Fantasy Impact: The New Jersey Devils have signed winger Jiri Tlusty to a one-year deal worth $800,000.
The Devils get: just what they needed. There was really only one remotely decent scorer left on the market (and I include players on tryouts as "on the market"), and that was Tlusty. Other than the Hurricanes, the Devils were the team most in need of a winger. And more so than the Canes, the Devils need an offensive forward. Three years ago Tlusty had 38 points in 48 games during the shortened season. Perhaps he can get some of that magic back.
The Devils also invited Lee Stempniak and Tyler Kennedy to training camp, and frankly I don't see why one or both of them can't make it either. But Tlusty has an actual contract, which obviously gives him a leg up.
Fantasy Players Impacted: With Reid Boucher sidelined (and not yet a proven NHLer), Ryane Clowe forced to retire and Dainius Zubrus bought out, the Devils had backed themselves into a corner. As things stood, they would have been forced to keep Stefan Matteau and Pavel Zacha on the team, they'd be forced to give ice time to Jordin "Press Box" Tootoo, and they'd be forced to give a roster spot to Sergey Kalinin whether he earned it or not. Suddenly, these players need to earn their spots – and not all of them will. It's easy to see Tlusty, Stempniak and even Kennedy making this team and keeping three of the aforementioned players in the minors or press box. So whoever makes this team will have earned it.
That being said, the Devils have no reliable offensive option unless Patrick Elias is 100% healthy. And even if he is, he's 38 years old. Kyle Palmieri is an unproven potential 30-goal guy, but he's also injury prone. Mike Cammalleri can score goals, but when was the last time he played even 70 games? To be honest, if I had to draft a forward on this team, I'd rather roll the dice on Tlusty than any of the others. He'll be leaned on with this team more than anywhere else.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order: