Regarding the note below on Markstrom, I just confirmed here that the first year of his deal is a two-way agreement. So if the Panthers sign a short-term goalie, Markstrom could begin the year in the AHL…
My favorite free agent skaters who yet remain:
1. Mikhail Grabovski
2. Damien Brunner
3. Jaromir Jagr
4. Peter Mueller
5. Mason Raymond
6. Nathan Gerbe
7. Paul Ranger
8. Brad Boyes
9. Vinny Prospal
This is a fantasy hockey list and these are the only players who interest me. Teemu Selanne will have a great first month, but will taper off badly (I’m assuming he signs for one more year, though I think he shouldn’t). Dustin Penner is done and done. Ditto for Milan Hejduk, Guillaume Latendresse, Simon Gagne, Ryan Whitney and Brenden Morrow. And even the nine names I listed have minimal appeal to me after No.2.
Eric Belanger, whom the Oilers bought out, has signed to play in the KHL.
Josh Bailey has signed a five-year extension with the Isles worth $16.5 million. That seems steep, but the Isles are paying for potential – yet not too much. The term is what shocks, so it reinforces the idea that the Isles will do what they can to ensure that Bailey succeeds. They don’t want four years of an albatross contract hanging over their heads. His points-per-game average of 0.50 last season was his highest yet. His problem has been that the production tends to arrive in February and March. If he can get off to better starts he could be a 60-point guy. Until then, he’s probably improved enough to reach 40 points. To be honest, the term of the contract makes him a tad more appealing to me in fantasy hockey. Coaching and contracts play very key roles in the production of a young player.
Blake Geoffrion officially retired. He strongly hinted several months ago that it was coming, and obviously hoped that something would change for the better. Geoffrion, if you recall, suffered a brutal concussion in AHL action.
The Panthers have signed Aleksander Barkov to an ELC. We all knew it was coming, and yes he will make the team this year. And yes, I have Florida complete in my Fantasy Guide – Barkov will get…well, a shocking amount of points, let’s jus