Free Agency Update: Jagr, Whitney, Brodeur, Schultz, Garrison, Souray
(7/2/12) With NHL free agency opening July 1st, the frenzy is now underway and we're watching intently to see which teams and players are the winners and losers from a fantasy perspective. The big prizes are still on the market - Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are the two most prominent names - but the first two days revealed several significant signings, and a number of players also re-upped with their current teams. We'll take a look at a few of the bigger moves and rumors, and for the full list of signings, click here.
The Oilers won the Justin Schultz sweepstakes, as one of the most sought-after players on the market signed on to play in Edmonton. Schultz is a 21-year old offensive defenseman out of the University of Wisconsin, where he managed an impressive 91 points in 78 games over the last two seasons, and was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back campaigns. Schultz gets a major boost to his keeper value with the signing. He'll be manning the point for years to come with the likes of Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and Yakupov in front of him, and he has the potential to round into a very good player. It's an exciting signing, but don't get too carried away if you're in a one-year re-draft league. Schultz is listed at 6'1", 163, and he has yet to play his first NHL game. He has growing to do in more ways than one.
The Dallas Stars also made a splash, signing Ray Whitney to a 2-year, $9 million contract. Whitney is 40 years old, but that seems like a bargain.
Long-time Vancouver Canuck Sami Salo brings his booming point-shot to Tampa Bay, as the veteran defenseman signed a 2-year, $7.5 million deal with the Lightning. It's a significant amount to devote to a player who hasn't topped 70 games played in a season since before the lockout, but Tampa Bay is desperate for help on the PP.
And while the Canucks let Salo walk, they turned around and signed former Panther Jason Garrison to a 6-year, $27.6 million contract. Last season, Garrison's 16 goals were third most by a defenseman, and only Shea Weber scored more times with the man-advantage.
According to Darren Dreger, Jaromir Jagr wants to play in Montreal, but he also wants $4 million for the year. We'll see how it plays out, but if he does join the Habs, it probably hurts his fantasy value a little compared to last season in Philly.
Welcome back to the NHL, Alex Radulov... and goodbye. We already knew Radulov was fleeing back to Russia and the KHL, but it's now official after he signed for four years with CSKA Moscow.
Martin Broduer stared down the Devils by hiring an agent to possibly test the market, but the team blinked and decided to pay their hall of fame goalie. Terms of the 2-year deal have not yet been disclosed.
The Ducks are gambling on the health of veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray, who will be 36 to start the season and has had a career of injury problems. They signed the point-man to a 3-year, $11 million contract. Souray probably has a little fantasy value to be squeezed dry, but for that price, it seems like the Ducks over-committed.
For our full fantasy analysis of these moves and all the offseason's transactions, make sure to pick up the Fantasy Hockey Standard 2012-13 Draft Guide - available mid-August.