Hey everyone!  Before things start going full swing in a few weeks, I figured I’d post an article summarizing the biggest changes that have taken place this offseason around the NHL.  It’s been a crazy last few weeks between the draft and free agency so let’s get right to it!

WINNERS:

Jake Allen – Arguably the biggest winner of the summer, Allen finally enters the season as the clear #1 with Brian Elliott traded to Calgary.  As long as he avoids injury, Allen is a slam dunk top 10 goalie who more than likely pushes the top 5.  It’s still a bit too early to know what his ADP will be but I’ll guess he becomes a top value in early drafts.

Kyle Okposo – Okposo moved from Brooklyn across the state to Buffalo on a 7 year deal.  Compared to the other contracts signed around the league, Buffalo did well here.  While on the surface this may look like a step back for Okposo, I disagree.  First, he barely played with John Tavares last season; Frans Nielsen was his main center.  While Nielsen is a solid hockey player, Ryan O’Reilly and Jack Eichel are both upgrades.  Add in the fact that Dan Blysma gave his top 6 massive minutes last season with the Sabres being on the rise and Okposo slides into a great situation.  He should crack the top 100 since he hits all of the categories at an above average rate.

John Gibson – If the Ducks hadn’t fired Bruce Boudreau and replaced him with Randy Carlyle, Gibson would be the biggest winner of the offseason.  Despite the big coaching downgrade, Gibson still finds himself in the winner’s column.  With Frederik Andersen traded to Toronto, Gibson now has firm control of the starting job for a strong team.  He’s going to be a bottom end #1 goalie or elite #2 goalie in 2016-17.

Brian Campbell – Campbell won’t move the needle even in the middle of drafts but as far as filling out the bottom of your roster goes, Soupy should be a nice bottom end defenseman.  He’s moved back to the Blackhawks which should all but guarantee him very good assists, plus-minus and power play points.

Thomas Vanek – After being bought out by the Wild after a disappointing season, Vanek gambled on himself taking a 1 year deal with the Red Wings.  I love his chances to bounce back.  The Red Wings always have an above average power play where he does most of his damage.  He’ll also have a decent chance to play with Henrik Zetterberg at even strength and if not, Frans Nielsen, who’s an upgrade over his Wild linemates.

Milan Lucic – While I hate the signing in real life (I have no idea what Peter Chiarelli is doing), Lucic’s fantasy stock gets a nice boost.  Since the Oilers inexplicably traded Taylor Hall to the Devils, the vacated left wing slot on Connor McDavid‘s line will be filled by Lucic.  Expect him to add his usual 100+ PIM while pushing 30 goals.

Adam Henrique – He should get first crack at having Hall on his wing; the two played together in Windsor.  Henrique is coming off a terrific season and now has upside to be even better.  It’s been a long time since upside and New Jersey can be said together.

Patrick Laine – Everyone will be focused on Auston Matthews but for this year and in dynasties, I prefer Laine.  He’s an amazing offensive talent (think poor man’s Alex Ovechkin) and goes to an ideal situation in Winnipeg.  He’ll step right into the top 6 on a team that I expect to bounce back in a strong way this year.  In leagues that draft rookies, Laine should be the first pick.  In redrafts, I think he’ll end up cracking my top 100.

Loui Eriksson – He had a great year last season in Boston but it was one that I didn’t expect him to repeat.  However, Eriksson significantly increased those chances by going to Vancouver.  Even though the Canucks are terrible, Eriksson will play with the Sedins, who are cyborgs who don’t slow down due to age.  There are few situations better than playing with the Sedins and Eriksson only had 17 power play points last season so there is some upside here.

P.K. Subban – I have no idea how David Poile talked Marc Bergevin into making the big trade but Nashville fleeced Montreal in the most lopsided hockey trade in years.  The Predators shipped out a rapidly declining Shea Weber (more on him later) for Subban, one of the best players in the league who is locked up through his prime. Nashville already had far more offensive talent than Montreal and a much better power play; it’s only going to get better with Subban.  With this move, I think Subban passes Brent Burns and Kris Letang and is now the firm #2 defenseman behind Erik Karlsson.

Roman Josi – He gets to play with Subban instead of Weber; it’s just that simple. Josi was already a #1 D but now he gets a slight boost towards the top 5.

Teuvo Teravainen – While going to Carolina from Chicago looks like a downgrade, Teravainen never received much of a chance to make an impact in Chicago.  Now, he’s a lock for the Hurricanes’ top 6.  The Finnish product is oozing with offensive ability and finally should get the minutes to produce on a regular basis.  He’ll be one of my favorite late round fliers.

Ryan McDonagh – This is an under the radar winner but I like McDonagh to get back to where he was in 2014 instead of the end of last season.  In two seasons, McDonagh dropped 60 shots and had horrible power play points.  Now, Keith Yandle has left Manhattan for Florida making McDonagh the odds on favorite to get back on the Rangers’ first power play unit (their alternatives are quite limited).  I think he gets back to being a D3 in 12 man leagues instead of a fringe hold.

Richard Panik – I won’t get in depth here because I’m planning on doing a sleeper post for Panik in August.  Chicago has 5 guys who will clearly be in their top 6; the 6th spot looks to be Panik’s to lose.  As a pick in the last two rounds of a standard draft, he could end up providing excellent value.

LOSERS:

Carey Price – The Subban – Weber swap is a massive blow for Price’s value.  People who don’t watch hockey closely won’t realize it but at this point in their careers, Weber can’t hold P.K.’s jock.  Montreal is going to be giving up far more shots and those shots will have better quality now.  Price is an amazing goaltender and I wouldn’t be surprised if he still had an elite save percentage but I expect the goals against average to uptick and the wins to decrease.  Some people will have him as the #1 goalie or very close to it; odds are he will be just outside my top 5 now.

Shea Weber – Weber has had Ryan Suter and Roman Josi as partners for most of his career.  Now he’s going to have Andrei Markov or someone else who’s a massive downgrade.  I already wasn’t a fan but now I won’t be drafting Weber anywhere this year.  His name value will keep his ADP much too high.

Marc-Andre Fleury – At this point, he’s still a Penguin meaning he’s relegated to backing up Matt Murray.  If he gets moved to a great spot (I’m looking at you, Dallas), then Fleury becomes a big winner.  It also would help Murray since Fleury will be lurking in case he struggles.  For the time being, Fleury is nothing more than Murray insurance or a lottery ticket.

Andrei Vasilevskiy – There’s been a ton of rumors surrounding Ben Bishop this summer.  He’s an unrestricted free agent after next season and because you can only protect 1 goalie in the expansion draft, Tampa would almost certainly lose Bishop or Vasilevskiy to Las Vegas.  Assuming they move Bishop, Vasilevskiy is a massive winner and is probably a top 10 fantasy goalie.  However, if Tampa decides to just keep both for this season since they’re one of the Cup favorites, it really hurts Vas for this season.  In a keeper league, I’d look to take him this year regardless because he’s going to be a stud in 2017-18.  However, his redraft value is completely dependent on whether Bishop leaves or stays.  If he stays,  Bishop is a huge winner and Vas is a loser.  If Bishop moves, Vas is a huge winner and Bishop takes a slight hit depending on where he goes.

Ducks Defensemen – Even though it’s been widely assumed, they still haven’t moved anybody for forward help.  The Ducks have so many guys cutting the value of each other right now.  Hampus Lindholm is outstanding but doesn’t get PP1 time; that goes to Sami Vatanen who gets a lower amount of minutes than Lindholm and Cam Fowler who’s stuck in the middle.  For fantasy purposes, I hope they move Fowler because I’d love Lindholm in all leagues.

Petr Mrazek – The Red Wings always find a way to make the playoffs but their streak could be in jeopardy this year.  Pavel Datsyuk leaving for Russia is a brutal loss.  Mrazek was dreadful the last couple months of the season and while I don’t think it’ll be that bad, I won’t be targeting the Wings goalies like last year.

Frederik Andersen – I mentioned the trade above but obviously going from a top 5 team to the worst team in the league is going to hurt his stats.  He might get around the same number of wins because he will get additional starts but Andersen is more of a bottom end #2 or elite #3 instead of a strong #2 or, combined with John Gibson, a #1.

Roberto Luongo – I want to be clear that I love Luongo and what the Florida Panthers are doing.  This is more of a disclaimer that he needs to be handcuffed with James Reimer this year.  Reimer got a big money deal for 5 years to be the heir apparent to Luongo.  Luongo didn’t have a massive workload last year starting 62 games but I bet that number is closer to 55 this year now (he plays twice to Reimer’s one game).  Together, they will be an elite #1 goalie.  Without Reimer, you’re going to be short too many starts.  They will be my favorite tandem to draft this season.

That’s all for now guys.  In two weeks, I’ll be posting again on a regular basis with some contributions from others.  The start of the season and the World Cup of Hockey are rapidly approaching!  As always, feel free to ask any questions and leave any comments below.  Hope everyone is having a great summer so far, take care!

  1. Scott says:
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    Thanks for the update, Viz! Looking forward to the hockey season.

  2. Scott says:
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    With Nashville’s strong D, does that help Pekka Rinne?

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Scott: No problem Scott, hope all is well! It definitely helps; Nashville is going to be an elite team and a legit contender for the Cup. The problem is that we are working with a low baseline; Rinne’s 2.48 GAA last year is mediocre and his save percentage was a negative (.908). It wasn’t any better in the playoffs either. I think that he has some upside based on how good the team is but there’s also the chance that they let Hutton play more or get somebody else because goalie could be the only thing holding the Preds back (think Dallas last year). If Rinne is your #2, I think you’ll be okay although I’d want a strong #3 in case he falls on his face again.

