcoming season.  Bouchard has occasionally shown flashes of really-goodness during his time with the Wild.  He joins a crew of fast, gifted skaters who are given the freedom to be creative, which suits his game better than the Minnesota system.  Look for Bouchard's stock to rise in fantasy circles next season.

 

David Clarkson (TOR)

Clarkson was a big signing for the Leafs, but like most analysts, I tend to think he was overpaid in dollars and term.  This will ultimately haunt Toronto in a few years.  As for next season, Clarkson should benefit from the move to Toronto.  The top 6 talent in Toronto is fairly stronger than the group he left in Jersey.

 

Derek Roy (STL)

This signing came a day or two late and was largely ignored.  But don't count Roy out just yet.  He's capable of a point a game production, and St. Louis is in need of a playmaker like him at the center position.  While he's been around seemingly for ever, he just turned 30 in May.  There is still plenty of offensive tread on these tires and should surprise many with a solid fantasy season for the Blues this year.

 

Stephen Weiss (DET)

The other new face in Detroit, (see below), may finally emerge as a legit fantasy option.  Fans who followed hockey in Miami know that Weiss is a talented player who had very little talent to help boost his production.  A few powerplay minutes a game with Datsyuk may be enough to re-introduce this first round draft pick to the hockey community.  Expect career numbers for Weiss with his new squad.

 

 

 

SMALL POTATOES

 

Daniel Alfredsson (DET)

Yes, it was big news in terms of legacy and hurt feelings.  If you're drafting a roster based on such emotions, you're on the wrong website.  Alfredsson's experiment in Detroit will be fun to watch, but it will barely register in fantasy hockey circles.

 

Viktor Stalberg (NAS)

Stalberg was somewhat trapped on the depth chart in Chicago, having to play behind Kane and Hossa on the right side.  The move to Nashville at least opens to door to more minutes and more opportunity.  He's one of the fastest skaters in the league and should see his stock rise this season.

 

Michael Ryder (NJ)

Ryder is donning his fourth different jersey in four seasons.  And all he's done at each stop is score goals.  He will be counted on to fill the void left by Clarkson.  At 33 years old, he probably has one or two solid chances at 30 goals seasons left in the tank.

 

Anton Khudobin (CAR)

The relevance of this moves is dependent upon the health of Mr. Cam Ward.  Ward is the undisputed man in net for the Canes.  Should he return fully healed of his knee ailments, he will dominate the crease minutes, leaving Khudobin in the same situation he left in Boston.  However, if the injury woes persist for Ward, Khudobin is a fine plan B that Carolina has traditionally lacked.  If the cards fall his way, Khudobin could be a sweet sleeper option.

 

 

 

NOTABLY MENTIONS

 

Ilya Kovalchuk Flees to KHL

Talk about screwing the Devils.  They signed this guy to a monster deal and so couldn't afford Parise or Clarkson.  He leaves after free agency, leaving New Jersey with nothing.  This move effectively makes New Jersey a fantasy hockey graveyard.  I can't see a single Devil being drafted in fantasy hockey next season.

 

Alexander Burmistrov (WPG) off to KHL

So much talent that never seemed to click in the NHL.  Burmistrov provided some top notch highlights, but just not enough of them.  If you're preparing for your KHL fantasy hockey draft, take note.  Otherwise, get your pen out and cross him off your cheatsheet now.

 

 

What's To Come

 

While most of the news has already been written, there are a few names of fantasy note still sitting without a contract for next season.  Here are the most intriguing to watch over the coming weeks:

 

  • Jaromir Jagr -- while the goals refused to come, he showed he is still a top playmaker at age 41
  • Mikhail Grabovski -- despite the potty-mouth and insubordination, he can score points.
  • Ryan Whitney -- maybe someday that potential will be realized. 
  • Tim Thomas -- this guy has to come back.  Somebody please sign Tim Thomas.
  • Ilya Bryzgalov -- this story is not over yet.

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