Two AHL snipers move on... Max getting some nibbles... Langkow still only 60%... Gagne on the block... Glen Sather Orders a Pizza
NEW! The leading goal scorer in the AHL for the past two years, Alexandre Giroux, signed a one-way deal with the Oilers. He's put up some crazy numbers in the A with 139 goals in 181 games (regular & playoffs) over the past two years but couldn't find that form in the NHL with only two goals in 21 games with the Caps over the past two years. He should get a look in training camp with Edmonton but the one-way deal probably doesn't mean much as they'll likely take the hit and send him to Oklahoma City to help their new AHL affiliate... but he's worth keeping an eye on.
NEW! The Penguins signed Brett Sterling to a two-way deal... he's been pretty productive in the AHL, including a 55 goal rookie pro season in 2006/07 but Atlanta only gave him 19 games to show what he can do in the NHL, so he has moved on. He's not likely to be the Penguins answer at wing on their top 2 lines but he's in a much better situation with Pittsburgh than Atlanta so there is some hope.
We haven't heard much about Max Afinogenov during the first few days of free agency but there has been a rumour that the Maple Leafs were interested... regardless, recall that he didn't sign with Atlanta until late September last year and turned that into a surprising 61 point season, so he may take his time.
Flames GM Darryl Sutter said on Friday that one of the reasons he wanted Olli Jokinen back was that Daymond Langkow is still only about 60% recovered from that neck injury he suffered back in March so his status for the start of the season is a concern. So keep this in mind if you're a Langkow fan, also keep in mind that his point totals have slid over the past four years from 77 to 65 to 49 and finally 37 last year.
Reports say that Simon Gagne has been asked to waive his NTC, so he could be on the move, heads up if you own him. Not sure where he's heading but it sounds like it's out of Philadelphia, which probably isn't going to help his fantasy value... more if a trade goes down.
The Coyotes signed Andrew Ebbett to a two-way contract, he'll fight for an NHL job after getting passed around between three teams last year. When he finally settled in M'sota last year he could only manage 14 points in 49 games so we're running out of hope that this guy can be a productive player.
The Lightning have signed 31-year old forward Niklas Persson to a two-way contract, he's spent most of his career in Sweden but moved over to the KHL last season and had some success with 37 points in 55 games... he should just be a depth player for T-Bay, we wouldn't be expecting much more.
The Rangers re-signed Erik Christensen on Thursday, not really a big deal but he made some strides last year after coming over on waivers from the Ducks. He had 8+18=26 in his last 41 games for the Rangers and was playing a key role for them down the stretch. Things could certainly change but as of this moment he might be the Rangers #1C (well at least likely to line up with Marian Gaborik).
Minor deal for Dallas as they signed Andrew Raycroft as their back-up goalie... the interesting part of the deal is that it's a two-way contract so the Stars are giving themselves some flexibility in case Raycroft plays like he normally does (last year he was better than normal for the first time since his rookie season). Normally we'd be all over whoever the back-up behind Kari Lehtonen is but we also have a rule that we're all over whoever the starter in front of Raycroft is... for obvious reasons.
Per the Columbus Dispatch, the CBJs have been discussing a deal with the Canucks involving Kevin Bieksa and Nikita Filatov. This would probably be a good move for both players as Bieksa would get out of a crowded blueline situation in Vancouver and be counted on to provide some production in C-bus... Filatov is ranked #1 in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings, so we're very high on his upside and we'd be even higher if he was moving to an offensive-minded team like Vancouver and playing with some real talent.
A few Euro-vet signings that are barely worth mentioning... the Preds signed 29-year old Swede Jonas Andersson after years toiling around Sweden, Finland and Russia. He had six goals for the Swedes at the World Championships, so I guess Nashville thought they'd give him a shot, we wouldn't bother if we were you. Dallas added 27-year old Swiss dman Severin Blindenbacher, he has spent most his career in the Swiss league but did step up to the Swedish Elite League last year with some success (8+11=19 in 48 games) and represented the Swiss at the Olympics. Dallas could use some help on the backline but we're not sure how much help Blindenbacher can give.
Surely Brian Burke wasn't going to be outdone by all the July 1st signings, so he pulled the trigger on a deal sending prospects Viktor Stalberg, Philippe Paradis & Chris Didomenico to the Hawks for Kris Versteeg and Bill Sweatt Wednesday night. Versteeg will get top 6 ice-time in Toronto and should be able to increase his production (44 points last year) after mostly lining up on the 3rd line in Chicago but we don't think he has the high-end talent to be a starter in most fantasy leagues... so we wouldn't blow your load to pick him up based on this move. Stalberg is the key to the deal for the Hawks as based on his final year in the NCAA (46 points in 39 games) & a season split between the AHL (33 in 39) and the NHL (9+5=14 in 40 games), he's shown that he has some fantasy potential... he's ranked #126 in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings. The other three guys in this deal are longshots (at best) to ever be fantasy worthy so you can forget about them.
Not sure that this is the last goalie signing for the Flyers, so let's not get too excited for Mike Leighton, but as of this moment, he's the #1 in Philadelphia.
The Wild re-signed RFA Guillaume Latendresse to a two-year deal... he had 25 goals in 55 games after coming over from the Habs and while he don't expect him to keep up that pace over an entire season he'll be a legitimate breakout candidate this coming year.
Rod "The Bod" Brind'Amour retired yesterday, seems about the right time as he'll turn 40 this summer and had 19 points and a minus-29 this year. As we do here at FHS, lets shine a little light on his best fantasy season... we have to go all the way back to 1995/96 when Rod was with the Flyers and put up 26+61=87, plus-20, 110 PIMs & 213 shots.
