The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed veteran winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year deal worth $2 million.
The Lightning get: an experienced Cup-winning veteran who plays with grit, can still chip in some offense and steps up his game in the postseason. Kunitz has 23 points in 44 playoff games over the last two seasons, which is actually a slight increase from his regular season numbers in that span. He wasn't going to work his way back into the top six with Pittsburgh ever again, but with the Lightning he stands to see some time on the second and third lines.
Fantasy Players Impacted: Although he's not going to get to 50 points again, Kunitz should see a small uptick in production (from a projected 35 points that he'd get in Pittsburgh to something in the low-40s with Tampa). Last year Kunitz had a 6.69 5on5 SH%, indicating that he had some bad puck luck, but that's also the result of weaker linemates as he was stuck on the third or fourth line for much of the season. His 50.3 CF% was 11th on the Penguins, so his possession numbers are still strong at 37 years of age.
This signing significantly hampers Yanni Gourde, who scored six goals in 20 games to end last season and showed promise as being a decent contributor in the year ahead. Gourde is on a one-way contract ($1 million), but he could find himself in the same position as Jonathan Marchessault was in 2015-16 when he played just 45 games for Tampa and used only sparingly in scoring roles. Vladislav Namestnikov will be similarly impacted.
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
3. Cory Conacher
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