Fantasy Hockey Scouts: Free Agent Fallout 2011 Day 2

Ian White can stop worrying about Draper and start worrying about a career year.

Just like yesterday, we'll take a stab at the predicting the fantasy worthy signings and trades of the day.  We're not focusing on if it was a good or bad deal for the team but on whether that players' fantasy value goes up or down.

Yesterday I got a bit backlogged (thanks Dale Tallon!) and I didn't get through all the tenders that signed, so I'll start with them and move on to the Day 2 signings.

Down Arrow

Peter Budaj went from Colorado to Montreal - $2.3 million over 2 years
He's been the #1 in three different seasons but did average to terrible in those three seasons.  Last year, Price played in 72 games and, while he might not hit that number this year, Budaj shouldn't get more than 15 or 20 games.  So even thought his sv% and gaa should be stronger on the Habs he won't get the playing time... BIG DOWNTICK

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Down Arrow

Brian Elliott went from Colorado to St. Louis - $1.2 million over 2 years
Elliott was a decent goalie in 2009-10 (29 wins, 2.57 gaa and a .909 sv% in 55 games) but the wheels really fell off this season.  He played 55 games (just like last year) but had only 15 wins and his averages were much worse.  In St. Louis, he's behind a definite #1 in Jaroslav Halak but will also need to hold off 24-year-old Ben Bishop (who's coming off a solid season in the AHL) for the #2 job.  I'm not sure he'll be able to do that.  If that wasn't enough, don't forget about 20-year-old Jake Allen who is a big prospect in the system and just completed his first AHL season... BIG DOWNTICK

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Down Arrow

Mathieu Garon went from Columbus to Tampa Bay - $2.6 million for 2 years
Columbus was 11th best in the league in terms of shots against so the fact that Garon's numbers (2.72 gaa and .901 sv%) are so average is a bit worrying.  He's not a good goalie (career #'s of 2.82 and .904) and he'll continue to be not very good in TB... $1.3 million is a lot to pay a mediocre backup especially when Roloson is a freak who never gets injured. Roloson is getting old though, so Garon could sneak into a few extra games, but I can't see him playing in ~35 like he has the last two years in Columbus.  Better team, better defense but less PT... SLIGHT DOWNTICK

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Down Arrow

Josh Harding staying with Minnesota - $0.7 million for 1 year
I was really hoping Harding would get his chance to show his stuff in a new locale.  The Minnesota 'D' allowed the 25th most shots in the league last year... and now they don't have Brent Burns.  The first 29 games of his career were fantastic, the next 25 were pretty ordinary.  He's no sure thing but I think there's some potential here.  I just don't think it will ever be realized in Minnesota.... DOWNTICK

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Up ArrowJose Theodore went from Minnesota to Florida - $3 million for 2 years
Last year Theodore didn't have a job until Oct 2nd.  So he goes from the bottom of the FA heap to the third highest paid goalie signed (so far) all because of a medocre 15 win, 2.71 gaa and .916 sv% season?  That doesn't make sense but with Dale Tallon calling the shots things rarely do.   Minnesota's defense was just as bad as Florida's last year (although they did add Jovanovski and Campbell for what it's worth) so I wouldn't expect him to get much better in the sunshine state.  He's likely been handed the #1 job (which is insane) so he gets the automatic uptick, but I wouldn't be counting on a great fantasy season from Jose... UPTICK

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Up ArrowMark Dekanich went from Nashville to Columbus - TBD for 1 year
Dekanich is a nice little pickup by the Jackets.  He's a 25-year-old and just came off a monster AHL season (23 wins, 2.02 gaa and .931 sv%).  I'm a bit surprised the Jackets didn't throw a bit of money at somebody with a bigger name to backup/mentor Steve Mason but that could be good news for you savvy fantasy owners.  Dekanich has a one-way deal so he's in the NHL for good and it's not like he has Patrick Roy playing in front of him.... Mason has two straight seasons with ~22 wins, 3.05 gaa and a .901 sv%.  Great sleeper pick... BIG UPTICK

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No Change

Alex Auld went from Montreal to Ottawa - $1 million for 1 year
He's an average backup goalie and Ottawa and Montreal have pretty similar numbers in shots against (31.2 vs 31.0).  He's gone from backing up Carey Price to Craig Anderson and that's an upgrade but a pretty minimal one.  Expect about 20 games for Auld... NO CHANGE

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No Change

Johan Hedberg stayed with New Jersey - $1.25 million for 1 year
Hedberg is one of the best backups out there and by re-signing with NJ he also gives the Devils the oldest set of tenders in NHL history (I assume).  If Martin Brodeur gets injured (he's been pretty fragile the last two years) Hedberg could put together a nice season (he had a 2.38 gaa and .912 sv% in 34 games last year).  NJ should be much better this year with a full year of Zach Parise and no John MacLean.... NO CHANGE

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Down Arrow

Brian Boucher went from Philadelphia to Carolina - $1.9 million for 2 years
Boucher was part of the three headed monster in the Philly nets last season so going to a team where he is the definite backup is a big downtick.  Cam Ward played 74 games last year but it's pretty obvious that one of the reasons Boucher was brought in was to take some of the load off.  Expect around 15-20 games for Boosh.... BIG DOWNTICK

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Up ArrowMike Smith went from Tampa Bay to Phoenix - $4 million for 2 years
I'm surprised Smith managed to get as much coin as he did but Phoenix can blame the thin goalie market (although Vokoun's signing makes this sting a lot more).  He's a starter now so it's an automatic uptick but I'm a bit worried about this one.  Smith has been below average for the last two years and Phoenix allowed the 3rd most shots in the NHL last season.  I do love Dave Tippett but he might have his work cut out for him to turn Smith into a quality fantasy netminder.    I'd be talking up his backup if it was anybody other than Jason LaBarbera who was pretty terrible last year.  Alright that's all the bad news.  The good news?  Smith was pretty good after he came back from his knee injury... although it was only five games... UPTICK

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Up ArrowJean-Sebastien Giguere went from Toronto to Colorado - $2.5 million for 2 years
The Avs paid big for Varlamov (see below) so the odds of Giggy being given a legit shot at the #1 job is pretty slim.  He hasn't been great since 2007-08 so chances are he's pretty much done, BUUUUT, if Varlamov gets injured (which is very possible) then Giggy might surprise a few.  He is also pretty injury prone himself (he missed 21 games with various injuries last year) so he's pretty much the furthest thing in the world from a sure thing.  It might be a long shot, however, being the lone backup behind a goalie not known for his health can't be the worst place to be... SLIGHT UPTICK

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Up ArrowSemyon Varlamov traded from Washington to Colorado and signed - $5.5 million for 2 years
He's injury prone (missed 29 games last year) but he's got a lot of potential.  Cam and I were both convinced he would break out this past season with the Caps but those injuries resulted in his teammate Michal Neuvirth getting the breakout instead.  The Avs really overpaid for him but at least they have a 23-year-old talent as their starting tender for the next two years.  Varlamov is a quality goalie but I don't have a lot of faith he'll be able to stay healthy and he's also moving from a great team to a not-so-great team (also dropping from 9th to 23rd in shots allowed).  It's a huge upgrade for Varlamov's value but I wouldn't be expecting a big fantasy season here.  Lots of risk.... UPTICK

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Okay on to Day 2's moves....

No Change

Anthony Stewart went from Atlanta/Winnipeg to Carolina - $1.8 million for 2 years
Stewart kinda broke out last season... he picked up 31 points in 2009-10 and 39 last year in Atlanta.  How is that a breakout?  Well the 31 points were from a full season in the AHL.  Before last year this was a guy you would be happy to get 15 points out of.  So, if everything falls right he might be able to top 40 point but realize there is a real possibility of a complete bust.  He'll probably be lining up on the third line as Carolina has more offensive weapons than Atlanta did... NO CHANGE

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Up ArrowTim Connolly went from Buffalo to Toronto - $9.5 million for 2 years
A pretty good situation for Connolly to end up in as he's the definite #1C and he has least one talented winger to play with in Phil Kessel.  Kessel's value probably increases more than Connolly's does but, of course, the big question is how many games is Connolly going to play this year?  Check out the GP the last five years: 63, 48, 48, 73 and 68 last year.  Brian Burke and Co. should have offered Timbo a per game contract.  Zing.  Just like with any injury prone player (and Connolly fits that bill better than almost anybody) he's a good gamble, just don't depend on him.  Try to draft him late as a backup C and hope he can stay healthy... BIG UPTICK

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Up ArrowSimon Gagne went from Tampa Bay to Los Angeles - $7 million for 2 years
Just like Connolly I think Gagne ended up in a great situation... only problem is how many games is he going to play?  Gagne has only played 25, 79, 58 and 63 games the last four seasons.  His ppg has been a least 0.63 so he's a least a 50 point guy but he's got the potential to put up more than 70 like he did three years ago.  My guess is he'll end up on Mike Richards line with either Dustin Brown or Justin Williams on the other wing and that's some pretty good talent.  Same advice as above... try to draft him late but don't put your fantasy season in his hands... SLIGHT UPTICK

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Up ArrowIan White went from San Jose to Detroit - $5.75 million for 2 years
Probably a bit of an over-payment but White should fit nicely into Detroit's system.  I really like this move for his value.  With Brian Rafalski gone there are a lot of PP minutes up for grabs.  Niklas Kronwall will hope to grab some but White will be 3rd, at worst, on the PP depth charts.  He's a proven 30 point d-man but I'm hopeful that the Detroit system could push him up to 40.  Hopefully he'll slide a bit late in the draft where you can snap him up... BIG UPTICK

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Up ArrowTomas Vokoun went from Florida to Capitals - $1.5 million for 1 year
If you own Vokoun in a keeper league it's been a weird few days for you.  You went from hearing he was going to re-sign in Florida, to Colorado, to nowhere, to signing with the powerhouse Caps (on his birthday no less).  You really have to love this for his value.  I've read a few pieces that he's only a 1A but the Caps would be crazy not to roll the 35-year-old out there as much as possible.  Neuvirth can learn for a year, right?  I'm guessing he gets about 55-60 games and should be able to turn those into 35 wins at least (Neuvirth had 27 in 48 last year).  Nothing but good news here for Vokoun's value... HUGE UPTICK

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... we saved the biggest for last

Up ArrowBrad Richards went from Dallas to New York Rangers - $60 million for 9 years
So the big question... is he going to be able to put up over a point-a-game in NYC?  The Stars finished 17th in scoring and Richards played most of his time with Loui Eriksson.  The Rangers finished 16th (without a real #1C) and Richards is expected to play mostly with Marian Gaborik.  Sounds like an upgrade to me.  Assuming he can stay healthy (which is no guarantee) look for Richards to top 85 points... SLIGHT UPTICK

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