A wee bit of action on the free agent market today.
Vladimir Sobotka took a look at the whole arbitration process and said, "See ya later!"
Sobotka signed with a KHL team, presumably for a fat sack of cash, though we don't have details on that just yet. It's hard to really blame him for cashing out considering he was going to be in tough for minutes with Jori Lehtera brought in as competition. So with the team nickel and diming him the writing was kind of on the wall.
It just sucks for fantasy owners to lose Sobotka after a career year like that. He scored just 33 points but in 61 games. Add in his value with PIM and Hits and you had a strong rotisserie contributor with upside for more. Now he's gone.
The Blues took the news and re-signed veteran Steve Ott instead who probably fits better as a third line center on the Blues anyhow.
You can read more on the fantasy take here.
For some unknown reason the Detroit Red Wings re-signed Dan Cleary to a one-year deal. I suppose they couldn't just stand idly by and allow their far superior youngsters to just have spots in the lineup. They need to senselessly make them wait and "earn" their jobs. Fear not, Cleary will be hurt sooner or later so the likes of Tomas Jurco (for instance) won't be blocked for very long.
But seriously, how dumb is this signing?
I understand the whole "take care of your own" culture the Wings have going on but at some point you've got to sever the wounded limb. I don't know, maybe Cleary just winds up a healthy scratch nine nights out of 10 and provides a quality voice in the locker room. All I know is the Wings now have 12 NHL forwards signed and that's not including Tomas Tatar who remains a RFA. So as of now, it's one of Tatar, Jurco, Joakim Andersson or Riley Sheahan riding the pine or (heaven forbid) rotting in the minors.
And, hey, the people running that franchise are way smarter than I am, so I probably shouldn't criticize. This just seems myopic to me.
The Sharks made a re-signing blunder of their own bringing back Scott Hannan for one more year. I mean, if they wanted to kick-start their rebuild then this should help them tank for a high pick, otherwise all they are doing is making things tougher for Antti Niemi and Alex Stalock, the poor things.
The Panthers re-signed Erik Gudbranson to a two-year bridge contract. We all saw this coming so it's really much ado about nothing but if you were worried then there you have it.
Gudbranson had a pretty vicious year from a rotisserie perspective, topping the 100-PIM mark. I doubt he'll ever offer much more than multi-cat value but it would be really interesting if his offensive game started to expand. Maybe once some of the Panthers' forwards mature he'll start to produce more simply by proximity. One thing that's troubling has been Gudbranson's injuries. He has missed at least 10 games in every season thus far so his already limited fantasy value has been hindered that much further.
A few changes are coming into effect at the AHL level for next season: