With the NHL season looming around the corner it is time to take a look at some of key players that will sport new jerseys this season. Some of these players were dealt for various reasons, others were Free Agent acquisitions. We’ll take a look at the Top 10 offseason moves with the biggest fantasy impact.
Bobby Ryan – RW – Ottawa Senators
With the Anaheim Ducks signing both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to monster contracts last year it was obvious that the 2005 number 2 overall pick was going to be on the move at some point. When the Senators lost their long-time captain Daniel Alfredsson to free-agency they struck quickly and acquired Ryan. The Senators sent prospects Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen along with a first overall pick for the 26-year-old. Ryan comes to Ottawa having scored 30-plus goals in each of his first four seasons. However his ice-time was cut by almost 4 minutes from two years ago and finished with just 11 goals in the shortened campaign. In Ottawa he will likely see time on the top-line with Jason Spezza which could instantly become one of the best duos in the NHL. He should have a much bigger role in Ottawa than he did in Anaheim. It is reasonable to expect another 30-goal season from the new Senator.
Tyler Seguin – C – Dallas Stars
Seguin was dealt to Dallas in a seven player trade on July 4th. A lot of Boston media members were criticizing Seguin’s focus during the Bruins playoff run last season.
“He’s got to become more of a professional,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.
It isn’t very often you see a second overall pick getting traded after just three years, but that was the case here. After posting 67 points in 81 games in 2011-12, Seguin saw his numbers drop in the lockout shortened season. He posted 16 goals and 16 assists (32 points) in 48 games. He was drafted as a center but has played most of his NHL career as a winger. The Stars have said they plan to shift Seguin back to his natural position.
“We’re looking at somebody that can obviously play with [Jamie] Benn,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Thursday. “It is a position we wanted to fill, and it is the natural position for Tyler, and he’s looking forward to playing it.”
Seguin will see an expanded role in Dallas opposed to the third line minutes he was playing at the end of the season in Boston. A 65+ point season should be expected from the 21-year-old.
Loui Eriksson – LW – Boston Bruins
In the Seguin trade, the Bruins received 28-year-old winger Loui Eriksson. He posted 12 goals and 17 assists last season. Prior to that he had three consecutive seasons of 71-plus points. Eriksson is traditionally under-rated in Fantasy Drafts and that likely will not change in his new home. He has missed only three games in the last four seasons, making him a safe pick in any format. The Swede will see top-6 minutes alongside either David Krejci or Patrice Bergeron, who are both tremendously skilled play-makers. Drafting Eriksson basically pencils 25 goals and 45 assists into your lineup; great value for someone who you’re likely to get around the 5th round.
David Clarkson – RW – Toronto Maple Leafs
Clarkson was one of the most sought after Free Agents this offseason. Ultimately he decided to sign in his hometown with the Maple Leafs. After scoring 30 goals in 2011-12 the Maple Leafs inked the power-forward to a seven-year, $36.75 million dollar deal. Clarkson measures in at 6-foot-1-inch, 200 lbs. and plays exactly as you would expect. He fits in perfectly with what the Maple Leafs like to do. He is a big body who plays very physical and is not afraid to go to the dirty areas to bury the biscuit. Although it may be unreasonable to expect him to return to 30 goals in 2013-14, 20-25 goals is certainly attainable. Don’t reach for Clarkson because of the big deal that he got, however he should represent great value as a mid-round pick.
Nathan Horton – RW – Columbus Blue Jackets
Horton was another big fish in the free agent pond this July, but he announced that he was not interested in playing for a big market team. At the end of the day Horton signed a seven-year deal worth $37.1 million. He joins a Columbus team that surprised a lot of people last year with strong play from Sergei Bobrovsky that made them buyers at the trade deadline. At the deadline they went out and acquired Marian Gaborik and with the Horton signing they now have two very capable goal scorers to play in their top-6. He topped 20-goals in each of his first six seasons but has dealt with some injuries lately which makes him a high-risk, high-reward player. If healthy he should be able to score 20 goals no problem, but be wary of the injury concerns and the post payday drop-off.
