Fantasy spin on all the massive free-agent signings


Now that the mud has settled on a frenzied stretch of free-agent signings and regular flurry of offseason trades, let’s take a preliminary view of some new faces in new locations by the fantasy-focussed lens. With the goalie carousel working full-tilt in overdrive this week, that is a great place to start out.

For a extra complete tour of free-agent signings and different transactions, take a look at ESPN’s full protection right here. And keep tuned for extra in-depth fantasy content material within the coming weeks.


Philipp Grubauer, G, Seattle Kraken: Transfer over Chris Driedger, the Kraken have settled on one other No. 1 netminder altogether. After backstopping the Avalanche to the second most wins in 2020-21 and placing himself into the Vezina dialog, Grubauer selected to desert a legit Stanley Cup contender for Seattle’s model new franchise. And whereas there’s attraction in taking up the problem of constructing from the bottom up, his fantasy inventory goes to tumble. After profitable 77% of the video games he began for Colorado in 2020-21, Grubauer is not inching anyplace close to that quantity in his new digs. Whereas the membership is constructed defensively strong – they will be robust to attain towards – there is not sufficient prowess when it comes to placing the puck within the web. Some recommend the Kraken are a playoff bubble group as at the moment assembled. I am not satisfied. And that bumps Grubauer properly out of the fantasy top-15 bubble. He’ll play lots however the victories will not come typically sufficient.

Frederik Andersen, G, Carolina Hurricanes: He is wholesome and out from underneath the blinding highlight in Toronto. For these causes alone, Andersen is once more value critical fantasy consideration as a No. 1 netminder. It is a good Hurricanes group with one of many higher defensive corps within the league (they will miss Dougie Hamilton’s puck-moving abilities however will profit from the additions of Ethan Bear and Ian Cole). Slated to play much more than backup Antti Raanta (additionally new), Andersen goes to cease a bunch of pucks and win a bunch video games. This previous season was anomalously injury-riddled and peculiar. Disregard it.

Petr Mrazek, G, Toronto Maple Leafs: The previous Carolina/Detroit netminder inherits Andersen’s former position in working in tandem with Jack Campbell in Toronto. It takes a particular particular person to resist the ridiculous stress of serving as a Maple Leaf. (I stay right here. It is dumb. Belief me.) I am unsure if Mrazek is that particular person or not. Campbell appears to handle properly sufficient. So, between the 2 I’ve extra religion within the man who stood on his head carrying the Blue and White, and endured the media consideration, simply months in the past. Till one in every of them runs with the gig, which is not out of the query. I am altogether trying elsewhere on fantasy draft day although, not less than till later rounds.

Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Detroit Pink Wings: It is a robust one. Small pattern dimension, positive, however Nedeljkovic nonetheless presents as a gifted and expert NHL goaltender able to shouldering a heavy workload. No 20-plus gamer bettered his league-leading 1.90 GAA and .932 SV% for Carolina in 2020-21. However the rebuilding Pink Wings stay a methods from profitable extra video games than they lose. Thomas Greiss ain’t no slouch both and he solely received eight of 34 appearances this previous season. Anybody beginning in Detroit’s crease must be prevented in fantasy leagues the place victories carry important weight. For now.

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Chicago Blackhawks: If he would not retire, the reigning Vezina winner will function the on a regular basis beginning netminder for an improved (now together with Seth Jones and many others.) Chicago membership. However after getting the impolite and sudden boot from Vegas, the 36-year-old might very properly resolve to hold up the pads. Fellow Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen might be extra involved in how this performs out than anybody else. Keep tuned.

Elsewhere: Darcy Kuemper is the brand new beginning goalie for the Colorado Avalanche, which is nice for invested dynasty managers. The previous Coyote is a bona fide top-tier fantasy netminder. … Carter Hutton takes over the gig in Arizona which sports activities considerably much less fantasy promise. … At current, freshly-signed Linus Ullmark is the beginning netminder for the Boston Bruins, with Jeremy Swayman pegged as backup. No less than till Tuukka Rask returns midway by the season for one final kick on the Stanley Cup can. No assure that is the way it performs out however the risk tarnishes Ullmark’s fantasy worth to a level. … Jaroslav Halak is totally able to stealing begins from Thatcher Demko in Vancouver if the latter struggles in any respect. Halak was terrific his two earlier seasons in Boston earlier than taking a small step again earlier this yr. He is additionally confirmed himself with 4 different NHL groups relationship again to 2006. … James Reimer is incomes one other go in San Jose after glowing in solely eight video games again in 2016. Speak about your fantasy wildcards. We’ll lastly discover out if Martin Jones was actually dangerous or extra a sufferer of the collective out entrance of the crease. … Talking of which, Jones is positioned to function backup to starter Carter Hart – who’s because of rebound robustly in 2021-22. … David Rittich is inked to again up Juuse Saros in Nashville, which might matter if Saros stumbles.


