I had planned to write about UFA Will Butcher's fit with whatever team he decides on, but it seems his life-changing decision schedule doesn't match up with my rambling schedule. But this weekend has provided me with some unanticipated UFA signings that are going to hurt people with prospects on the bubble. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but here we go:
Matt Hendricks has signed a 1-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets
Who this hurts: Marko Dano, Brandon Tanev, JC Lipon, Joel Armia
Going into the 2017-18 campaign, I was expecting to see Dano and Tanev with the big club about 50% of the time, with Armia or Lipon also earning some bottom-six minutes in a grinder-type role. With veteran Hendricks in town, their competiton just got alot tougher. Even though they would probably produce at a better rate than the vet, the team desperately looking to take the next step towards the post-season seems to think help will come from experience. Because of this, I'm not predicting Lipon or Armia to see any NHL time outside of injury fill-in duties.
Drew Stafford has signed a 1-year deal with the New Jersey Devils
Who this hurts: Blake Speers, Stefan Noesen, Joseph Blandisi, Nathan Bastian
This is a less drastic situation for fantasy owners, because New Jersey lacks depth so badly that anyone could potentially earn good minutes if they produce. So even though this means Speers or Blandisi will have to work a little harder to ensure they get decent ice time, the club desperate for helpful youth (rather than a longshot playoff entrance) is pretty likely to give them the benefit of the doubt. I predict both Speers and Blandisi with see a handful of games each this year (maybe half the season), and Noesen with stick with the club in a (very) depth role. Bastian could see NHL time with a strong camp, but that didn't cut it for Speers last year, so I'm preparing for one year of AHL seasoning for the new pro.
Francois Beauchemin has signed a 1-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks
Who this hurts: Jacob Larsson (but not really)
Given how deep the depth on defence was last season before the expansion draft, most people expected Larsson to take another year on loan in the SHL before jumping into the Ducks lineup. This signing signals that the team feels the same way, despite his fantastic play and status as a near-lock to make the NHL within a year or two. So this signing hurts owners' dreams of an immediate transition more than they hurt the prospect, who is doing just fine growing overseas. This was also a necessary signing to plug the holes created by the injuries sustained to d-men last playoffs.
The latest edition of the DPR Podcast Summer Series is out, with looks at upcoming prospects in the Buffalo, Chicago, Anaheim, Long Island, and Philidelphia organizations witht he help of special guest Russ Cohen. You can check that out for free right here:
Keep an eye out for a big feature coming from the site very soon…an Organization Ranking of Prospects is coming soon with contributions from many of our writers. Tis is gunna be a big, big piece with tons of content and some very interesting opinions I'm sure, so be sure to check it out next week.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck preparing your rosters for the upcoming fatasy season!