Cory Schneider – G – New Jersey Devils
In one of the more shocking offseason moves, the Vancouver Canucks finally ended their goalie saga by sending Schneider to the Devils for the ninth overall pick in this years draft. They took London Knights forward Bo Horvat with the pick. After not being able to find a buyer for Roberto Luongo’s mammoth of a contract, they had no choice but to send Schneider elsewhere. Schneider goes to New Jersey where he will once again find himself in a battle for starts with the great Martin Brodeur. However Brodeur’s career is winding down and when that time comes, the crease will be Schneider’s. This situation reminds me a lot of the Green Bay Packers Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers who had to wait behind Brett Favre. He learned a lot from the veteran and he is now one of the NFL’s best. Being in a timeshare with Brodeur will limit Schneider’s value this year, but if you are in a keeper league then he should make for a great pick. Expect him to continue to put up a great Goals Against Average and Save Percentage but temper your expectations as far as wins are concerned.
Jonathan Bernier – G – Toronto Maple Leafs
Another timeshare has developed this offseason. The Maple Leafs went out and got Bernier from the Kings in exchange for Matt Frattin and Ben Scrivens. Bernier was the 11th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft but has never been given a fair chance to start because of the presence of Jonathan Quick. He now moves to Toronto where he will battle with James Reimer for crease-time. He was great last season in limited action. He went 9-3-1 with the NHL’s second best GAA (1.88) and 12th best SV% (.922). The 25-year-old is 29-20-6 with a 2.36 GAA and .912 SV% in his career. If I were to pick right now I would say Reimer is the favorite to win the starting job heading into training camp, solely because of his playoff performance. However it will likely be close to an even split this season unless one of the two absolutely tanks. Toronto should be a very competitive team but as long as they’re splitting starts their value is going to be lower than those who start 60 games.
Mike Ribeiro – C – Phoenix Coyotes
Phoenix has been searching for a number 1 center for years now. They have finally found their man in Ribeiro who they signed to a four-year, $22 million dollar deal this offseason. The 33-year-old had a great season in his first year in Washington posting 49 points in 48 games which was good for 10th in the NHL. It was the first time that he has been a point-per-game player since he had 83 points in 76 games in 2007-08. There is not much to say about Ribeiro. He is usually good for close to 20 goals and around 40 assists. He will not have the supporting cast he did in Washington, but will be given all the opportunity in the world to succeed. Ribeiro is not a flashy name on your fantasy team, but it is a productive and safe one.
Jarome Iginla – RW – Boston Bruins
TSN’s Aaron Ward tweeted that Iginla was traded to the Bruins at the deadline last season, when in reality he ended up being dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Well things have come full circle now as Iginla signed a one-year, $6 million dollar deal with Boston. Iggy posted 11 points in 13 games after being traded to the Pens and also added 12 points in 15 games in the playoffs. He is not the player he used to be but the 36-year-old is still a serviceable scorer and should be able to bank the 20 goals he needs to reach 550 for his career. It is safe to assume that Iginla will post close to 25 goals and 35 assists on a great Bruins team.
Vincent Lecavalier – C – Philadelphia Flyers
After playing all of his 14 NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Lecavalier is on his way to the City of Brotherly Love after being bought out this offseason. He later signed a 5-year $22.5 million dollar deal with the Flyers. Over the last few years he has been a consistent 20 goal, 30 assist player. Not quite the 100 points he once produced but he should be one of the NHL’s most productive second line centers this season. The name will likely jump off of draft sheets at some people but remember he has not been a point per game player since 2007-08. He should be considered as a low-end #2 – high-end #3 center on your fantasy team.
Editor’s Note: Keep an eye out for our Top-5 Goalie Battles article later this week in which we will outline this year’s most intriguing goalie timeshare’s.