UFA’s – The Second Wave

By Darryl Dobbs

Free agency opened in the NHL last weekend, and from noon that Saturday until the following Sunday many of the elite players were scooped up by GM’s hungry for that missing piece that will put their team over the top.

The daily action has since slowed down over the past week, but many significant moves still occurred. Here are some of the signings/deals with the most impact on your fantasy squad:

St.Louis locks up Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, Petr Cajanek, and Dan Hinote. Weight had a taste of life as a third-liner, and he didn’t like it. He also obviously felt that being on the second line wasn’t for him either. So that leaves St.Louis, the one city where he can be a first-line center at the age of 35. Fellow American Olympian Bill Guerin’s fantasy value was at an all-time low, but signing with a team that will give him all the quality ice time he needs has certainly changed that. Weight, Guerin, and Keith Tkachuk will form an All American Line that, although long in the tooth. Expect Weight to produce about the same this year as last, while Guerin and Tkachuk will both have excellent comeback seasons.

Tampa Bay picks up Filip Kuba, Marc Denis, and Doug Janik. The Lightning also traded away Darryl Sydor to Dallas. While the acquisition of Denis resolved their goaltending situation once and for all, Kuba and Janik will not make up for the offense lost when Pavel Kubina fled to Toronto. However, the downgrade is only a small one. Kuba should reach the 30-point mark for the first time in his career, and Denis should start 60 games.

N.Y. Rangers sign Martin Straka, Aaron Ward, and Brendan Shanahan. The Rangers needed some size up front, some experience, and they needed to replace the offense of Petr Sykora and Martin Rucinsky. In Shanahan, they accomplished that in one signing. At 37, Shanny may not have another 40 goals in him, but he will easily get 30 and perhaps 70 points. More importantly, he adds the intangibles that a team needs to bring things up a notch. In Straka, he will be returning to the team he played on last year, and he will be returning to his meal ticket, named Jaromir Jagr. Expect a repeat of last year.

N.Y. Islanders sign Brendan Witt, Andy Hilbert, and Tom Poti. Poti has a an outside shot of succeeding as an offensive defenseman in Long Island, but he will have to outplay Alexei Zhitnik and Chris Campoli to do it. Furthermore, Bruno Gervais is an offensive defenseman who may be ready to make the jump, and there are a handful of other prospects that fit the same role in the pipeline. My money is on Poti failing to reach the 30-point mark for the third straight year. As for Hilbert, if he could have found a way to stay with Pittsburgh, he should have taken it. A chance to continue playing with Sidney Crosby, whom he was clicking with at the end of last season, means a big payday down the road. Now, he will battle Sean Bergenheim for the second-line left winger’s spot. He may succeed in that fight, but the prize isn’t Sid the Kid as a linemate. Fifty points is likely out of range for him as a result.

Edmonton signs/acquires Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Marty Reasoner, and Daniel Tjarnqvist. The Oilers got great return for Pronger, especially given that the trade was forced. That doesn’t make them a better team for it, though. They also lost Jaroslav Spacek to free agency, and Tjarnqvist and Smid do not make up for the two losses. Smid is an elite prospect, but he is a few years away from becoming a star. That said, the openings that have occurred on the blueline should see to it that he makes the team this year. Marc-Andre Bergeron will be the new power-play quarterback. As for Lupul, his numbers will improve this year and he will be a star in a couple of years – regardless if he played for Anaheim or Edmonton. This trade doesn’t change a thing, fantasy-wise.

Buffalo signs Teppo Numminen and Jaroslav Spacek. Spacek’s numbers will explode this season in Buffalo. A lethal power play, and seemingly hundreds of offensively-skilled forwards to pass to, will combine to give Spacek a career year.

Atlanta grabs Steve Rucchin, along with a ton of smaller signings. The Thrashers are in a bit of a budget/cap crunch, and they are trying to fill their roster with cheap players. Rucchin just may be the Atlanta fiscally responsible answer to a No.1 center. With all of the skilled centers scooped up off the free agent market (Jason Allison, excepted), Rucchin could wind up playing with Kovalchuk. Then again, he had a shot at playing with Jaromir Jagr last year and look how that turned out.

Phoenix scoops up Jeremy Roenick and Georges Laraque. If you take a look at the Phoenix depth chart, you’ll see that it is really not all that bad. When they grabbed Ed Jovanovski last week, they gave themselves arguably the best one through six defense corps in the NHL. Jeremy Roenick should inject 55 points, plus a ton of leadership, into this lineup. He will also be a good mentor for Mike Comrie, who may be poised to show some of that vast promise that has thus far eluded him.

22 Responses to UFA’s – The Second Wave

  1. leaf_20 says:

    dont forget the leafs signing hal gill, pavel kubina and andrew raycroft to add some much needed help in there own end

    and minnisota also signed a bunch of players like demitra and mark parrish as well as nashville getting jason arenot expect alot of team who missed the play offs last year to be in the running and some team who just didnt feel the need to improve like montreal and philly to miss the playoffs. although montreal has a good young squad with alot of talent i still think that they had some holes in there lign up

  2. mush124 says:

    Kubina is a good defensman but is way overpaid at 5million/season. especially for 4 years… can you say handicap? Hal Gil is a joke, he was a human pilon in the old nhl, and in the nhl consider him nothing more than a water boy. The guy is useless, and like P.j Stock said, the only reason the habs beat his team (bruins) in the playoffs was cause of guys like hal Gill not able to contain speedy forwards. Has for Raycroft, he had worse numbers than Theodore last year (how is that even possible?)

  3. habs_fan_in_korea says:

    I give kudos to Phoenix for putting an effort in to have a serious playoff contending team. Irregardless of JR’s past year, the man is an asset to any team who needs grit and leadership in a bid for the cup. Joeseph put up excellent numbers again last year and can only get better with Jovo in front of him. I look for Doan to have a career year with the knowledge that he will be playing for a playoff contender this season.

  4. Dobber says:

    That was addressed in last week’s article, but with all the action this week, the article was removed from the main page very quickly (so a lot of people missed it). Go to my site if you want to check out my thoughts on the Leaf signings. http://www.dobberhockey.com

  5. Garniss says:

    no no the leafs added nothing but money towards cap…kubina might help this lifeless squad but the other two are cancers

  6. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    Theodore seasons on ice actually wasnt that bad go back and look at his stats.

  7. mikeribeiro says:

    Habs want to improve…but nobody want to come….see what happened with Shanahan ? Better money offer in Montreal but he goes with N.Y…

  8. Farva says:

    Dont jump the gun. Maybe Gill isnt the most mobile, but the guy can control the front of the net. He wont be used on the pp or asked to jump in on the rush, so dont be so critical. We needed size and thats what we got. For a 5/6 Dman, he isnt so bad.

    As for Raycroft, Everyone seems to blow off his RoY campaign and focus on last year. Maybe last year was the fluke. He will have a solid Defense in front of him and I fully expect him to rebound.

    About Kubina, you might be right about being overpaid, but if the cap keeps rising , than the cost of D will keep rising, and since he is on a five year deal he just might end up being a bargain.

  9. SensDude says:

    I just took a look into the NJ cap and they have real problems for next season and I think 1 team that can do a major deal with them is the Oilers.

    One of those 2 will go Gomez or Gionta. If I were the Oilers gm I would prefer Gionta with that quick snap and speed. Oilers would certainly gives to NJ the picks they got for Pronger. Could Paul Martin be in this deal ?

    Also I see something about Biron, one of the teams he could go it`s Nashville, Buffalo gives Biron to Nashville for a 2nd round pick and between 2 players Martin Erat or Jordin Tootoo. If this deal goes Nashville with Arnott, Kariya and Sullivan this team will be for real and a big contender in the west.

    What you guys think ?

  10. habs_fan_in_korea says:

    You think Vokun is done for good? I see Buffalo taking the same road as Gainey, see how they make out for the first half, if they prove they weren’t a fluke and are in contension, pickup a player at trade time like the Habs did with Kovalev. I think, unfortunely, that may be Montreal’s choice again this year……… lets prove me wrong, Bob!

  11. SensDude says:

    Vokoun has blood problems and he still not ready for next season and his career is in jeopardy. I dont think this trade will happend in the next few weeks but before October, Nashville will need a #1 goalie and Buffalo will need to ship Biron somewhere.

  12. SensDude says:

    I just heard on the radio in Ottawa , Chez106 Station that Manny Legacy could be heading to Minnessota.

  13. 24_cups_and_counting says:

    Remember the last “Rookie of the Year” to play professional sports in Toronto? Eric Hinske. Raycroft is hockey’s version of Hinske. Ryder was robbed, Raycroft shouldn’t have even won it anyways.

  14. nyrhockey094 says:

    Isnt that because there is like a 55% salary tax in MTL? So that means the 4.5 mtl offerd him is only like 2 milliion. In ny the 4 he gets is more like 3 million that he gets to take home.

  15. SensDude says:

    it was a flip the coin kinda thing and it went the other way.

  16. wheresthesoda says:

    Rucchin was never expected to play with Jagr this past season, he did his job though as a ranger, and i doubt he has a shot at being atlantas #1 center, Holik has a much better shot at being the #1 guy

  17. Farva says:

    btw Go Expos!

  18. SensDude says:

    New Jersey have signed forward Colin White 18 million for 6 years.

  19. SensDude says:

    was just listenning to Fan radio 890 in Ottawa and they said that there`s a rumour going on in TO that is been reporting by Fan radio 990 that Sykora is heading to the Leafs.

    here goes one more that was rumoured in Mtl going somewhere else.

  20. Enigma says:

    Great comparison!

  21. SensDude says:

    According to Le journal de Montreal, Bob Gainey is happy with his roster and he wont attempt to sign free agents. He will give a chance to his youth to make the team.

  22. bpanther83 says:

    Thats true about Raycroft, I mean just about every goalie goes through the sophmore curse. Theadore did, then had a great 3rd year (bad 4th but whatever). It’s their 3rd year that defines a goalie.

    As for Gill. He isn’t nearly as bad as people say. The guy is like a +41 or something like that in his career, if he was THAT bad he would be no where near that on a team that never does good.

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