The Devils re-signed Dave Clarkson to a three-year deal, he was putting together a nice season last year that would have projected out to 43 points & 152 PIMs if he didn't break his leg and miss 36 games... so he's a good option if you need big PIMs and a few points.
Sami Lepisto re-signed with the Coyotes... he was a disappointment last year with only 11 points and we think he has more to give but let's wait to see who Phoenix signs before we get our hopes up for next season.
So the Oilers traded Patrick O'Sullivan to the Coyotes but they're going to buy him out... ok then. As we said yesterday, we're interested to see where he lands cause he's got some skills.
Mike Van Ryn is taking a year off to try to recover from his knee surgery... so you'll need to be patient if you're holding on to this guy for some unknown reason.
The Habs sent Sergei Kostitsyn to the Predators for Dan Ellis & Dustin Boyd... this is a strange deal since all of these guys are unsigned and may not ever play for the team that acquired them. Kostitsyn is an RFA and the smart money had him playing in the KHL next year, we'll get into his fantasy outlook if he signs with the Preds. Ellis & Boyd are both due to become UFAs on July 1st. Ellis is obviously the goalie that the Habs want to job-share with Carey Price so we'd expect them to push hard to sign him. He could be a good fit there as he's good enough to push Price but not good enough to really threaten him... this scout has never really been a big Dan Ellis fan, his entire reputation has been built up by one great season in 2007/08 but look beyond that and the numbers are very mediocre.
The Senators bought out the remaining year of Jonathan Cheechoo's deal so he's free to sign with anyone, if anyone wants him. It's pretty unbelievable how far this guy has fallen down, it's possible a team takes a chance but we wouldn't bother going anywhere near him in your fantasy league.
Patrick O'Sullivan & Robert Nilsson cleared waivers and the Oilers might be buying them out today... we'll be interested to see where O'Sullivan lands as the guy has a ton of talent, just needs to get his head on straight, could be a good sleeper for next season. We're less convinced about Nilsson, he may need to head back to Europe to find work.
Reports say that the Flyers are negotiating with both Evgeni Nabokov & Marty Turco on deals and if they can reach an agreement with one of them then they'd send a pick to their former team... we'll get into this more if a deal is finalized but heads up if you own either of these guys or if you were hoping that Mike Leighton might be the guy in Philly... it looks like they're exploring lots of options right now.
The Hurricanes were busy during the draft as they made a few swaps to snag some prospects that other teams were looking to unload... they grabbed Bobby Sanguinetti from the Rangers, he's ranked #79 in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings and after two decently productive seasons in the A and given that the Canes have some open spots on D, he might be in their opening day lineup next year... so this is a positive move for Sanguinetti. Carolina also picked up Riley Nash from the Oilers, his progress seems to have stagnated after three season at Cornell and we're not too high on his fantasy outlook and have him ranked at #209 in our prospect rankings.
Vladimir Sobotka was moved from Boston to St.Louis for David Warsofsky. Sobotka has scored at the AHL level but Boston gave him a chance in 134 games and he could only manage 22 points, so methinks they decided to give up on him. He's still only 22 but unfortunately he goes to a Blues team that is pretty loaded with young talent so it's hard to see him getting much of a chance with them. Warsofsky is a 20-year old dman who we think is an interesting prospect (ranked #228) as he's had two nice seasons at BU and gets a boost from this trade as the Bruins are light in blueline prospects.
The Flames picked up the rights to Swedish goalie Henrik Karlsson from San Jose during the draft... the Sharks had signed him last year but loaned him back to Farjestad where he had a decent first full SEL season. Not sure if the Flames plan to bring him over this year as their back-up goalie but we assume that's the plan. We're not really impressed with his track record and given that he likely won't play that much behind Kiprusoff, we'd let somebody else take a risk on this guy.
Yes, its a little early to be speculating about potential line combinations but thought this was worth mentioning... Wings coach Mike Babcock said that he's "for sure" going to start with Pavel Datsyuk & Henrik Zetterberg together next season. Good news, I guess, but we'd expect both these guys to bounceback regardless next season as they're much better than the 70 points they both put up this year. [more]
What's distracting us this week?
- You gotta check out The Triple Deke's original work: "Glen Sather Orders a Pizza". Great stuff, boys.
- If you don't know much about Isles new signee Zenon Konopka then you should check out this video. Pretty hard not to like him after watching that. PS - Sorry about what happens at the 2:48 mark, a revealing (not in a good way) pic of Ashley "Zenon's #1 fan"... ewwww. Stick tap to Raw Charge
- A little WTF action at 2:25 of this video. Yeah we know who Jonathan "Captain Oh My God You Are Boring" Toews is... but should we feel bad for not knowing Snooki is? Cause we don't.
- Tyler vs. Taylor is sooo last year. Check out Buzzing the Net for the most recent trends... like Sean vs Ryan (but don't forget Adam).
- Ripple the Twine with their "Top 10 Reasons Why Marc Savard Is Being Shopping Around" post. It's worth a look especially if you want to read some gossip about Savard's 22 year old girlfriend. Our favourite on the list? #10: Apparently when Marc doesn't agree with something (like playing in Atlanta), he'll just throw up on it. Here's the video evidence:
- This is from a while ago but its still pretty funny to watch this Flyers fan as his girlfriend punks him by flipping the TV off during key moments of game #6 of the finals... Jabroni almost loses it & then tries to pin the loss on his girlfriend...
- Everyone should check out this awesome Cross Canada Road Hockey Road Trip called Five Hole for Food that is likely coming to a town near you soon... get out and support a great cause.