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The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

Free Agent Fantasy Frenzy: The Appetizer

This is the moment in which NHL fans are holding their breaths, the calm before the proverbial storm that is the NHL’s free agency period. My phone, which is set up to receive TSN updates via text message, will be continually beeping with update after update on Sunday. Remembering who went where will also be a tall order, with names big and small switching uniforms, often to teams we wouldn’t have suspected. And we haven’t even gotten into the fantasy implications of these signings. But before we do, there were a few significant player transactions over the past week that should affect fantasy teams next season.

James van Riemsdyk to Toronto
It seemed that no matter who was traded out of Philly, van Riemsdyk couldn’t seem to find a comfortable scoring role on the win-now Flyers. In spite of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter suddenly exiting last season, JVR averaged only 15 minutes of icetime per game in 2011-12. That icetime amount stands to expand in Toronto, which has an underrated forward attack but few forwards with more upside or size. Expect JVR to easily top his career high of 40 points from 2010-11 while also adding to his fantasy value with more power-play time. He’ll be a solid pick in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.

Dennis Wideman to Calgary
If there is one NHL team that needs to rebuild but won’t, it’s the Calgary Flames. So should we be that surprised that Flames GM Jay Feaster first acquired Wideman’s negotiating rights, then immediately threw him $20 million over four seasons? The offensive-minded Wideman should slot in on the Flames’ first-unit power play, but moving to a weaker offense in Calgary shouldn’t improve his point totals from last season. Because of the increased minutes he’ll probably receive in Calgary, expect around 45 points and 20 power-play points from Wideman again this season.

Justin Schultz to Edmonton
It was the NHL’s version of “The Decision.” The 22-year-old Schultz, who has never played an NHL game, will be taking his talents to Edmonton. Many fans of the other 29 teams will no doubt show resentment over his process used, but the team he chose seems to make sense considering the young talent surrounding him. Schultz, who was a point-per-game scorer the past two seasons at the University of Wisconsin, should see top-4 minutes with the Oilers immediately – minutes he would have had to struggle to earn on other teams on his shortlist like the Canucks and the Rangers. Given his likely role on the Oilers’ first-unit power play (ranked third in the NHL last season), Schultz should be penciled in for at least 35 points in his rookie campaign.

Until next time, Happy Canada Day and enjoy the action! Expect the next article to be much lengthier.

Filed in: fantasy hockey, Ian Gooding, | The Goods on Fantasy Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: dennis+wideman, fantasy+hockey, james+van+riemsdyk, justin+schultz

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About The Goods on Fantasy Hockey

My name is Ian Gooding, and this is The Goods on Fantasy Hockey. Given my ability to understand numbers, write sentences, and follow hockey, it’s not a surprise to those who know me that I became a fantasy hockey writer. I started writing about fantasy hockey in 2006 for fantasyhockey.com and became the site’s content editor in 2007. Looking to expand my audience, I joined Kukla’s Korner in the summer of 2011 to create the site’s first fantasy hockey blog.

A few times each week, I’ll provide an article called “Pick Six” where I will write about six players that should either be in your fantasy team’s starting lineup or bench for the upcoming game. As well, I’ll provide the fantasy takes on important hockey developments. You can also email me your questions or comments to gooding74@shaw.ca, or follow me on Twitter.