Zach Hyman, F, Edmonton Oilers: The beloved ex-Leaf tallied 70 factors in 94 video games over the previous two seasons, 36 of them targets, largely enjoying on Auston Matthews’ wing. Now Hyman is about to earn a shot at becoming a member of a line with Connor McDavid, hardly a demotion within the NHL’s grand scheme. If all goes properly – and the Oilers are betting $38.5 million over the following seven years it i=””> – the heavy-playing, gritty ahead ought to get pleasure from the very best manufacturing numbers of his profession. Particularly if he will get a activate the highest powerplay unit within the league. Do not rule it out. And if not, the perennially underrated fantasy asset will nonetheless steadily function a reliable scoring commodity in deeper leagues.

Jaden Schwartz, F, Seattle Kraken: In any other case assembled as a tough-to-play towards consortium missing apparent productive flash, the Kraken now have somebody to attain! That is essential. Perpetually tucked on a Blues’ squad riddled in depth, Schwartz by no means achieved his full perceived potential of hitting the 30-goal or level/sport mark (regardless of coming considerably shut). However many are satisfied he has it in him and now will get to shine as the man. The Kraken aren’t going to attain a ton of their inaugural season, however on a prime line and energy play with Jordan Eberle and both Yanni Gourde or fellow signee Alex Wennberg – who might additionally use one other recent begin – Schwartz will get pleasure from his wholesome share. The 29-year-old presents as a potential mid-round steal in most fantasy drafts.

Sam Reinhart, F, Florida Panthers: I like this transfer loads for the Panthers, Reinhart’s invested keeper-league managers, and the participant himself. Traded from the Sabres to Florida, Reinhart may very well be on the cusp of a profession yr, whether or not he skates on a line with Aleksander Barkov or Jonathan Huberdeau. Reinhart scored 25 targets and 15 assists with an uninspired Buffalo squad this previous disastrous season. Think about what he might do, in his prime at 25 years outdated, with a much-improved supporting solid. Thirty targets and 40 assists, simple.

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Mike Hoffman, F, Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens have a brand new top-scoring winger within the former Senator/Panther (let’s neglect for now concerning the current flip in St. Louis the place issues did not jive as properly) to fill in on their No. 1 line and energy play. Rating sixth in power-play manufacturing with 35 factors solely two years, Hoffman will make Montreal’s prime unit – together with Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, and defenseman Jeff Petry – higher throughout. I would prefer to see him line up with Jonathan Drouin at even-strength, however we’ll see how coach Dominique Ducharme shuffles our bodies round in coaching camp. At his best, Hoffman is a 70-point producer paying out additional fantasy dividends in leagues that reward manufacturing with the additional skater.

Cam Atkinson, F, Philadelphia Flyers: It will likely be fascinating to see the place the long-time Blue Jacket in the end lands within the Flyers’ lineup, however throughout the top-six is almost a given. And having fun with these high quality minutes with a membership extra susceptible to scoring than the one he left in Columbus – 3.10 targets/sport over the previous two seasons versus 2.49 – together with a spot on the ability play, Atkinson ought to once more flirt with the 30-goal mark (the 41 scored in 2018-19 is an excessive amount of for the asking). Having fallen off many a fantasy radar up to now two years, this man ought to function a later-round steal amongst managers who aren’t paying shut consideration. Particularly in leagues that reward targets at premium.

Conor Garland/Oliver Ekman-Larsson, F/D, Vancouver Canucks: Acquired through Arizona commerce with Ekman-Larsson, Garland tasks to fit in on both wing adjoining middle Bo Horvat – and even prime pivot Elias Pettersson if Brock Boeser or J.T. Miller fall harm) – to launch his new professional chapter. On a productive incline since his NHL debut in 2018-19, the Massachusetts native averaged 0.8 factors/sport this previous season, the very best charge of all Coyotes. Garland might mildly enhance on that charge alongside such a constant presence like Horvat, who will duly profit from his new linemate’s firm. Ekman-Larsson is slated for second-pair/secondary power-play responsibility behind Quinn Hughes and must be counted on for 35-40 factors in a full 82-game marketing campaign. Nonetheless fantasy-worthy in most leagues.

Elsewhere: Former Montreal middle Phillip Danault drops off the fantasy panorama in leaving his top-line gig for a depth position in Los Angeles. He will not rating a lot enjoying behind Anze Kopitar, Quinton Byfield, Gabriel Vilardi, and many others. Nice signing for the Kings although. … Search for Evgenii Dadonov to battle for a top-six position in Vegas and look out if he succeeds. Dadonov potted 70 factors in Florida not way back in 2018-19. Nolan Patrick can be incomes a recent begin with the Golden Knights. … As regards to clear slates, Viktor Arvidsson will get one in Los Angeles and I am curious to see the place he slides into the lineup. In contrast to Danault, he might skate within the top-six. After a collection of profitable campaigns in Nashville, his manufacturing dried proper up these previous two seasons. … Pavel Buchnevich ought to close to the 65-point mark as a top-six ahead in St. Louis. His 48 factors in 54 video games with the Rangers was no fluke. … Winger Jakub Voracek is again in Columbus which ought to lead to a minor drop in private manufacturing. … If the Bruins do not re-sign David Krejci, beginner Nick Foligno might function their second-line middle. … Brandon Saad might function a modest fantasy asset in a top-six position with the Blues, if that is the way it shakes out. Nevertheless — working scorching sizzling or icy chilly — the perennially inconsistent winger has but to crack the 60-point mark. Look elsewhere until he unexpectedly steals a super-juicy position in camp.


Dougie Hamilton, D, New Jersey Devils: Hamilton goes to shoot a ton and put up factors wherever he performs – that is not my greatest fantasy-related takeaway with this signing. That he’ll make a awful New Jersey energy play – together with forwards Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes – higher is what pursuits me most. Hamilton tied Vincent Trocheck and Sebastian Aho for many power-play factors with 18 in 2020-21. The puck-moving D-man may even present an throughout scoring increase at even-strength. Dynasty managers invested in any Devils forwards must be proud of this signing.

Seth Jones, D, Chicago Blackhawks: One of many league’s greatest all-around blueliners most lately completed fourth in scoring on a Blue Jackets group that ranked twenty ninth within the league general. Now he will get to share the ice at even-strength and with the additional skater with the likes of Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. Search for Jones to complete as excessive as Prime-10 in blue-line scoring this season whereas averaging greater than 25 minutes/sport. There aren’t too many defensemen I would choose earlier than the brand new member of the Blackhawks this fantasy marketing campaign.

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Shayne Gostisbehere, D, Arizona Coyotes: Needing a recent begin, Gostisbehere is popping the web page after six full seasons in Philadelphia. In his prime at 28, the offensive-minded defenseman is tasked in Arizona with transferring the puck and producing scoring from the again finish. After a horrendous injury-riddled marketing campaign in 2019-20, Gostisbehere regarded extra himself this pandemic-shortened season. The 65-point displaying from three years in the past is not to be seen once more, however a completely respectable 40-point marketing campaign is properly inside attain. With a great variety of factors approaching the ability play. Draft him accordingly.

Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers’ blue line has a daring new look, because of trades for Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen, and the signing of Keith Yandle. Of the three newbies, the previous long-time Predator appeals most, fantasy-wise, as projected top-pair companion to Ivan Provorov and participant on the ability play. Nevertheless, although Provorov and Ellis current as strong A and B choices ought to Philly proceed to roll out the 4-1 meeting with the additional skater, Ristolainen cannot be dominated out for the gig both. The ex-Sabre was a strong 40-plus-point producer up till two seasons in the past. Take a look at the way it all unfolds in camp. Additionally, be sure that Ellis – who has been racked by quite a lot of accidents lately – is feeling wholesome and match.

Ryan Suter, D, Dallas Stars: Whereas the veteran defenseman is sure to pot factors as top-pair companion to Miro Heiskanen his productive ceiling is in any other case restricted. Suter’s finer fantasy days are behind him because the Stars have Heiskanen and John Klingberg to run their energy play. At this stage, the profession 600-plus-point blueliner solely deserves rostering in deeper typical fantasy leagues.

Elsewhere: Veteran Alex Edler might earn a sniff of power-play time in L.A. behind Drew Doughty, rendering the veteran barely beneficial in super-deep fantasy competitors. … Fellow greybeard Alex Goligoski is perhaps value monitoring, relying on how he matches into Minnesota’s scheme. A top-four position alongside Jared Spurgeon and excursions on a secondary energy play might lead to a good variety of factors. However I am not satisfied the particular groups’ position is in play with Spurgeon and Matt Dumba on scene.

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