July 1st should need no introduction. It is Canadian celebrations in full force, as well as NHL GMs tossing as much money as they can at mostly mediocre players. Looking back at previous years, we all know there are some good, but mostly bad deals signed in the first week of July. Let’s sort out which deals from the opening days are good and bad, with some blind comparisons (most of the players listed will be signings from July 1st, but not all).



*Using 2018-2019 stats only.

Player A: 73 GP, 31 G, 70 PTS, 14 PPPs, 172 Shots, 676 FOWs, $8,000,000 AAV

Player B: 80 GP, 14 G, 64 PTS, 16 PPPs, 136 Shots, 782 FOWs, $8,000,000 AAV

One of these players is a 2019 free agent signing, the other is his new teammate. Both centres are high-quality players and have over six years left on their deals at an AAV of $8 million. Neither is going to suffocate the other team with volume shooting, but that’s what the wingers do best in Nashville.

Yes, Player A is Matt Duchene, and Player B is Ryan Johansen.

If Johansen had value in your league last year, then so will Duchene for the next number of years, especially with higher shot and goal totals. Add to that wingers Filip Forsber, Victor Arvidsson, Mikael Granlund, and Craig Smith to split between them, and we may be in for one of the highest scoring Predators teams yet. These two should also play a key role in the rebound of an abysmal powerplay from last season.



Player A: 79 GP, 28 G, 87 PTS, 18 PPPs, 191 Shots, $11,642,000 AAV

Player B:  68 GP, 37 G, 73 PTS, 20 PPPs, 251 Shots, $11,634,000 AAV

One of these players is a 2019 FA, the other was going to be an RFA before signing a deal a few months ago. Both are top scorers in the league and can change the offensive look for any team they play for.

Player A is the free agent signing from days ago, inking the largest deal of the summer. He is more of a playmaker than a shooter, but his fantasy value is high, nonetheless. At $11 million it is hard to roster any player, but these two are special players that should be worth it in leagues where the salary cap doesn’t completely restrict who you can afford.

Player B – Auston Matthews – should continue to grow, and even if he only plays in 70 games per season, should be one of the more productive players in the league on a per-game basis. If he is worth owning, then so is Player A – Artemi Panarin.



Player A: 51 GP, 12 G, 18 PTS, 5 PPPs, 81 Shots, $800,000 AAV

Player B:  76 GP, 8 G, 27 PTS, 12 PPPs, 121 Shots, $700,000 AAV

Out of the depth players available, these are two of the more interesting names. They could not be more different in terms of situation or style, but there is one interesting comparable. One player is filling the spot of the other entering next season.

For your fantasy teams, either player could provide some cheap depth next year, but the better bet is on player A – Tyler Ennis. Ennis is going from being buried in Toronto, to having an opportunity on a scoring line in Ottawa. Meanwhile, Player B – Jason Spezza – is going from a team with no scoring depth in Dallas, to a role in Toronto that will be limited to fourth line minutes.



Player A: 47 GP, 2 G, 17 PTS, 1 PPPs, 57 Shots, $5,500,000 AAV

Player B:  80 GP, 9 G, 31 PTS, 7 PPPs, 156 Shots, $6,000,000 AAV

Both of these players are defencemen, and both played top-four minutes with their respective clubs last season. Unfortunately for their new clubs, both players are overpaid based on market value (which is generally over-inflated for defencemen anyways). Based on offensive numbers those deals look atrocious. The defensive value of both players can be debated, as some people seem to love them, but based on the Frozen Tools charts on their “advanced stats” pages, player A is a struggling top-four, two-way defenceman, while player B is an average sheltered defenceman. Neither of those labels inspires much confidence.

Player A – Anton Stralman – is actually the most overpaid player of the 120 free-agents I completed predictions for, coming in at almost 200% more than what the model says he is worth. Not exactly the best way to spend the leftover money after missing out on Artemi Panarin.

Player B – Tyler Myers – joins an overstocked set of Canucks skaters, who have a history of being overpaid on the free-agent market. The worst part is, with Quinn Hughes likely eating up a large portion of the sheltered offensive minutes with the top forwards on the team, there isn’t any secondary unit for Myers to leech points out of like there was in Winnipeg.



Player A: 82 GP, 28 G, 51 PTS, 16 PPPs, 204 Shots, $7,000,000 AAV

Player B:  81 GP, 22 G, 60 PTS, 12 PPPs, 204 Shots, $5,500,000 AAV

Player C: 79 GP, 17 G, 30 PTS, 8 PPPs, 157 Shots, $5,000,000 AAV

Player D:  48 GP, 12 G, 40 PTS, 15 PPPs, 104 Shots, $6,000,000 AAV

These were all UFA wingers, and I’m sure you know who some of them are off the top of your head. Ideally though, this takes a little bit of the name bias out of dealing with a new contract. Player B seems to be the best new contract, while player C is likely the odd one out with his lower production. Good thing player C – Wayne Simmonds – is only on a one-year deal, while the other three are longer term commitments of at least four years.

Player A – Anders Lee – brings the goals, and we all know those are the key piece of what it takes to get paid in the NHL. The price tag may look a little high, but add a few more assists in there and he is certainly worth it.

Players B and D are comparable, and I know based on name value alone I much prefer player D. However, just looking at the numbers, it seems player B showed (at least last season) that he is worth the money. Player B – Gustav Nyquist – has put up his two best seasons in contract years, but because he will likely end up playing most of his shifts with Cam Atkinson and P.L. Dubois, that could change next year.



Other quick hits:

-The Timo Meier contract is a great deal for San Jose. The end.

-Montreal didn’t put any pressure on Carolina with the Sebastian Aho offersheet. Hopefully when Carolina matches and the Habs move on to Matthew Tkachuk or Brayden Point, they up the ante.

-The goalie carousel shook out very close to as expected here.

-Last year my favourite signing was the Carolina Hurricanes taking a chance with Petr Mrazek. This year, I would have to say it’s a tie between Ryan Carpenter, and Connor Clifton. Both signed three-year deals with an AAV of $1 million with the Blackhawks and Bruins respectively.

-Boy did the signings ever slow down after day one. At this rate Patrick Marleau, Marcus Johansson, Patrick Maroon, and Ryan Dzingel are going to sign much more reasonable deals than those gobbled up on July 1st.

-I want another offersheet…



All salary info courtesy of capfriendly, all statistics are pulled from FrozenTools.

You can find me on Twitter @alexdmaclean.



Previous Capped articles:


Evaluating Trades From the Last Week

Recent Signings, Trades, and Buyouts