Fantasy Take: Stars Continue Impressive Offseason by Signing Martin Hanzal

by Neil Parker on July 1, 2017
Martin Hanzal - USA TODAY Sports Images

 

The Stars signed Martin Hanzal to a three-year, $14.25 contract ($4.75 million cap hit) Saturday.

 

What the Stars Receive

A 6-foot-6, shut-down center that's also capable of playing a top-six role and moving the offensive needle. Hanzal posted a career-high 20 goals last season and owns a career 2.2 Relative Corsi For percentage. With Minnesota, he posted a 58.6 Corsi For percentage through 20 games, and then followed it up with a 62.4 mark in the playoffs. The 30-year-old Hanzal might also still have some untapped upside in the tank, and aside from the spell with the Wild, he's never played on a high-end offensive team.

 

Fantasy Breakdown

After pacing the NHL in goals with 3.23 per game during the 2015-16 season, Dallas plummeted to a 16th-ranked 2.71 mark last year. Things are looking up, though. The Stars have already made a number of personnel changes, and Dallas appears poised for a rebound.

Enter Hanzal.

Without doubt, his addition is another boost for goaltender Ben Bishop, and Hanzal has the potential to post a career-best offensive showing in 2017-18 with Dallas.

Hanzal's addition also likely solidifies the No. 1 power-play unit with Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Jamie Benn, Hanzal and John Klingberg forming a fearsome group, which is obviously another huge boon for the newcomer. With soft hands and a huge frame, Hanzal should thrive down low and as a net-front presence with the man advantage.

However, it definitely has the Dallas forward ranks looking a little murky. Radek Faksa and Brett Ritchie are both pushing for a top-six roles and more power-play time, but if the Stars choose to utilize a Seguin-Spezza-Hanzal look down the middle, that's potentially concerning for Faksa. Ritchie could also find his minutes take a hit with other configurations.           

It seems more likely that Spezza or Seguin move to the wing, though, and Hanzal does indeed fill more of a checking-line role at even strength. Additionally, instead of nitpicking potential assignments in July, it's probably best to focus on the fact that Dallas just added an impact player. In fact, considering the price and term, Hanzal has the potential to be the best signing of this free-agent class over the next few seasons.

Adding Hanzal might delay the fantasy timelines of Faksa and/or Ritchie slightly, but it's unlikely to have much of a fantasy drain, and it might actually prove to help across the board.