Prospects Ramblings: Prospects moving via Free Agency

Peter Harling

2017-07-02

LA Kings sign top prospect goalie Cal Petersen

July 1st is a big day in hockey as it marks the opening bell of the Free agent Frenzy. The deals signed have a massive ripple effect through fantasy hockey leagues as well: Players on new teams in different situations, playing with different linemates, under a new Coaching system, and of course new (often inflated) cap hits.

While the majority of relevant signings in free agency tend to pertain primarily towards established NHL players and is more of a DobberHockey story line, there are some prospects on the move as well. Most significant prospects have their NHL right protected but this year it seems we have seen a significant number of RFA players fail to receive a qualifying offer from their respective NHL team and thus became UFAs on July 1st.

Of course there are other prospects signing contracts as free agents who were undrafted and are coming from College or Europe primarily

Here are the top prospects signed via free agency as of July 2nd.

The top prospect signed as a free agent has to be goalie Cal Petersen who was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres but pulled the old Jimmy Vesey and didn’t sign with the Sabres allowing him to become a free agent. The signing is a big coupe  for the Kings as he instantly becomes their top goalie prospect and will be the starting goalie in the AHL while he earns his pro stripes. His fantasy value should be high as he has little competition outside of the current starter Jonathan Quick.

The Kings also added an intriguing prospect in the giant Belarussian defenseman Stepan Falkovsky, who was originally drafted only last year by the Calgary Flames. The Flames are deep in defensive prospects with Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, Tyler Wotherspoon and now Jusso Valimaki. In LA, Falkovsky has less competition. The Belarussian is a missive 6-7 and 225 pounds. Since he started in the OHL his skating has made huge gains as he grows into his body. His fantasy upside may be less than his NHL value but he has shown signs of offensive upside making good outlet passes as opposed to defaulting to glass and out. He also owns a very heavy slap shot that can be a weapon on the power play. He is still a very raw talent and a project to be sure, but a nice free add for the Kings and a player worth putting on your watch list.

The Montreal Canadiens signed three prospects, centers Byron Froese and Peter Holland (Holland may not be considered a prospect I grant you). Both are former Toronto Maple Leafs and are likely AHL bound as they struggled to have an impact on the Leafs during their dark days. Froese is a solid AHL player, strong on both sides of the puck and cleans up on draws. Holland has more skill but struggles to find it consistently in the NHL. The Habs also signed a defenseman in Joe Morrow; the former first rounder of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011 is now on his fourth NHL team and still only has 65 career NHL games played. Injuries last season limited him to just 20 total regular season games and he is a likely candidate to play in the AHL with Laval. I still believe he has some fantasy value if he can stay healthy and is played in a limited role in the NHL.

Speaking of injured defensemen, the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft Ryan Murphy became a free agent after Carolina gave up on him. The Minnesota wild signed the offensive defenceman in hopes that inj