Hard at work on the Fantasy Prospects Report, which will come out the afternoon of June 14. It is the 16th edition and has been an invaluable resource for keeper and dynasty leaguers. You can pre-order it here.
The Blue Jackets signed free agent Joona Luoto to a two-way contract last week. I found that interesting because the Winnipeg Jets already gave him a shot a couple of years ago. But now he's 24 and closer to his prime. He is a big (6-3) winger and his numbers in Finland weren't great. While he was in North America he totaled eight points in 29 AHL games. But, what caught my eye was the likely reason for the sudden interest by the Jackets. His Liiga postseason was outstanding. Luoto had 17 points in 14 games to lead everyone – and the next best was 10 points. He was named the best playoff player (Jari Kurri Award) and led Tappara to the title. Between that clutch performance during key games and his size, I can see the appeal. Remember one of my core teachings here: big men (6-3 or over) take a couple extra years to come into their own.
The Jackets let the rights to draft pick Marcus Karlberg go, leaving him unsigned.
Here is the full list of unsigned prospects who either go back into the draft (if they're 20 and were drafted in 2018) and/or just become unrestricted free agents because their organization did not sign them by June 1:
BUF – Linus Lindstrand Cronholm, Miska Kukkonen, William Worge Kreu
CGY – Ryan Francis*
CAR – Lenni Killinen
CHI – Niklas Nordgren, Chad Yetman
COL – Nils Aman
CBJ – Karlberg*
DAL – Albin Eriksson*
DET – Jesper Eliasson*, Alex Cotton*, Otto Kivenmaki*
EDM – Patrik Siikanen
FLA – Justin Schutz
MIN – Filip Johansson*
MTL – Jacob Olofsson*
NJD – Benjamin Baumgartner, Eetu Pakkila*
NYR – Jacob Ragnarsson*, Evan Vierling*
OTT- Eric Engstrand
PHI – Connor McClennon*, Marcus Westfalt
SJS – Linus Oberg*
TBL – Declan McDonnell*
VAN – Toni Utunen*
WSH – Bear Hughes*
Those with an asterisk are players I have in my prospects templates. I have most of them in there, unless they had zero percent chance of even remote fantasy value ever. But the players who jumped out at me were Francis, Vierling and McClennon. Here's a quick bit about those three:
Francis – The highest ranked of the group here on my Fantasy Prospects List at 177, he has been nothing but high-scoring at the junior level. He's 5-10, actually growing an inch since he was drafted, but questions about his speed along with the fact that the organization has enough smaller players were likely contributing factors. But part of me wonders if it was Francis who didn't want to sign. I guess we'll find out. If he gets drafted again, higher than 143rd overall when he was drafted in 2020, then we can probably assume he wasn't overly keen on the Flames.
Vierling – I actually recently finished writing up his profile in the Fantasy Prospects Report. He is a solid two-way player but, talking long-term here, he does