Wow, what a day... does anyone wonder if a few GMs woke up this morning wondering "what the hell did I just do?"
First, let me say this... if you look at the numbers (and I have) of the big UFA signings from past summers you can conclude that in the strong majority of cases a player's numbers will not see a significant increase or will actually decrease after signing for big money. You're much better off picking guys that are going into contract years than you are picking guys that just signed big UFA deals.
We'll have a Free Agent Fallout post where we give some analysis on the relevant moves... that will be coming soon but for now I figured we'd get to what the fantasy fans in the stands really want to know... who won and who lost yesterday (from a fantasy perspective)...
Andrew Brunette - He'll be 38 before the season starts but signing with the Hawks could be a great move for him as he could slide in as the top line LW with Toews & Kane or 2nd line with Sharp & Hossa.
Wingers in Minnesota - with Brunette leaving and Miettinen unsigned, Mikko Koivu will be looking for new wingers on the top line... Devin Setoguchi & Guillaume Latendresse are options.
Semyon Varlamov - I'm a fan of this guy, think he's a very solid goalie, so going to a situation where he's the clear #1 should help his value although he'll have to stay healthy for any of this to matter.
Mark Dekanich - He goes from the #3 in Nashville to the #2 in Columbus with the security of a one-way contract. The 25-year-old has a career .922 sv% in 122 AHL games and playing behind Steve Mason you never know what can happen.
Mark Mancari - Per Darren Dreger he signed a one-way deal with the Canucks after putting up nice numbers in the AHL for the past six seasons but never getting much of a chance with the Sabres. They may still intend for him to play in the AHL but he should get a look in Vancouver.
Jose Theodore - He signed in Florida and could be their #1... I'm not really sure how he'll do but there's no doubt that his value goes way up as I wasn't even sure he'd get an NHL deal.
Mike Smith - Like Theodore he goes from fringe NHLer to #1 in Phoenix yesterday... I'm not really a fan but you can do a lot worse than playing behind a Dave Tippett coached team.
Sheldon Souray - He goes from looking at another season in the AHL to a deal with Dallas, who could really use his cannon on the PP to team with Goligoski.
Nashville's forward prospects - In the past week Dumont, Sullivan, Goc & Ward have departed and there are questions about Kostitsyn & O`Reilly's status so there are going to be a lot of minutes up for grabs for guys like Colin Wilson, Blake Geoffrion & (maybe) Taylor Beck.
Steve Sullivan - Who knows if he can stay healthy but if he can then he should be playing with either Crosby or Malkin so that helps his value.
Ville Leino - He had a good thing going in Philly on a line with Briere & Hartnell and while he should play with some talent in Buffalo, who knows how he reacts to the pressure of a big money contract and moving to center ice. I'd be more comfortable that he could handle it if we had more than one season of decent production to go on.
Young Sabres - Things just became a lot more difficult for guys like Nathan Gerbe, Luke Adam, Marc-Andre Gragnani & Andrej Sekera to earn quality ice-time in Buffalo since in the past week the team has added Leino, Kotalik, Regehr & Ehrhoff.
Tomas Fleischmann - Had instant chemistry with Duchene in Colorado to the tune of 8+13=21 in 22 games last season and he ain't going to find that playing with a bunch of castoffs in Florida.
Dmitry Kulikov - After McCabe & Wideman were moved last year Kulikov assumed the PP QB role for the Panthers and I thought he'd have a very good shot to breakout in 2011/12... but with the additions of Campbell & Jovanovski (and likely more), he'll likely have to take a backseat to some veterans once again.
Jacob Markstrom - Another year in the AHL was likely but there were definitely some eager fantasy GMs that were hoping he'd be in Florida this year... with Theodore signing (& Clemmensen still around) there's not much chance of that unless an injury comes up.
Any young player in Florida - The Panthers have added six forwards, two dmen and goalie in the past 10 days so most of the young players who thought they'd get great opportunities playing for a rebuilding team in Florida will have to go to the back of the line.
Dustin Jeffrey & Eric Tangradi - They likely had their eyes on scoring line roles in Pittsburgh this coming year but with Dupuis & Kennedy recently re-signing and Steve Sullivan being brought in, they'll have to serve as injury replacements.
Erik Cole - The last time this guy tried to leave the nest (Carolina) it was a disaster as he had 27 pts in 63 games for Edmonton and they gladly returned him to Carolina nine months later... he should have stayed in Carolina where he's very comfortable and gets to play with Staal.
Andrei Kostitsyn - Erik Cole's signing likely bumps Kostitsyn (or maybe Pacioretty) off a scoring line and I'd hate to see what his numbers would look like then.
Robin Lehner's Owners - Despite Ottawa management telling everyone that Lehner was going to play in the AHL next year I think a lof of fantasy GMs were hoping his MVP performance in the AHL playoffs would change their minds... apparently not as they signed Alex Auld to backup Anderson.
Stefan Elliott, Tyson Barrie & Cameron Gaunce - Most people were expecting that one of these three Avs dman prospects would crack the roster this coming season and might get a look on the top PP unit but with Hejda's addition, the re-signing of O`Byrne & Hunwick and the likely re-signing of RFAs Cumiskey & R.Wilson... the Avs will already have seven NHL dmen heading into training camp.
Brian Elliott - Big loser here as in the span of six months he's gone from the starter in Ottawa to accepting a two-way deal in St.Louis that could see him relegated to the #3 job if he doesn't impress at training camp.