Frozen Tools Forensics: Impending Contract Years – Part 3

Grant Campbell


In Part 3 of our look at impending UFAs, we examine our final batch of players who could potentially put up some good numbers this season and/or might be in store for a hefty raise. Will they price their current teams out of the market or will their current team trade them before the deadline?

Justin Faulk

In fantasy leagues that put a premium on goals for defence, Faulk is highly coveted as he has averaged over 11 goals per year for the past five seasons. He also provides a fair number of hits and blocked shots with around 100 in those two categories each season. Where Faulk might suffer is if his PP time gets cut. Over the past three seasons, his actual offense at ES has been much lower than his expected offense and defensively he is average at best.

Carolina’s PP was 20th overall in 2018-2019 and as more and more NHL teams adopt the four-forward PP, players like Faulk might be in trouble. He is not so much a PP quarterback but more of a shooter from the point who doesn’t get the high assist totals feeding others. He will be looking for a big contract and it might not be in Carolina, even though they have plenty of cap space. I will conservatively put him at 10 goals and 22-25 assists next year.

TJ Brodie

Brodie’s season last year was like a pretty good sandwich but with stale bread; the outside quarters were 38 GP with one goal and seven assists, while the inside quarters were 41 GP with eight goals and 18 assists. He was with defensive partner Mark Giordano over 77 percent of the time at even strength, and surely contributed to Giordano’s Norris Trophy win. Brodie is already on the rumour list to be dealt (and the season hasn’t even started yet) as Calgary needs to make some cap space room.

For a defenceman who doesn’t shoot the puck that much (his career high is 134), he is remarkably consistent in having over 30 points or more in each of the past six seasons. He doesn’t provide hits, and his blocked shots are decreasing on a yearly basis since his career high of 181 in 2014-2015. I do think his better years are in the rear-view mirror and even last season is a little inflated due to Giordano’s fantastic year. If dealt or signed to a new team, Brodie should still provide solid defence while posting five to eight goals and 25-30 assists.

Roman Josi

Josi going into free agency is a big reason P.K. Subban is in New Jersey. Josi is in the final year of a seven-year deal with an AAV of $4 million, and this should double at the very least. He is likely to be one of the highest-paid impending free-agents, whether he re-signs in Nashville or not. (He will.)

Josi has averaged above 52 points over the past six seasons. In each of those seasons, he has never been below 12 goals and never above 15. One of the most impressive things about this consistency for Josi is that he’s good on the PP, but is not just a one-dimensional PP defenceman. His ES numbers are some of the best in the NHL from his position and barring injury there is no reason to think they won’t be for a few more years. I will earmark his production at 14 goals and 40 assists for next season.

Evgeni Dadonov

Dadonov has adapted incredibly well in his second go around in the NHL after playing only 51 games over parts of two seasons from 2010 to 2012 before heading back to the KHL for four years. Since his return to the NHL, he has produced back-to-back 28-goal seasons and put up 65 then 70 points. In his two seasons since his return, he has played with Aleksander Barkov over 74 percent of the time at ES and is a part of the latter’s ascension during that time.

The Panthers will need to see how the team is doing and what money and term Dadonov will be looking for. The one player who could influence their decision is Owen Tippett. If he emerges this season and the Panthers think he might be ready for the NHL on a regular basis, they probably walk away from Dadonov and let him sign elsewhere. Even if Dadonov slips to 50 points next year, there will be teams that will be happy to sign him for a three or four-year deal.

Charlie Coyle

After a slow start in his home state, Coyle had a great playoff with nine goals and seven assists in 24 games as the Bruins came up just short of another Stanley Cup. He had a career high of 56 points in 2016-2017 while with Minnesota, but he seems more predisposed to score about 15 goals now, with 25-30 assists.

It might be up in the air for him to re-sign in Boston for the following year as they will need to make a lot of decisions moving ahead with the center position and defence. If Coyle doesn’t get back to the 56-point type of season, then I think the Bruins would move on and go with a cheaper, younger version at center.

Erik Haula

Haula has a lot riding on this season and the first thing he needs is to stay healthy, which is always easier said than done. He is coming off a tough year, playing only 15 games before being shut down in November. Most people will be focusing on the 29 goals and 55 points he had the year before and wondering if he can replicate that.

He is coming off a bad knee injury, he’s on a new team in Carolina, and his numbers were probably inflated in that first year in Vegas with a 16.6 shooting percentage. He will also more than likely be playing two or three minutes less than he had been in Vegas and the PP units might be up in the air as well. If he gets 20 goals and 20 assists, consider it a very successful year for Haula.

Erik Gustafsson

Players who have the type of season that Gustafsson did last year must kick themselves for having it happen one year before they become unrestricted free agents. Well, now he just needs to go out and do it again, but there is very little chance of him duplicating 17 goals and 60 points. 10 to 12 goals and 45 points might be in his wheelhouse, which is still damn good, but his shooting percentage won’t stay at 10.6 to attain 17 again. At 45 to 60 points, Chicago can forgive some of his defensive shortcomings, but anything below that makes him less attractive.

With Adam Boqvist in the AHL this season and just turning 19, Chicago will need to decide if a multi-year deal for Gustafsson is needed moving forward or whether they should roll the dice with Boqvist and a few other prospects in the system. Next year will decide that for both Gustafsson and the organization.

Thanks for reading, and please follow me on Twitter @gampbler15.


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