Fantasy Hockey: NHL Free Agency Recap

Updated: October 14, 2020 at 2:32 pm by Brock Seguin

It’s almost been one week since NHL Free Agency opened and some of the biggest fish have been reeled in.

I took a look at five of the more prominent signings and pushed them through our Projections model to find out if their fantasy value increased in their new situation. I’ve included those projections (subject to change as the offseason progresses) and a breakdown of each of the signings.


Alex Pietrangelo – D – Vegas Golden Knights

Signed: 7 years x $8.8 million AAV

Player

Pos.

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PPP

SOG

ATOI

Alex Pietrangelo

D

77.0

13.9

30.0

43.8

11.4

205.9

23.75

Pietrangelo signed the biggest deal of free agency so far and his addition has had a ripple effect on the @Vegas Golden Knights roster. They traded @Paul Stastny to the @Winnipeg Jets, @Nate Schmidt to the @Vancouver Canucks and let @Nick Cousins walk to clear space for Pietrangelo.

While it seems like a lot to give up to add a defenseman, Pietrangelo is an elite player that will take their blueline to another level. It’s a terrific move for the Golden Knights but I’m not so sure it helps Pietrangelo’s fantasy value. After Peter DeBoer took over as the head coach, he leaned heavily on @Shea Theodore on PP1. From that point on, Theodore was third among defensemen in goals (7) and tied for fourth in points (18). It didn’t stop there. When the NHL returned to play, Theodore was near a point-per-game in the playoffs, scoring seven goals with 12 assists (19 points) in 20 games.

You can’t ignore that kind of production just because you added Pietrangelo. The former Blues captain will take on the more difficult minutes at 5v5 but I’m not convinced that he’s going to take Theodore’s spot on the top power-play unit, limiting his fantasy upside in 2021. Still, he’s a lock to score double-digit goals and 40-plus points, making him a stong No.2 defenseman with No.1 upside.

Taylor Hall – LW – Buffalo Sabres

Signed: 1 year x $8.0 million AAV

Player

Pos.

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PPP

SOG

ATOI

Taylor Hall

LW

75.0

26.8

47.3

74.1

26.9

269.8

19.82

Hall surprised the hockey world when he joined the @Buffalo Sabres on a one-year deal. Hall reunites with Ralph Krueger, who coached him during the lockout-shortened season. That was one of Hall’s best seasons, ranking ninth in the NHL with 50 points (16G / 34A) in 45 games.

Hall immediately boosts the Sabres’ top-6 and could benefit a ton if he ends up a line with Jack Eichel. Buffalo is doing everything they can to keep Eichel happy, so I’d be surprised if Hall doesn’t start the season on his wing. Adding @Eric Staal via trade helps solidify the second line and allows you to play Hall and Eichel together.

The 28-year-old winger hasn’t been great in the last two seasons, ranking t-35th in points-per-game (0.91), scoring at a 23-goal, 52-assist (75 points) per 82-game pace. While that’s not terrible, it’s a far cry from his Hart Trophy season where he had 93 points in 76 games. The truth about Hall probably lies somewhere in the middle with him being a point-per-game player in 2021.

Torey Krug – D – St. Louis Blues

Signed: 7 years x $6.5 million AAV

Player

Pos.

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PPP

SOG

ATOI

Torey Krug

D

73.0

9.4

44.6

54.0

24.2

193.1

22.35

Krug is an interesting case. Krug had a great run in Boston, averaging 47.9 points per season for seven years. He turned into one of the league’s best power-play quarterbacks but played somewhat sheltered 5v5 minutes behind Zdeno Chara throughout his career. Now in St. Louis, Krug will be relied upon to be a top-pairing defenseman while quarterbacking the Blues’ PP1.

The question surrounding Krug is: how much of his production can be attributed to playing on a power-play with @Patrice Bergeron, @Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak?

I don’t think there’s any question that they helped boost his production but he also didn’t sign with the @Detroit Red Wings. The Blues have had a solid PP over the years and Krug’s PPP shouldn’t take too much of a hit. Also, the potential increase in 5v5 usage could help offset any drop-off on the power-play.

Tyson Barrie – D – Edmonton Oilers

Signed: 1 year x $3.75 million AAV

Player

Pos.

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PPP

SOG

ATOI

Tyson Barrie

D

76.0

11.4

40.9

52.3

20.2

200.6

22.30

Things did not go as planned during Barrie’s one-year stop in Toronto. The one-year deal with the Oilers makes sense for both the team and Barrie. The player gets a chance to play on top power-play in the league to try and build his value back up before he hits the market again next year. And the team gets a high-quality defenseman that buys prospects like @Evan Bouchard an extra year to develop.

Many will argue that he played with Toronto, who ranked sixth in the NHL in PP% but Morgan Rielly spent a lot more time on the top unit than Barrie did. In his ≈58 minutes with Barrie on PP1, Toronto scored 12.31 GF/60, which was better than the 10.56 GF/60 in ≈125 minutes with Rielly.

Moving to Edmonton with Oscar Klefbom likely out long-term, Barrie should be in for a huge bump in production. He had back-to-back 50-point seasons in Colorado before 2019-20 and that’s not out of the question on a unit with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Tyler Toffoli – LW/RW – Montreal Canadiens

Signed: 4 years x $4.25 million AAV

Player

Pos.

Team

GP

G

A

PTS

PPP

SOG

ATOI

Tyler Toffoli

LW/RW

81.0

24.4

22.5

46.9

11

237.1

16.70

Toffoli waited a few days before signing with the Canadiens at a team-friendly $4.25M AAV. Toffoli played extremely well during his briefs stop in Vancouver and provides a huge boost to the Canadiens top-6. Toffoli was a 31-goal scorer in 2016 but appears to be more of a 25-goal, 25-assist ceiling player after the first seven years of his career.

In Montreal, Toffoli will likely land on a line with @Nick Suzuki and @Josh Anderson. It’s a completely new-look line, so there’s a lot of uncertainty but it looks great on paper. The Canadiens often balanced out their PP units in 2019-20, so it probably won’t matter whether he’s on the @Shea Weber or @Jeff Petry unit–he’ll produce about 10 PPP. This move doesn’t affect his ceiling or floor. He’s a consistent player with limited upside.


Alex Pietrangelo, Fantasy Hockey, NHL, Taylor Hall, Torey Krug, Tyler Toffoli, Tyson Barrie