Fantasy Hockey Scouts: Free Agent Fallout 2011 Day 1

Here at FHS we won't be looking into if the signings were a good or bad move (this year they were pretty much all bad, btw) we're more interested in what the fantasy impact on the signee will be. Remember we're looking at what this move does to their fantasy value and whether they make a good target on draft day.

Let's get to it...

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Tomas Kopecky went from Chicago to Florida - $12 million over 4 years
Kopecky doubled his career high last year with 42 points.  He was getting some time on scoring lines and even had the 7th most PP time on the Hawks but he's really a third line player.  We're not sure where he's going to fit in Florida as they have about 12 third line players now.  Looking at who they signed we would say Kopecky will have a very tough time cracking the top six and the third line in Florda is not a good place for fantasy value... DOWNTICK
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Tomas Fleischmann went from Colorado to Florida - $18 million over 4 years
He's put up two pretty decent partial seasons (.74 ppg in 2009-10 and .69 last year).  The stat I love the most is his 21 points in 22 games playing top line minutes with some talented linemates in Colorado... great sign of potential.  He can play center and left winger so David Booth and Stephen Weiss should keep him off the top line.  He'll still get plenty of opportunities but it just won't be with the kind of quality linemates he had in Colorado or Washington.  We're so disappointed he didn't end up in a better situation he would have been a great sleeper pick... DOWNTICK

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No Change

Michal Handzus went from Los Angeles to San Jose - $5 million over 2 years
We're not going to talk about every signing in this post, just the fantasy relevant ones.  So why does Handzus make the cut?  Because we're pretty certain that Joe Pavelski will get himself back on the 2ndUp Arrow line after this move and that's great news for Little Joe.  He had an impressive .89 ppg last season with a good chunk of time on the checking line so Pavelski could see a nice bump by playing the whole year with Ryane Clowe and Logan CoutureMichal Handzus... NO CHANGE.  Joe Pavelski... UPTICK. 

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No Change

Eric Belanger went from Phoenix to Edmonton - $5.25 million over 3 years
If you're looking for a 3rd line center to pick up 40 points look no further than Eric Belanger.  The last six seasons he's picked up 37, 35, 37, 36 and 41 points last year.  The consistency is great but it's not helping your fantasy team.  Many are praising the Oilers for this move, but don't go thinking he's anything more than he is.  No reason to think anything will change in Alberta.... NO CHANGE

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Up ArrowJaromir Jagr went from the KHL to Philadelphia - $3.3 million over 1 year
He's doesn't have the strongest competition at RW (Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds) so he'll have to stink it up pretty badly to lose a job to the right of either Danny Briere or Claude Giroux.  We don't see Jagr topping 50 points but who knows with this guy.  I get the feeling he's been on holidays the last three years and can turn it on anytime he wants (see: Olympics).  Even though there is some upside here, we're passing.  All the press he's picked up this summer means he'll no doubt get overvalued on draft day.  Let some other owner take the risk on this 39 year old... UPTICK

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Michael Ryder went from Boston to Dalls - $7 million over 2 years
After three seasons over 55 points Ryder was looking like a pretty decent source of fantasy value.  The four seasons that followed changed all that... 31, 53, 33 and 41 points last year.  He wasn't getting the quality minutes in Boston but we'd expect that fat contract of his to ensure him a spot on the 2nd line with Mike Ribeiro in Dallas.  There are worst spots to be in.  We don't like this guy but he should top 40 this year with an outside shot of 50+.... SLIGHT UPTICK

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Scottie Upshall went from Columbus to Florida - $14 million over 4 years
He'll get you some shots and PIM's but just can't seem to contribute enough to make him a valuable fantasy asset.  He doesn't have much competition for the RW job on the 1st line (Evgeni Dadonov and Sean Bergenheim) so there's a good chance at some more TOI and even PP time.  We wouldn't go crazy here, but hoping for a small increase seems reasonable.... VERY SLIGHT UPTICK

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Steve Sullivan went from Nashville to Pittsburgh - $1.5 million for 1 year
Four years ago, Sully was a point-a-game player.  Buckets of injuries make those numbers seem like a distant memory but all hope is not lost.  He'll be playing (when healthy) with either Evgeni Malkin (when healthy) or Sidney Crosby (when healthy).  A lot of potential but, as you probably already figured out, a lot of risk too.  He'll make a great flyer and his value definitely increases as he moves out of defense first Nashville... UPTICK

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Joel Ward went from Nashville to Washington - $12 million over 4 years
Loved watching Ward in this year's playoffs but don't get caught up in the hype.  There's a reason he didn't make the NHL till he was 27 and that reason is he doesn't put up big numbers.  We're assuming he'll be patrolling the third line (although he's only a Mikle Knuble injury away from moving up) but we don't see him getting any PP time (he averaged 1:30 with Nashville last season) and his job description with the Caps won't contain any words that rhyme with schmoffense... SLIGHT DOWNTICK

