Top 10 2019 UFAs to be wary of




This year’s UFA class could be a bit of a strange one.

As I mentioned in the comments of my top 10 column last week, there is such a bevy of great RFAs, that many of the UFAs will be overlooked. I believe teams will be looking to take care of their RFAs first, and then worry about signing UFAs so they have a better grasp on the salary cap. That could mean a lot of UFAs — outside of most of the big names — may be waiting a little while longer than normal before signing.

Of course, every year comes with free agents that teams regret signing. In the past few years, we’ve seen players such as James Neal, Milan Lucic, Karl Alzner, Loui Eriksson and Andrew Ladd sign big deals that teams regret within half a season. However, there are many fantasy general managers who believed in these signings and tried to acquire these players, either through trades or through drafts.

This year will be no different. There will be players that will sign and you’ll convince yourself, “yeah, all he needed was a second chance.” That is usually a losing proposition. Most players don’t automatically become a great force in fantasy leagues simply because they signed with a new team.  

Below are 10 UFAs you need to be wary of this offseason.



10. Robin Lehner

Lehner was a great story of this past season, battling back from mental health issues and drug and alcohol addiction to become a Vezina finalist. He had career bests in wins, shutouts, goals against average and save percentage. However, much of his success came from the defensive system employed by Barry Trotz (note that Thomas Greiss put up very similar numbers in a time-share situation, but no one mentions Greiss for the Vezina). If Lehner comes back with the Islanders, then there’s a good chance he can continue his success. If he goes to a squad that is more run and gun, expect more of his career averages.


9. Ryan Dzingel

When Columbus originally acquired Dzingel before the trade deadline, Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said that Dzingel wasn’t acquired to be a rental and the hope was to re-sign him. That may have changed after a disappointing performance in Columbus, where he had four goals and 12 points in 21 games, and wound up in coach John Tortorella’s doghouse. Eventually, Dzingel became a healthy scratch in the postseason. He’s scored 49 goals over the last two years, so many will hope that he can continue that with a new team. However, most of those goals came because he was playing with elite linemates. More than likely, that won’t happen again next season.


8. Erik Karlsson

I like Karlsson as much as the next guy, but we’re getting to the stage of his career where we have to start treating him like Kris Letang<