It's go time people. We'll be updating this post as much as possible this week so keep coming back. We won't be judging the value of the the deals (go here or here for that) we're here to take a shot at predicting the changes in fantasy value. And away we go...
Martin Biron signed a two year, $1.8 million deal with the Rangers
Anytime you leave the Island you get an automatic uptick in fantasy value but going to the Rangers isn't the best spot for Biron. Competing against a rock like Lundqvist means he won't get much playing time.
FANTASY FORECAST: Don't expect many wins but he should be able to improve his very average gaa and sv% numbers to the 2.75 gaa and .915 range... SMALL UPTICK ______________________________________________________________________________________
Sergei Gonchar signed a three year, $16.5 million contract with the Senators
For a guy that scored more than half his points on the PP, a move from Pittsburgh to Ottawa is not good. He'll still collect some good numbers as Ottawa's PP QB but getting to the 50 points he put up last year is going to be tough. Pretty risky signing by the Sens as Gonch hasn't been the model of health lately (62 and 25 games played last two years) and he'll be 39 when the contract finishes.
FANTASY FORECAST: Assuming he can play all season (never a safe bet with Gonchar) he'll score 45-50... DOWNTICK
Andrej Meszaros to the Flyers
2nd round pick to the Lightning
Surprise move by Philly as they now have a ton of money tied up on the blueline. Andrej was a pretty serviceable fantasy player in his time with Ottawa (39, 35 and 36 points) but was a nightmare in T-Bay. We figure he can't be any worse than he was last year (17 points) but he's going to be tough for him to get any PP time in Philly.
FANTASY FORECAST: We're thinking 20-25 points is do-able... SLIGHT UPTICK
Alex Tanguay signed a one year, $1.7 million contract with the Flames
Bizarre move by Calgary here as Tanguay was terrible last year. The 37 points he managed last year was the lowest total of his career. The Flames are hopeful he can recapture some of the chemistry he showed with Iginla in 2006/07 when he picked up 81 points.
FANTASY FORECAST: He'll improve but don't expect a monster season from Tangs... you should be happy with 50 points...UPTICK
Braydon Coburn re-signed a two year, $6.4 million deal to stay with the Flyers
His three years in Philly... 36, 28 and 19 points last year. We don't like that trend but he can't get any lower than 19 right? With Meszaros around there will be another body around competing for valuable PP time which is bad news for Coburn as he didn't produce on the PP last year (only 3 points in 1:50 average PP ice time). We would have liked to see what he could do in another jersey with some decent PP time as he's shown he can be a 30+ player in the past.
FANTASY FORECAST: We're hopeful he'll top 20 points but lots of competition for PT on that blueline... NO CHANGE
Anton Babchuk signed a one year, $1.4 million deal with the Hurricanes
After a year long vacation in the KHL, Babchuk returns to Hurricanes to see if he can build on his breakout 35 point season in 2008-09. The monster finish to that season (22 points in his last 24 games) is one of the reasons we're really high on him. We really like his chances to have a good season as Carolina doesn't really have an ideal player for the PP QB job so Babchuk should get a long look in that role.
FANTASY FORECAST: 30 points is very possible with chance at 40... UPTICK
Zbynek Michalek signed a five year, $20 million deal with the Penguins
We figured Gonchar would be returning to Pittsbugh or possibly Hamhuis could make the move... but Michalek is a bit of a surprise. He's a low end fantasy option as he's never scored more than 28 points in a season and had only 17 last year. He's getting the big paycheck and all the press for his defensive prowess but that's not going to help your fantasy team. The big winners of this signing are Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang as they should both take on a larger role on the PP.
FANTASY FORECAST: ~20 points is our prediction just make sure you don't get caught up in the hype... NO CHANGE
Martin St. Louis signed a four year extension, $22.5 million deal with the Lightning
Stevie Y did the right thing as he signed his best player and one of the most underrated fantasy superstars out there. Glad to see Mighty Mite coming back as we would have been worried about a regression from Steve Stamkos without Marty around. He scored 94 points last year and expect him to be near the top of the scoring race again.
FANTASY FORECAST: Business as usual for St. Louis... NO CHANGE
Alex Auld signed a one year, $1 million deal with the Canadiens
Terrible move for Montreal as they really needed a quality backup to challenge Price for the #1 job. But it's a great move for Auld's value as Price has shown he's anything but a sure thing. Auld has had some success in the past (like 33 wins in 2005-06) but he's a backup in every sense of the word. He's worth a flyer, especially if you own Price, but our expectations are pretty low here. Keep an eye on Cedrick Desjardins (Hamilton's goalie in the AHL) who might be getting some time in Montreal this year as well.
FANTASY FORECAST: His value increases but we were hoping the Montreal backup would be somebody we could get more excited about... UPTICK
Colby Armstrong signed a three year, $9 million deal with the Maple Leafs
Three million bucks is apparently what a 30-40 point player is worth nowadays. Armstrong has teased fantasy owners a few times (like 40 points in 47 games as a rookie in 2005-06) but he's firmly established himself as a third liner. We're not sure why the Leafs need a guy like this when they are desperate for scoring help but Burke apparently knows what he's doing?!?
FANTASY FORECAST: 40 points is about all you'll get out of Army... NO CHANGE
Alex Steen re-signed a four year, $12 million deal with the Blues
We've never really been fans of Steen's but last year he posted a fantasy usable 24+23=47 points in 68 games. His upside is 30 goals and 60 points but we could easily see him finish with 50 points.
FANTASY FORECAST: Business as usual for Steen and his owners... NO CHANGE
Antero Niittymaki signed a two year, $4 million deal with the Sharks
Wow. Did not see this one coming. The Sharks go with one of the smaller names on the goalie market. Marty Turco is not impressed. Niitty had a good season last year but not great (21 wins, 2.87 gaa and .909 sv%). So he's the #1 goalie on one of the top teams in the league... that's a goalie you want to own. Niittymaki isn't as safe a bet as Nabokov was so this also dramatically increases Thomas Griess' value. Roll the dice with these Shark tenders!
FANTASY FORECAST: Nabokov had 44 wins last year, Niittymaki should get at least 35 assuming he holds the #1 job all season... BIG TIME UPTICK
Derek Morris re-signed a four year, $11 million deal to stay with the Coyotes
Morris has a pretty decent fantasy season last year with 29 points. But don't be fooled. He scored at a .43 ppg pace with Boston but only .22 with the Yotes. He should still manage to top 20 points but don't expect anything more than 30 as he hasn't done that since 2003-04.
FANTASY FORECAST: We might be a bit more bullish if he landed with a more talented team but he'll make a decent last d-man in deep leagues... SLIGHT DOWNTICK
Dan Ellis signed a two year, $3 million deal with the Lightning
Pretty good move for Ellis and his owners as Tampa has one of the few #1 jobs available. However, we think you might want to temper your expectations though. Ellis had a monster 2007-08 (23 wins, 2.34 gaa and .924 sv%) but hasn't done much else in his professional career, even in the AHL he only put up average numbers. What we're trying to say is that how much of Ellis' success is due to the Nashville defensive system and how much of it is based on his skill? We guess we'll find out this year but we would recommend you avoid overpaying here.
FANTASY FORECAST: He should definitely be getting more PT this year and that's the most important thing for a fantasy tender... UPTICK
Paul Martin signed a five year, $25 million deal with the Penguins
Martin missed 59 games with a broken left arm but has shown he can put up 30+ points in the NHL the last few years in Jersey. We're giving him the uptick since he's out of NJ's defensive system and should see some time on the PP with Malkin and Crosby. The Penguins now have three d-men (Goligoski and Letang are the other two) who are good but not great PP QB's. The two that end up on the #1 PP unit will receive a definite bump in value.
FANTASY FORECAST: We're thinking 35 points for Martin this year... SLIGHT UPTICK
Toni Lydman signed a three year, $9 million deal with the Ducks
We guess this is the Ducks replacement for Niedermayer. Lydman is a consistent (.28 to .32 ppg last four years) d-man and he's probably useful to those of you in deep pools. Nothing should change from his time in Buffalo. Expect 20-25 points with little to no PP time.
FANTASY FORECAST: If a 20 point d-man is of interest to you, look no further... NO CHANGE
Ray Whitney signed a two year, $6 million deal with the Coyotes
Whitney had his worst season as a Hurricane last year as he only picked up 58 points (with a ppg of .73). He's 38-years old (never kissed a girl) so a decline was expected but the Yotes think he's got a few good years left in the tank. He'll be playing with inferior talent compared to Carolina but will still be a first line and first power play guy.
FANTASY FORECAST: We try to stay away from 38-year old players but Whitney should still get around 60 points... NO CHANGE
Kurtis Foster signed a two year, $3.6 million deal with the Oilers
Foster surprised many with a 42 point season last year as he was the QB for TB's potent power play. He should still be the QB (depending on what happens with Souray) but the guys around him will be much, much less talented. There are always questions with his health as well. He has played only 57, 56, 16 and 71 games the last four years. A nice pickup for Edmonton but you can't like this news if you're a Foster owner.
FANTASY FORECAST: We love Foster and his cannon of a shot but in Edmonton we can't see him doing what he did in Tampa ... DOWNTICK
Dan Hamhuis signed a six year, $27 million deal with the Canucks
Hamhuis' has been getting a lot of hype as one of the big prizes of the UFA pool. But he's a player that will help out the Canucks more than he'll help your fantasy squad. Other than his 38 points in 2005-06 he's never scored more than 27. His sound defensive play is what earned him the big bucks. He has some upside but he's more of a 2nd pairing guy and we don't expect him to get much more PP time than he did in Nashville (average 0:26 / game)
FANTASY FORECAST: Don't get caught up in the hype... draft him only in very late rounds and expect 25 points... NO CHANGE
Anton Volchenkov signed a six year, $25.5 million deal with the Devils
Like the Michalek signing earlier in the day, this is a signing that will help the Devils more than your team. He'll be lucky to get to 20 points as he's never done that in his career. He's also missed a lot of time due to injury (67, 68 and 64 games played last three years).
FANTASY FORECAST: Unless your league counts shot blocks, this guy isn't helping you... NO CHANGE
Chris Mason signed a two year, $3.7 million deal with the Thrashers
Mason goes from the Blues to the Thrashers. Which is pretty good news for Mason owners as Atlanta had one of the best situations for a UFA tender to go into since they were a team that were looking for a clear #1. His playing time shouldn't change but the Thrashers shouldn't win as many games as the Blues. Mason's has had some pretty good seasons in STL and we expect similar gaa and sv% numbers (2.53 & .913 last year) with fewer wins.
FANTASY FORECAST: He shouldn't be your first choice but he's a solid #2/3 fantasy goalie... SLIGHT DOWNTICK
Olli Jokinen signed a two year, $6 million deal with the Flames
We seriously don't believe we just typed that. This move is getting panned across the Internet as many think Sutter has lost his mind. We actually like the idea of a team signing Jokinen on the cheap (although $3 million isn't that cheap) but we can't believe Calgary is the team that signed him. As much as people make fun of Jokinen, he's still a 50-60 point player with some upside... remember it was only four years ago that he scored 91 points.
FANTASY FORECAST: Jokinen makes a good flier, particularly if your league counts shots... NO CHANGE
He picked up 49 and 38 points in his last two seasons with the Hawks. He was a former 4th overall pick but doesn't offer much scoring potential. He's a power forward so he should pick up the odd PIM. He'll be doing the checking line duties the Thrashers so don't expect any more production than what he did in Chicago.
FANTASY FORECAST: Best case is he picks up 50 points and 75 PIM's... NO CHANGE
He's a former first round pick (27th overall) who projects as a possible future PP QB. He had a decent AHL season with 36 points in 79 games but he's a long way from the NHL.
FANTASY FORECAST: You have to like him more on Chicago than on Atlanta... SMALL UPTICK
Jordan Leopold signed a three year deal, $9 million deal with the Sabres
The Sabres needed somebody to play after losing Tallinder and Lydman so they picked up Leopold. Leopold is a solid consistent d-man (he's scored near a 0.30 ppg pace every year) so he should be good for around 25 points next year as well. Other than Tyler Myers the Sabres don't have many d-men who can play on the PP, so Leopold might get a bit more TOI with the man advantage (1:13 / game last year).
FANTASY FORECAST: 20 points is a lock with a chance of 30... SLIGHT UPTICK
Vaclav Prospal signed a one year, $1 million deal with the Rangers
Prospal played most of the year with Gaborik and we expect that to continue. He has the potential to score 80 points but he hasn't done that since 2005-06. The Rangers got him on the cheap though so it's a pretty nice pickup for them.
FANTASY FORECAST: You likely won't be disappointed if you draft him expecting 50 points with the hope of getting 60... NO CHANGE
Johan Hedberg signed a one year, $1.5 million deal with the Devils
The Devils have been saying they wanted to sign a quality backup to give Marty Brodeur a few more games off this coming season. So even though Hedberg should play 15-20 games that is still less than 47 games he played last year. Craziest thing about this deal is Hedberg got a NTC... have you ever heard of a backup goalie getting a NTC before?
FANTASY FORECAST: Played great last year, unfortunately won't have a chance to win #1 job in NJ... DOWNTICK
Saku Koivu re-signed on a two year, $5 million deal with the Ducks
Saku picked up his third straight 50-something point season last year, so you should know exactly what you're getting with Koivu. We are a lot more positive on Jokinen's prospects than we are about Koivu's. Even though Koivu scored 75 points four years ago, we think he has little to no upside... he's 35-year's old and is now a 2nd line/2nd PP unit player.