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No Change

Radim Vrbata stayed with Phoenix - $9 million over 3 years
Compared to what other players pulled in yesterday this deal looks like a bit of a bargain.......um.......did we just write that $3 million for Vrbats is a bargain?  wtf, is that how far things have gone?  Anyway, he'll continue to be a relatively cheap source of shots, power play points and goals.  There are worse picks in deep leagues but we wouldn't recommend you expect anything more than 20-25 goals and 40 something points from him.... NO CHANGE

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Matt D`Agostini stayed with St. Louis - $3.3 million over 2 years
Talk about a breakout.  D`Agostini went from four points in 47 games to 46 in 82 last year.  He was rewarded as the Blues gave him 300% raise.  Not too shabby.  He'll have a tough time repeating his numbers with a healthy T.J. Oshie and Chris Stewart around.... SLIGHT DOWNTICK

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Mike Knuble stayed with Washington - $2.8 million over 1 year
He turned 39 this week so eventually that old frame is going to break down.  The Caps are hoping he's got one more good year left but that might be a big ask.  Last year's 40 points were his lowest total since 2001-02.  If he can stay healthy and hold off Joel Ward for the 2nd line RW job then another 40 point season could be in the cards.  We wouldn't count on much more though.... SLIGHT DOWNTICK

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Erik Cole went from Carolina to Montreal - $18 million over four years
Cole cashed in a big way.  He was pretty good last year (52 points / 49 PIM's) but has been ineffective and/or injured for a good chunk of the last three years.  He'll have to beat our Andrei Kostitsyn for a scoring line job... which shouldn't be too hard since this is Andrei Kostitsyn we're talking about.  So expect him to play with Max Pacioretty and Scott Gomez.  Better than Eric Staal or Jeff Skinner?  No, but it could have been worse.  We're still left pondering... big money to a player with a inconsistent past playing in front of the Montreal fans and media?  Sounds like a potential disaster to us.  We'd suggest you pass on draft day but at least draft him expecting no more than 50 points should keep things in check... SLIGHT DOWNTICK

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Alexei Ponikarovsky went from Los Angeles to Carolina - $1.5 million for 1 year
Last year (15 points in 61 games) was an unmitigated disaster... no doubt about that.  But he had two 50+ point seasons in a row. before last year, so there is some potential here.  He could end up on Eric Staal's line if he can pass Tuomo Ruutu and Chad LaRose on the depth charts and then if things fall right he could get back up to the 60 point mark like he did in 2008-09.  It's a long shot but he'll be way down on cheat sheets and might make a good late round flyer in very deep leagues... UPTICK

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Andrew Brunette went from Minnesota to Chicago - $2 million for 1 year
I love this move for Brunette's value.  He goes from the 26th best offense in the league to the 4th.  Gotta love that.  He should have some good linemates too.  Not sure how things will shake out yet but he'll be playing with two of Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane.  No offence to Mikko Koivu but that's an upgrade in our eyes... BIG UPTICK

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Ville Leino went from Philadelphia to Buffalo - $27 million over 6 years
In our eyes this was the worst deal of the day.  It's a lot of dollars to pay a player with only one decent NHL season.  The weirdest thing is that the Sabres already have two RW's that are arguably better than Leino: Jason Pominville and Drew Stafford (although both are injury prone).  The big piece they are missing up front is a 2nd (or 1st) line center.  Why not use these bucks better?  If he beats out Stafford and Pommer for the top line job with Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy and if he shows the same kind of chemisty he had with Daniel Briere and Scott Hartnell then he could post another 50-60 point season.... but that's a lot of 'ifs'.  Maybe we're wrong but we can't see how Leino ends up better than last season and we definitely can't see him being worth the money.... DOWNTICK

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No Change

Sean Bergenheim went from Tampa Bay to Florida - $11 million over 4 years
This is more of a warning than anything else.  When guys like Bergenheim have a big post season many remember the 11 points in 16 playoffs game on draft day instead of the 29 points in 80 games he had in the regular season.  By the way those 29 points were a career high.  He might even end up on a scoring line (which says a lot about how badly Florida will still be) and should crack 30 points for the first time in his career but that doesn't mean he's worthy of your fantasy attention... NO CHANGE

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No Change

Marco Sturm went from Washington to Vancouver - $2.25 million for 1 year
In his prime he was a 50-something point guy.  A guy like that would look pretty good on Vancouver's second line.  Unfortunately, Sturm is not that guy anymore.  He played at a 37 point pace split between L.A. and Washington and is coming back from, not one, but two ACL operations.  We doubt he'll ever be able to find the speed that he has flashed in the past and will end up tolling about on the 3rd or 4th line.... NO CHANGE

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No Change

Steve Montador went from Buffalo to Chicago - $11 million for 4 years
The Sabres wanted to upgrade their D and Montador was the one to go.  He's actually be pretty solid the last few years and there's every reason to think that he'll keep that going in Chicago.  He's had four straight years over 21 points, 75 PIM's and 100 shots.  He had no PP time in Buffalo and that's not likely to change but he's an decent option for your last D spot in deeper leagues... NO CHANGE

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No Change

Joni Pitkanen stayed with the Hurricanes - $13.5 million over 4 years
Pitkanen is solid if not spectacular on the blue line.  He'll get you a few shots and PIM's and flirt with 40 points.  He re-ups with the Canes so you should be expecting the same this coming season... NO CHANGE

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Sheldon Souray went from Edmonton to Dallas - $1.65 million for 1 year
Remember when the Stars used to have to use somebody not really suited for the job to be their PP QB.  Now they have Alex Goligoski and Souray on their #1 unit.  We all think of the 13 points and -19 he put up in his last NHL season (37 games) but he had a big 53 point / 98 PIM / 268 shot season the year before that.  He'll be 35 by the time the season starts and might be a bit rusty but there is a lot of upside here.  Don't get caught up in the hype but try to get him on the cheap.  He won't hit 53 again but a 30 point d-man with solid PIM and shot numbers is worth a lot.... BIG UPTICK

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Cam Barker went from Minnesota to Edmonton - $2.25 million for 1 year
Many scoffed at Steve Tambellini giving Barker a bag of cash after only scoring five points last year.  Being the fantasy focused guys were are we looked past the ridiculous price tag the Oilers paid and saw something else.  Foster had a ton of PP minutes (2nd on team to Whitney) and the large majority of those should go to Barker.  Those five points will keep him nice and low on draft lists but lining up on the #1 PP could push him over 30 points... BIG UPTICK

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Kurtis Foster traded from Edmonton to Anaheim
We predicted Foster's breakout with the Bolts two years ago and also predicted his flame out with Oilers last year.  So lots of pressure to get this one right.  He definitely can't be as bad as last year (22 points and a -12) but we also can't see him getting anywhere near what he did in Tampa (42 points).  He's stuck behind Cam Fowler and Lubomir Visnovsky so the best he can hope to see is 2nd unit PP duty.  Don't expect a lot this year (maybe 25-30 points) but he should still improve on last year... SLIGHT UPTICK 

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Roman Hamrlik went from Montreal to Washington - $7 million over 2 years
He picked up 34 points last year, but 15 of them were on the PP where he played 2:33 / game.  We don't think he'll approach those numbers in Washington.  The Caps play their forwards more often with the man advantage and The Hammer also has Mike Green, Dennis Wideman and John Carlson ahead of him on the PP depth charts.  Draft him expecting a season similar to what he did two years ago in Montreal (6+20=26, 56 PIM's, 100 shots) and you won't be disappointed... SLIGHT DOWNTICK

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James Wisniewski went from Montreal to Columbus - $33 million over 6 years
After hearing all the moaning and groaning of the guys at TSN and the NHL Network about this contract we were getting the feeling that maybe people don't value The Wiz as much as we do.  We've been fans ever since he was a Blackhawk.  Last year things clicked and he picked up 51 points which was good enough for fifth in the league (even though he missed seven games).  Don't know if he'll be able to pick up 50 points with Columbus but 45 seems pretty reasonable to us.  A Columbus power play with Rick Nash, Jeff Carter and Wisniewski is the best they've ever seen in Ohio.  Don't forget he was playing at a 54 point with the Islanders last year and the Jackets are a bit better than them.... SLIGHT DOWNTICK

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No Change

Andy Greene stayed with New Jersey - TBD over 4 years
He had 23 points and a -23 last year but had 37 the year before that.  So which Greene do we get this season?  We're guessing the 23 point version as his ppg's for the three seasons prior were .26, .17, .18.  The one big shining light for Greene is that the Devils still don't have a true PP QB.  They'll probably roll five forwards out there most of the time but if they change things up Greene is one of the better options to take the QB job (which should be scary for Devil fans)... NO CHANGE

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No Change

Ed Jovanovski went from Phoenix to Florida - $16.5 million over 4 years
A lot of money for a guy that's getting old (35) and brittle (played 50 and 66 games the last two years). His ppg's have been dropping the last six years (.75, .54, .64, .44, .52 and .28 last year).  Signing him for a year or two might not be a bad risk to take but four years is insane.  Jovo will probably flirt with 30 points if he can stay healthy all year but that's a huge if.  You might want to take a flyer on him as your last d-man but you better have a good backup... NO CHANGE

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Sami Salo stayed with Vancouver - $2 million for 1 year
Yeah Salo is ridiculously injury prone and yeah he had the worst ppg (.27) of his career but there is a lot to like with Salo coming back to the Canucks.  We're assuming he'll come cheap deep leagues and if the stars align he's got 40 point potential.  Maybe worth the risk?  Alexander Edler will be the PP QB but somebody has to step up and fill Ehrhoff's shoes... Salo is the guy the Canucks are hoping for.  He'll get lots of opportunityl so if you feel lucky roll the dice on Salo but make sure you have a good backup plan... SLIGHT UPTICK

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Phew... we're a bit burnt out after that... so we hope you understand if we cover the goalie signings from Day #1 in tomorrow's Free Agent Fallout Post.  We hope you can wait that long to see what we think of Brian Boucher joining the Hurricanes.

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