Ramblings: Biggest July 1, 2019 Signings… One Year Later (July 5)

Ian Gooding


As you know, July 1 this year was much more understated for us than it has been in previous years. We had socially distant Canada Day celebrations with no Free Agent Frenzy broadcasts on TSN, Sportsnet, or the NHL Network. So maybe this is a good time to take a trip down memory lane and revisit the biggest signings of July 1 last year and how they've worked out for the various teams thus far. Teams are usually spending out of control that day, and the majority of signings don't provide great value. Yet some signings can work out for teams, no matter what the price.

Rather than focus on the dollar amount of the deal, I'll look at whether the player's fantasy value has increased or decreased with the move.

Artemi Panarin (Cap Hit: $11,642,857) – Increased

Fantasy Take – Panarin Signing

Panarin was the big fish on July 1, and he did not disappoint. In just 69 games, he racked up 95 points, which was good for fourth in league scoring. That would have put him on pace for 113 points over a full 82-game season. Only Connor McDavid has a higher cap hit at the moment, so there wasn't a whole lot of room for error for Panarin here. Still, 2019-20 turned out to his best season, and his point totals have only improved from Chicago to Columbus to New York.

Panarin will have a tough act to follow, given the kind of season that he had. Keep in mind that his 12.2 5-on-5 SH% and 1054 PDO are slightly higher than normal, so a bit of regression should be expected here. Yet on an up-and-coming Rangers squad, he is primed to do more damage. Could a big-ticket free agent actually be worth the money? So far, he's been a major hit on Broadway.

Sergei Bobrovsky (Cap Hit: $10,000,000) – Decreased

Fantasy Take – Bobrovsky Signing

Dobber left the less-than-ideal July 1 signings for me to take care of, starting with this one. That's no problem, because it gives me something to write about today.

Using what looks like a cut-and-paste line today, I said that Bob would immediately upgrade the Panthers' goaltending. Ummm… Bob posted a mediocre 3.23 GAA and .900 SV% with just one shutout in 50 starts, meaning that he probably hurt your fantasy team more than he helped it. That's not exactly an upgrade. Among the 52 goalies who appeared in at least 25 games, only five goalies had a lower quality start percentage than Bobrovsky (42.0%). He appeared to be a product of the defensive-minded system in Columbus more than anything.

The good news is that there's only six years left on his contract. No wait, let me try that again. The good news is that there's alway