Alberga’s Fantasy Fix: Free Agency Flashback

Jonathan Marchessault

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 3: Jonathan Marchessault #81 of the Florida Panthers skates with the puck against the New Jersey Devils at the BB&T Center on November 3, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida.

Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Without question, it has been proven in recent years that nothing really good comes of splurging on NHL free agents on July 1st. That being said, in terms of this year’s crop, it’s been a different story thus far. Now that we’re at about the ten game mark, let’s take a look back at the offseason at some of the bargains and disappointments so far. Undoubtedly, some guys will taper off and some will heat up. It’s just life.

In the fantasy hockey world, mistakes are made frequently but sometimes, you’re just in the right place at the right time. (I’m also giving life lessons free of charge)

Can money truly buy you happiness? Only time will tell in regards to the NHL world.

 

THE BAD

Andrew Ladd – LW – New York Islanders

(7 years, $38.5M, $5.5M cap hit)

0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -3, 0 PPP, 0 GWG, 23 SOG

To be honest, there’s a lot of intangibles that former Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd brings to the table. He’s gritty, strong and works his you know what off. With that mind, I’m still laying down the hammer in regards to his offensive ineptitudes to start his Islanders career especially given that contract he was handed. And it’s not like he hasn’t had ample opportunity to produce. The veteran has played a lot with John Tavares and for some reason, they just can’t find the chemistry. To boot, his only point came on an empty netter. You really can’t even script a worse offensive start with a new squad.

 

Loui Eriksson – LW, RW – Vancouver Canucks

(6 years, $36M, $6M cap hit)

0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, -4, 1 PPP

Similar to Ladd, it has been a horrible start for Loui Eriksson in Vancouver. After a great showing playing with the Sedin twins at the World Cup, that chemistry hasn’t transferred over to Vancouver so far. To be fair, the Canucks as a whole have struggled offensively so I can’t lower the boom completely upon Eriksson. In fact, that aforementioned trio hasn’t even been playing much together recently. You would think Vancouver will learn to score eventually but for a guy who’s making that much coin, it’s tough to let him slide at this point.

 

Keith Yandle – D – Florida Panthers

(7 years, $44.5M, $6.35M cap hit)

0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points, 0, 2 PPP, 37 SOG

I preface the following by saying that’s not all about offense but in the fantasy world, it certainly is. For a guy who was drafted top-100 in most leagues, Yandle ain’t doing much. The bright spot – he hasn’t been shy about shooting so it looks like he’s starting to break out a bit. Keep a close eye on this file.

 

Mikkel Boedker – LW – San Jose Sharks

(4 years, $16M, $4M cap hit)

2 goals, 0 assists, 2 points, -5, 0 PPP, 0 GWG, 15 SOG

To be honest, you’re nuts if you drafted Boedker in hopes of him having a season comparable to last year. At this point, we know what he is and he surely isn’t changing. He’s a 10-15 goal, 35 point guy. That’s it, that’s all. In San Jose, he was brought in to add depth to an already strong lineup. He’ll do that but don’t expect him to be your fantasy hockey savior this season.

 

Alex Goligoski – D – Arizona Coyotes

(5 years, $27.375M, $5.475M cap hit)

0 goals, 6 assists, 6 points, -8, 2 PPP, 15 SOG

I’m not crazy about this file in fantasy to begin with. He’s been okay so far. The only thing that scares me is the plus minus department. He’s already a -8 and on a transitioning/young Coyotes team, that number will only get worse. With Oliver Ekman-Larsson in front of him, there’s no doubt that the numbers won’t be as high as in years past either. Something to think about – Goligoski has never finished with a minus rating in his first ten seasons. Sadly, that may change this year. Well, at least he’s super rich now.

 

David Perron – LW, RW – St. Louis Blues

(2 years, $7M, $3.75M cap hit)

4 goals, 1 assist, 5 points, -6, 1 PPP, 1 GWG, 27 SOG

Perron is among many notable NHL players right now who could find their faces on a milk carton very soon. With exception to his goal Sunday night, if you can believe it, Perron’s four points all came on the same night. His October 22nd hat trick in Calgary is basically all he’s done. Again, the Blues offense is struggling as a whole so I’ll cut him some slack. For $3.75M a year, I think they’re expecting a bit more.

 

Frans Nielsen – C – Detroit Red Wings

(6 years, $31.5M, $5.25M cap hit)

2 goals, 5 assists, 7 points, -7, 5 PPP, 1 SHP, 17 SOG

Nielsen has been up and down through the first month of his team in Motown. I still think that he’s a perfect fit in Detroit. He may get paid too much but it doesn’t matter in the fantasy world. He’ll start to get things going as he gets more acclimated with his new squad.

 

Teddy Purcell – LW – Los Angeles Kings

(1 year, $1.6M, 1.6M cap hit)

0, 0, 0, -2, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 (I’m being dramatic)

You look at this list and ask why Teddy Purcell is on it. Well, in my mind, he’s not exactly a fringe NHL player but he sure is producing like one right now. He’s really struggling to gain the attention of Darryl Sutter. He’s only played four games and has been a mainstay in the press box. For a guy whose coming off a 43 point 14 goal season, that’s unacceptable. I’m not even sure he’d be owned in a 30 team fantasy league. Was that too harsh?

THE GOOD

Milan Lucic – LW – Edmonton Oilers

(7 years, $42M, $6M cap hit)

5 goals, 4 assists, 9 points, -1, 3 PPP, 1 GWG

Without question, Milan Lucic has been as advertised in Edmonton. Through 13 games, he has 9 points. Funny enough – his penalty minutes are actually down. He has just 9 PIM so far. Life is good in Edmonton right now.

 

Eric Staal – C – Minnesota Wild

(3 years, $10.5M, $3.5M cap hit)

4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points, +2, 2 PPP, 1 GWG, 28 SOG

Who saw this coming? No one. After a very pedestrian contract year, Staal has surged back into fantasy hockey relevance. He’s Minnesota’s #1 centre currently playing on a line with Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle. While it’s hard to imagine that this type of production is sustainable, never say never because Staal has been underrated his entire career.

 

Jonathan Marchessault – C, LW – Florida Panthers

(2 years, $1.5M, 750 K cap hit)

6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points, +4, 4 PPP, 2 GWG

This is the guy. No doubt about it. In terms of best value/ bang for buck, Marchessault is the club house leader right now. He’s making 750 K and all he’s done is produce at a point-per-game pace thus far. If you can believe it, he’s just six points shy of his career high. Now, it helps playing on Florida’s top line and getting the minutes but damn, is he on fire or what?

 

Colton Sceviour – C, RW – Florida Panthers

(2 years, $1.9M, 950 K cap hit)

5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points, 0, 8 PIM, 3 PPP, 1 GWG

Amidst all 3000 of Florida’s offseason moves, Sceviour was definitely lost in the shuffle coming over from the Dallas Stars. Not anymore! The point totals are up and he’s well on his way to a career year for the Panthers. This has been a pleasant surprise and at 950 K at year, Florida has to be ecstatic with his production.

 

Alex Radulov – RW – Montreal Canadiens

(1 year, $5.75M, $5.75M cap hit)

3 goals, 6 assists, 9 points, +3, 3 PPP, 19 SOG, 18 PIM

Radulov is off to a pretty solid start in Montreal. With the first month or so just about in the books, now is his time to shy. I think his point production will start to pick up. He’s just way too talented and I like the style of game he’s playing right now. He’s potentially still a very good BUY LOW target on the fantasy hockey trade market.

 

Jimmy Vesey – LW – New York Rangers

(2 years, $1.85M, 925 K cap hit)

6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points, +5, 3 PPP, 2 GWG, 21 SOG,

 

I must say – for a kid who was ridiculed for his decision to not sign with Nashville, Vesey is having an incredible rookie season thus far. The naysayers have died down and he’s just doing his thing out there. The Rangers have been ridiculous offensively so far. Stay hot, Jimmy!

 

Other notables: DET Thomas Vanek, NYR Michael Grabner, CAR Lee Stempniak and BUF Kyle Okposo

 

WAIVER WARRIORS

 

  • Alexander Wennberg – C – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Kevin Hayes – C, RW – New York Rangers
  • Michael Grabner – RW, LW – New York Rangers
  • Mike Condon – G – Ottawa Senators
  • Dennis Seidenberg – D – New York Islanders

 

In Episode Four of the Fantasy Fix Podcast, Matt Brown – the producer of Hockey Central at Noon joined me. Find the podcast exclusively ON DEMAND with the SiriusXM APP and Online at Siriusxm.ca or SiriusXM.com

REMINDER:

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