FANTASY FORECAST: Koivu seems to get overdrafted in lots of league, make sure you don't do it... NO CHANGE
Matt Cullen signed a three year, $10.5 million deal with the Wild
Cullen has bounced around the league like a superball and while he's been a useful player in a lot of stops, he's never topped 50 points in a season during his career but, rather amazingly, he has topped 40 points on seven occasions.
FANTASY FORECAST: Feel free to think that this is the perfect situation for Cullen and this is where he'll finally break the 50 point barrier... we've been there, done that, moving on... NO CHANGE
Pavel Kubina signed a two year, $7.7 million deal with the Lightning
We're big fans of Kubina around these parts as he's a solid & consistent performer who's proven pretty durable over the years. He's put up between 34 & 40 points in six of his last eight seasons and is usually good for around 100 PIMs & 150+ shots as well, so he's one of our favourite #2/3 fantasy dmen out there.
FANTASY FORECAST: He should get a slight boost as he didn't get a ton of ops on the Thrasher PP last year (only 10 PPP) and we'd expect him to be one of the main threats on a dangerous PP in TB... we already hold him in pretty high regard so it's hard to say his value has really grown in our eyes... NO CHANGE
Chris Higgins signed a one year, $1.6 million deal with the Panthers
This is a pretty easy call as despite the fact that Higgins goes to what should be one of the worst teams in the league and he's not even a lock to play on one of the top 2 lines, Higgins gets a boost as it would be almost statistically impossible for a guy with his talent to score less than 25 points for the third season in a row. This is a guy who had 23, 22 & 27 goals in his first three years in the league and he's still only 27.
FANTASY FORECAST: He can't get any worse, can he?... but given that, we still wouldn't recommend him... UPTICK
Matthew Lombardi signed a three year, $10.5 million deal with the Predators
The Preds locked up the guy many described as the best pivot available on the UFA market. But when you take a look at his ppg averages the last four years (0.57, 0.44, 0.67, and 0.68 last year) we see a guy that is going to be overvalued in fantasy circles next year. The good news is that Lombardi will be the #1C in Nashville and still get a ton of PP time (3:19 / game last year). The bad news is that his wingers will definitely be of a lower quality. Last year he lined up with Shane Doan and Scottie Upshall in the desert. This year... Martin Erat? Colin Wilson? Steve Sullivan? Not good.
FANTASY FORECAST: We would take an even money bet that Olli Jokinen will outscore Lombardi this year. Lombardi will get 50-60 but we don't see much upside here.... NO CHANGE
Nikolai Kulemin re-signed on a two year deal with the Maple Leafs
For the second year in a row Kulemin picked up a 30-something point season (31 then 36 last year). Not the kind of guy you would look to for fantasy help. However, the 23-year old is entering his third season so it would be reasonable to expect a jump into the 40-50 point range... which should put him on the radar of owners in very deep leagues.
FANTASY FORECAST: We'll say no change but if the Leafs continue to upgrade their scoring lines as many expect then Kulemin's value increases.... NO CHANGE
Kyle Quincey re-signed on a two year deal with the Avalanche
Quincey's amazing breakout rookie season (38 points) was not expected to be repeated when he was traded to the Avs for Ryan Smyth. He only picked up 29 but those are still serviceable fantasy numbers from a blueliner.
FANTASY FORECAST: Colorado is a young team so we expect a step up across the board from this team, meaning Quincey's numbers should get a small boost.... SLIGHT UPTICK
Brett Clark signed a two year, $3.0 million deal with the Lightning
Clark was pushed out of Colorado by some of the younger talent there and was frequently a healthy scratch during the second half of last season. We're not big fans of this guy as he's only averaged 18 points over the past three years but he did have a 39 point season as recently as 2006/07.
FANTASY FORECAST: While T-Bay needed help on D, they already signed Kubina and Clark looks like he's destined to be a #5/6 or worse so while he still has some potential, we're not sure that this move really changes his (already low) value at all... NO CHANGE
Joe Corvo signed a two year, $4.5 million deal with the Hurricanes
This is basically just a re-signing as Corvo was with the Hurricanes for the last few years before being dealt to Washington at the trade deadline. So Corvo knows his role and how the Canes operate so there shouldn't be much adjustment needed there. On a side note, the Corvo & Babchuk signings are not going to help Jamie McBain's chances of breaking out this year.
FANTASY FORECAST: Going back to the Canes doesn't really increase Corvo's value but he should still get his share of offensive chances and prior to last year's 18 point season he had averaged 41 points /season over the prior four, so we'd expect him to bounceback... UPTICK