Ramblings: Remaining UFAs, More Impacted Players

by Ian Gooding on July 3, 2016

List of remaining UFA, players affected by signings, plus more…

Day 2 of free agency turned out to be a much slower day than Day 1, with just two fantasy-relevant signings – Jason Demers and P.A. Parenteau. You can read about these below, as described by Neil.

Fantasy Take – Jason Demers in Florida

Fantasy Take – P.A. Parenteau in Brooklyn

Day 1 (Friday) was a hectic day, although I didn’t have to spring into action until the afternoon. I contributed my three pieces, which included a Viktor Stalberg signing for the second year in a row. As Mike said, I’m the go-to Stalberg expert here now, which is something I never thought I could add to my resume!

What a day, and what a job by Neil, Mike, and Dobber on Friday. Hopefully they all had time to eat and maybe even enjoy at least a small portion of the Canada Day festivities where they live.

Of course, if you’re looking for a list of all the free agency signings and trades thus far, you can find them in our handy little list here.

Having a look at the Top 25 Free Agents in Fantasy list that we published on June 30, only five out of the 25 listed players still remain unsigned. And we covered a few more on top of that. Busy busy busy. Here are the remaining free agents from our list:

Jimmy Vesey

Jiri Hudler

Justin Schultz

Radim Vrbata

Kris Versteeg

Scanning this list from Frank Seravalli of TSN, here are some more unsigned players that I think we would need to write fantasy takes about. I won’t provide any high-level analysis on any of these players, but I’m sure someone here might as the summer rolls on.

Kris Russell

Sam Gagner

James Wisniewski

Brandon Pirri

Tomas Fleischmann

Alex Tanguay

Brad Boyes

Jhonas Enroth

Karri Ramo

The big names are gone, as the top remaining player from our list is Vesey at number 9. And he can’t even sign with a new team until August 15.

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In covering all of the various moves that usually happen on July 1, there’s always a few player situations that fall through the cracks. Not to take anything away from the guys and the work that they did, as sometimes the full reasons for the signings don’t reveal themselves until after they occur. But I’d like to add a bit more on a few players that were impacted by some of the July 1 signings.

Roberto Luongo

This piece of information should be more important to fantasy owners than the James Reimer signing itself. But it explains why both Reimer and Reto Berra were signed by the Panthers.
 


So that’s at least the month of October without Luongo. Single-season leaguers should knock him down to G2 status, since this absence could well extend beyond November 1. Reimer should be considered a solid G3 – a smart late-round pick that could provide lots of starts for at least the first month. The Panthers play nine games in October, with only one pair of those games back-to-backs. That means Reimer could start as many as eight of the Panthers’ first nine games. Yes, I would try to draft Reimer even before some of the mediocre starting goalies start to fall off the board.

(Side note as I was researching this: In case you’re wondering why the Panthers play only nine games in October, the World Cup of Hockey finishes on October 1. The NHL season doesn’t start until October 12, which is something to consider if you’re scheduling drafts and other preseason activities for your fantasy league.)

Jannik Hansen

As early as midseason, Loui Eriksson was mentioned as a player that might be a good match for the Canucks, considering he’d played alongside the Sedins internationally before. That made his signing one of the worst-kept secrets in free agency talk. So Jannik Hansen’s stint as a fantasy contributor wasn’t meant to last. Here’s how often Hansen played as the third Sedin last season:

46.7% EV HANSEN, JANNIK – SEDIN, DANIEL – SEDIN, HENRIK

Two years ago, Radim Vrbata was promised that coveted third twin role when he signed with the Canucks. Yet last season, he had the rug pulled from underneath him and spent most of his time on this line instead:

41.7% BAERTSCHI, SVEN – HORVAT, BO – VRBATA, RADIM

Between an injury and not quite clicking with Baertschi and Horvat, Vrbata was basically untradeable at the deadline, and his value as a free agent has plummeted. But that’s how playing alongside the Sedins can boost a player’s fantasy value.

Back to Hansen now. Surprisingly, his 38 points from last season wasn’t his career high. It was in fact a 39-point effort from 2011-12 when the Canucks were a President’s Trophy team that was much deeper than they are constructed currently. But as long as Eriksson is the guy on the Sedin line, 30 points might seem like a more reasonable expectation for Hansen.

Tommy Wingels

With back-to-back seasons in which he approached 40 points, Wingels was a player that held some fantasy value in leagues that count hits (over 200 the past three seasons). Yet last season, Wingels failed to reach even 20 points, rendering him waiver-wire fodder even in hits leagues.

Sharks blog Fear the Fin has mentioned Wingels as the possible odd man out with the Mikkel Boedker signing. The Sharks have a very deep top 9 now, which should help them challenge in the Western Conference again. In fact, someone like Melker Karlsson could end up on the fourth line, even though he’d be a third line forward on many other teams.

Wingels still has one more year on his contract at $2.5 million, so the Sharks would need to make a trade. The Sharks have only about $2.4 million of cap space at the moment, so don’t be surprised if they make at least a minor move before training camp.

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One under-the-radar transaction that I’ll squeeze in here: Goaltender Anders Nilsson signed a one-year contract with the Sabres hours after being acquired from the Blues. You may remember him when he temporarily took over as the Oilers’ number one goalie last season before he was acquired by the Blues as an injury replacement backup. With the Blues, he only got into three games and became expendable after the Blues signed Carter Hutton to back up Jake Allen.

There’s a slight chance Nilsson could be fantasy relevant again this season. Robin Lehner is the no-doubt starter in Buffalo, but we know he’s as durable as a glass vase. Either Nilsson or Linus Ullmark will be the backup, although Nilsson may hold the advantage since Ullmark still has the two-way contract.

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Another signing which may have some indirect fantasy relevance: Roman Polak is returning to the Leafs on a one-year contract after he was rented (in the true sense of the word) to the Sharks for their playoff run. Here’s one reason Leafs’ fans might not be throwing a party as a result of this signing.
 


Since it’s incredibly easy to find information about the Leafs’ projected roster even in the middle of the summer, I can tell you that fellow right-shot defensemen Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Carrick, Frank Corrado, and maybe even very recently signed Justin Holl could be bumped down the pecking order.

I would think that Zaitsev and Carrick should still make the team, yet they could be the ones looking at reduced minutes. Polak doesn’t play on the power play (player profile here), so Zaitsev and Carrick’s potential power-play time should only be affected if they are bumped out as healthy scratches.

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One last bit of news that shouldn’t be surprising: Shane Doan has stated that he’s “not going anywhere”, according to Arizona Sports.

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Hope you are enjoying your Canada Day or Fourth of July long weekend. Follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding