The Philadelphia Flyers have signed freewheeling defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a one-year contracts worth $3 million.
The Flyers get: an offensive defenseman with high upside who is coming off a terrible year. In his first full NHL season, Gustafsson reach rare air. He scored 17 goals and 60 points, really from out of nowhere. Then last year he produced what amounted to a 36-point pace. Still in his prime at 28, which Gus did the Flyers just sign?
Fantasy Players Impacted: The Flyers signed Gustafsson for one reason and one reason only: offense. The power play. They're not bringing him in to kill penalties. But…they already have a guy like that named Shayne Gostisbehere! So what does this mean?
Well, Gostisbehere was trotted out there time and again for the last couple of seasons and he continued to fall flat. He was a shadow of his former 65-point self. But he makes $4.5M AAV each of the next three seasons, so what else are they going to do with him? This tells me that the man we affectionately call Ghost is about to be bought out, assuming he can't be traded. There isn't room for two offensive specialists. As it is, Ghost was getting scratched right, left and center last season. He did recover from a serious knee injury and looked good in practice in the postseason, but with only one postseason game to post an opinion on – we can't deem him ready to rebound.
If Gostisbehere remains, can you imagine a shift with him paired alongside Gustafsson? Sure, they're both left-handed shots, but can you just imagine Ghost and Gus both being caught way up ice? There could be some funny moments ahead!
This signing seriously impacts Ivan Provorov. Provorov is an elite defenseman who is strong in all areas of the ice and for fantasy hockey purposes that could prove his undoing. For years we've watched Alex Pietrangelo get robbed of PP time because the Blues had offensive specialists that could play no other role. So Pietrangelo would get 45 points year after year instead of 60. That's Provorov. And while it looked like Provorov had stolen the top PP job from Gostisbehere… he didn't steal it from Gustafsson. If Gostisbehere gets moved, then Provorov will get secondary PP time. That still hurts. Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers get bumped down the depth chart