      • Bauerdpeed17 says:
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        @Viz: Hutton signed with the blues on July 1st. So which player wins the backup job?

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Bauerdpeed17: You’re right, apologies. I’ve been so used to saying Hutton that I did without thinking. My money would be on Mazanec for now since he’s been in the US for a while; they can let Gunnarsson play in the AHL to get acclimated. This should be clearer in a month or so.

          • Saints says:
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            @Viz:

            How much do you really like Gunnarsson i have a dynastyprospectdraft where all Players under 25 NHL games can be picked.

            Which Goalie would you prefer:
            -Scott Wedgewood NJ
            -Gunnarson NAS
            -Sorokin NYI
            -Gililes CGY
            -Armalis SJ

            I am really interested in your Opinion.

            • Viz

              Viz says:
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              @Saints: I’ll break this down as well as I can.
              Wedgewood already is competing for the backup job. Problem is he’s almost certainly never going to take over for Schneider. After doing some reading,
              Gunnarson appears to have the upper hand for the backup job this year. For short term value, I think he’s the best by a mile. The problem is that Juuse Saros is more than likely the goaltender of the future for the Predators, not Gunnarson. If you want a boost now, he’s your best bet but I have doubts long term.
              Sorokin is arguably the best goalie prospect for the Isles and was just the KHL goalie of the year at 20 years old. I think he has the most upside of anyone here and has a path to playing there since Greiss is 30 and Halak is 31. The concern here is how long it takes for him to come over.
              Gillies is solid. The best thing going for him is that he is already a pro and looked good in his brief AHL stint. He was outstanding at Providence as well. He doesn’t have a clear path to starting though with Elliott just being locked up.
              Armalis is the best goaltending prospect for the Sharks by a fair margin. That said, he’s still a project and Martin Jones just locked down that job for a while with that Conn Smythe worthy playoffs. He’s another high upside guy who has the chance of never making it.

              So based on all of that, I would say that if you want long term help, I’d take the chance on Sorokin panning out in time and if you want help now, I’d probably go with Gunnarson although he may only be the backup for one year before Saros steps up.

              Hopefully this helps! I’m not sure when your draft is but if it’s not for a while, there will probably be better information on all of these guys once camp starts.

              • Saints says:
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                @Viz:
                Wow thank you for this awesome long answer the draft ist already ongoing so i picked the upside guy with sorokin now. Maybe i will take gunnarson in the next round 🙂 i got laine @2 in the draft as well so im pretty happy 🙂

                • Viz

                  Viz says:
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                  @Saints: no problem at all! I like it for sure and would be ecstatic getting Laine.

  3. Saints says:
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    Thank you for the Great Post.
    I’m loving it 🙂
    And really Like to read more of those 🙂

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Saints: Thanks, I appreciate it! I’ll probably be starting to post on a regular basis again in the beginning of August.

      • Saints says:
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        @Viz:

        [email protected]Viz:
        Hay Viz my next pick is almost otc:
        I have 5 guys that are options for me: Now i want to know do you these guys and which of those would you prefer :
        -Gunnarson,G
        -Gusev, Nikita -LW-TB 
        -Kamenev, Vladislav-LW – NAS  
        -Point, Brayden -C-TB  
        -Hudon, Charles-LW – MON  
        -Bailey, Justin – RW-BUF  

        • Viz

          Viz says:
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          @Saints: I’d probably shoot the moon and take one of the Tampa guys; both have tremendous upside. I’d lean towards Gusev but wouldn’t argue with Point. If you want the best combo of floor and ceiling, I’d go Hudon. He’s the safest of the group.

          • Saints says:
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            @Viz:

            I Like Gusev as well but aren’t you also a little bit concerned if he likes to play in the NHL and when he is coming to Tampa i can’t find news about these Topic…
            As these are my Minor league guys and i don’t need them to have an sure impact i will definetly go for the upside with the Tampa guys here.

            • Viz

              Viz says:
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              @Saints: I am a little bit and part of the reason I’d find no problem with taking Point instead.

              • Saints says:
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                @Viz:

                I took gusev now because i need more help on the wings than at the center position. I hope i can grab point with my last pick and im very confident about it 🙂
                Thanks again for your good advice 🙂

                • Viz

                  Viz says:
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                  @Saints: Sounds good, that’s a good plan! No problem at all. I’ll be starting up on Monday again with team previews so look out for that.

                  • Saints says:
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                    @Viz: i definetly will look forward to it 🙂

  4. Veritas says:
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    Thanks for the article VIz, I look forward to reading all of your future updates

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Veritas: no problem! Thanks I appreciate it.

  5. Bobbyboom says:
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    You are the man Viz! Giggity for puck to drop already

    • Viz

      Viz says:
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      @Bobbyboom: Thanks! I know, this dead time of the year is killing me.

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