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Offseason Fantasy Fallout

Alan Joseph

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As always, there have been a lot of noteworthy players on the move over the offseason, and we’re here to help you keep track of how the fantasy landscape has changed. We’ve seen some big changes in goal and some blockbuster deals involving skaters, and now’s a good time to start thinking about how these players will fit in on their new teams. Some of these guys left enormous holes on their old teams, and it’ll be worth monitoring who steps up to fill those gaps.

FORWARDS

Taylor Hall, LW, NJ Devils

Hall was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2010 draft by the Oilers and was highly productive when healthy in Edmonton, but was shipped off for unproven blueliner Adam Larsson in a head-scratching move. While some may speculate on the reasoning, the 24-year-old arrives in New Jersey as the star of the show in his prime. The Devils had the league’s worst offense last season, and it can only be improved by Hall slotting in on a quality line with Adam Henrique and Kyle Palmieri. After the trade, he should have a chip on his shoulder and a massive offensive load before him. Hall will do everything he can to equal his 80-point campaign from 2013-14, and while he may not reach quite that high, the opportunity is undeniable; owners should feel comfortable banking on a big year.

Milan Lucic, LW, Edmonton Oilers

Goodbye Taylor Hall, hello Milan Lucic? The Oilers got their fair share of backlash from the Hall trade, but the 28-year-old Lucic should step in and make an immediate impact after signing a seven-year, $42 million contract. The winger put up 55 points in his only campaign with the Kings last season, and he consistently flirted with 50-plus as a member of the Bruins after taking on a larger role. A 2005 second-round pick, Lucic also brings a nasty mentality, as he’s surpassed 200 hits in four of the last five years. The top line of the Oilers is one to be feared with Lucic in the fold to protect Connor McDavid; that combination could make for fantasy gold.

David Backes, C/RW, Boston Bruins

After signing a five-year, $30 million deal to leave St. Louis, Backes is in an interesting situation. The natural center could end up on the wing with Boston, where he’d be an obvious upgrade over Jimmy Hayes and David Pastrnak. However, the 32-year-old may also enter as the third-line center behind Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. While it’s not clear where he’ll skate just yet, the 2003 second-round pick has been a consistent provider of 45-plus points in his career, as he’s reached that mark every full season since 2008-09 (not including the lockout-shortened year). Backes shouldn’t take a step back in production, but his draft stock may take a hit with an uncertain role despite Boston’s offense ranking fifth in the NHL last year. Jori Lehtera and Paul Stastny will enjoy tremendous opportunities in St. Louis and deserve fantasy owners’ attention, especially with Lehtera expected to dish the puck to Russian sniper Vladimir Tarasenko.

Kyle Okposo, RW, Buffalo Sabres

Welcome to Buffalo, Kyle Okposo. The winger has been downright deadly as a member of the Islanders the past three years – 69, 51 and 64 points. He joins an offense that was ranked 25th last year, but the 28-year-old will boost the Sabres’ efficiency next to Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane on the top line. The 2006 No. 7 pick also brings a power-play touch, having potted seven goals and 16 helpers last season. The Islanders’ wing won’t look the same without Okposo, but P.A. Parenteau (career-high 67 points with the Isles in 2011-12) and Anders Lee (25 goals two years ago) will have opportunities to step into more premium roles.

Andrew Ladd, LW, New York Islanders

Ladd split last season between Chicago and Winnipeg, but still managed 25 goals, 21 assists and 45 PIM. The Islanders have shuffled a few players around after landing in the conference semifinals in 2015-16, which could place the 30-year-old next to star John Tavares and newbie P.A. Parenteau on the top line. Signed to a seven-year deal, Ladd should have no issues settling in and potting at least 20 tallies with his new team, and the fact that he’ll surely get the chance to skate with Tavares could help him reach 60 points for the second time in his career.

Derick Brassard, C, Ottawa Senators

The Senators decided to pass on Mika Zibanejad’s potential for a breakout year by bringing in Brassard, who offers more experience to a team that clearly wants to win now. The 28-year-old should fit in nicely with Mike Hoffman and Bobby Ryan on the second line, with his power-play ability also presenting a clear upgrade from the younger Zibanejad. The 2006 No. 6 pick has put up 58 total points during the man advantage the past three years, which should help improve Ottawa’s last-ranked special teams. Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Curtis Lazar almost certainly stick to a bottom-six role throughout the year after this move by the Sens.

Mika Zibanejad, C, New York Rangers

Zibanejad had a career year with the Sens this past season, as he lit the lamp 21 times – including seven game-winning goals – and assisted on 30, both career marks for the young center. Ready to reach his potential, the 23-year-old’s been shipped off in exchange for Brassard to a playoff team that was also the seventh-best offense in the league last year. Ottawa may regret giving up on Zibanejad, who could very well excel on the second line with the Rangers and reach new heights in his sixth campaign as a pro.

Mikkel Boedker, LW, San Jose Sharks

Boedker inked a four-year deal to join a powerful offense in San Jose that’s primed for another run at the Stanley Cup. The 26-year-old will slot as the second-line left wing with Logan Couture at the helm, which could lead to extra opportunities in front of the goal. Boedker’s failed to hit 20 tallies in his eight-year career, but has also never played with a high-volume offense like the Sharks (especially on the power play, where the team ranked first last year). If the Danish winger secures a role in the top six, as expected, Boedker’s floor could be 50 points.

Loui Eriksson, LW, Vancouver Canucks

Fantasy owners probably were disappointed to hear Eriksson leave Boston, where he and the team succeeded on offense with ease – at least last season. Now with the Canucks, the 31-year-old earns top-line duty next to the Sedin brothers, which isn’t a bad draw at all either. Vancouver was eighth in the league in scoring last year, so proceed with the Swede as normal come draft day. It’s unclear who will step up in Eriksson’s absence in Boston, but if David Backes flanks the wing, he could be the biggest beneficiary.

Teuvo Teravainen, C/LW, Carolina Hurricanes

Teravainen is young, but he showed enough potential in a bottom-six role with the Blackhawks to instill confidence that he can thrive if given a shot. Now with the Hurricanes, who acquired him and Bryan Bickell for a pair of draft picks, the 21-year-old has that chance. The 2012 first-round pick enters 2016-17 with an outside shot at cracking the top six for Carolina; However, with Jordan Staal at the helm and Victor Rask having signed a new contract, the Finn may be asked to play left wing rather than his natural center position.

Troy Brouwer, RW, Calgary Flames

Brouwer spent just one season with the Blues, notching 18 goals, 21 assists and 62 PIM in 82 contests before departing for Calgary on a four-year, $18 million deal. Health seems to be no obstacle for the 30-year-old, as he’s missed only one game in the last five seasons. The veteran will enjoy skating on the top line next to youngsters Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, which should have owners salivating for a career year. Meanwhile, back in St. Louis, David Perron – back with the team that drafted him in 2007 – will look to replace Brouwer on the second line and return to fantasy relevance.

Frans Nielsen, C, Detroit Red Wings

Pavel Datsyuk left the Red Wings for Russia, leaving a large void to fill. Enter Nielsen, who had spent his entire career with the Islanders before departing this summer on a six-year, $31.5 million deal that has Detroit hoping he can fill Datsyuk’s gap. The 32-year-old potted 20 goals and added 32 helpers last year behind John Tavares, and he now claims a similar role on the second line with Henrik Zetterberg at the helm for Detroit. New York was much more efficient on offense, but Nielsen’s real value will come on the man advantage and the penalty kill. With the Dane’s departure from Long Island, the window is open for Brock Nelson, who notched 40 points last year.

Thomas Vanek, LW, Detroit Red Wings

Vanek had a 41-point season with the Wild before an unfortunate injury – broken and displaced ribs – ended his playoff run. The 32-year-old has done his fair share of journeying the past few years, as the long-time Sabre bounced from Montreal to the Islanders to the Wild before inking a one-year deal with Detroit this offseason. Once healthy, the winger will have to battle for a top-six role with the Red Wings. The 2003 No. 5 pick was once one of the steadiest scorers in the league, but he’s coming off the worst season of his career and faces competition from a number of young wingers for ice time.

Teddy Purcell, RW, Los Angeles Kings

Coming off a 43-point season shared between Edmonton and Florida, Purcell enters the Kings’ thin forward ranks on a one-year deal. The 30-year-old isn’t expected to earn a spotlight role in his new digs, but slipping in as a top-six forward isn’t out of the question if, say, Marian Gaborik gets hurt. (It’s been known to happen.) The according jump in ice time would be beneficial for the winger, but until he actually carves out that role, Purcell remains a fantasy wild card.

Eric Staal, C, Minnesota Wild

Staal is 31 years old and struggled to connect with the Rangers after being traded by Carolina at the deadline last season. The center put up 39 points over the course of the year, but didn’t seem to resonate in New York (six points in 20 contests). Now he’s landed in Minnesota on a three-year deal, giving the Wild a useful veteran destined for second- or third-line duty. His 30-goal campaigns are well behind him, though, and it’s hard to see Staal experiencing a rebound with how invisible he looked on the ice toward the end of last season.

P.A. Parenteau, RW, NY Islanders

In his second go-around with the Islanders, Parenteau assumes the role of top-line right wing with Kyle Okposo having departed for Buffalo. The veteran had his best campaigns as a pro in 2010-11 and 2011-12 with New York, registering 120 points in that two-year stint. Now that the 33-year-old has been freed from the rebuilding Leafs, he should be a decent replacement for Okposo on a team that made a run to the conference semifinals just last year.

Joe Colborne, C, Colorado Avalanche

Freshly signed to a two-year deal, Colborne joins a crowded center position in Colorado after dropping a career-high 44 points in his third season with Calgary. If the 26-year-old is confined to third-line duty at his natural position, he’ll add depth to the 20th-ranked offense last season. However, the 2008 first-round pick may play left wing, which could make for a decent second line alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Blake Comeau. Mikael Backlund slots right into Colborne’s spot for the Flames, and the Swede has an opportunity to provide excellent value if he can stay healthy.

DEFENSEMEN

P.K. Subban, Nashville Predators

In one of the more surprising trades of the offseason, Subban heads to Nashville, where the Preds get younger behind the blue line with the addition of an explosive defenseman. They’ve got the makings of a tremendous top pair with Subban and Roman Josi, but then again, they had a tremendous top pair when Weber was in town too. The 27-year-old Subban was well on his way to a career campaign (51 points and 75 PIM in 68 contests), but it was cut short by a neck injury, which isn’t expected to affect him this season. Although he no longer gets to play in front of the game’s best goalie, Nashville’s offense has scary potential. The blueliner will feast on the power play and could erupt for his best season to date.

Shea Weber, Montreal Canadiens

After being swapped straight up for P.K. Subban, Weber goes from the top pair in Nashville to the top pair in Montreal, although new partner Nathan Beaulieu is certainly no Roman Josi. Still, the 30-year-old has been an ironman throughout his career and has surpassed 40 points in seven straight campaigns (excluding the lockout year) as well as consistently racking up hits. The blueliner made a living off the power play last season – 14 goals and 12 assists – and figures to serve as a key cog in Montreal’s special-teams efforts. On the surface, Weber’s value doesn’t change, but it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to his new home.

Keith Yandle, Panthers

The Panthers wasted no time in securing Yandle with a seven-year, $44.45 million contract after dealing for him in late June. The 29-year-old appeared in all 82 games last year with the Rangers, notching five goals and 42 assists (20 on the power play), but disappeared in the first round of the playoffs. Still, he looks to be the perfect mentor for the young Aaron Ekblad, who has put up 35-plus points in his first two seasons. Yandle’s offensive prowess will help create more opportunities last season’s eighth-ranked attack. Meanwhile, Marc Staal slots into the top pair for the Rangers, but has never surpassed 29 points in his career, and even that was a long time ago in 2011-12.

Brian Campbell, Chicago Blackhawks

Campbell is a savvy veteran who happened to win a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2009-10, and now he’s back on a one-year deal. While his best days are behind him, the 37-year-old shores up the second pair for a team that underperformed last postseason. It’s unfair to expect 40-plus points, but 30 should be no problem alongside last year’s sixth-ranked offense, especially with power-play time expected.

Alex Goligoski, Arizona Coyotes

For the low price of a fifth-round pick headed to Dallas, Goligoski will slot in on the second pair for the Coyotes after another solid year with the Stars, as the blueliner registered five goals, 32 helpers and a massive plus-21 rating while averaging 23:50 of ice time. Arizona was ranked third-worst defensively, giving up almost three goals per game, so this move was essential as the Coyotes attempt to play a tighter game in their own zone. The 30-year-old Goligoski has appeared in at least 81 games the last three seasons and should flirt with 40 points, especially if he sees a bump in power-play time. Dallas has numerous young defensemen who can step in to replace Goligoski, but there’s not much track record to go on here. Keep an eye on 20-year-old Julius Honka, a 2014 first-rounder who put up 11 goals and 33 assists in 73 AHL games last season.

Adam Larsson, Edmonton Oilers

Larsson comes to Edmonton with plenty of scrutiny, as the team sent one of its bigger names in Taylor Hall away for an unproven defenseman. The 23-year-old has primarily served a defensive role, never exceeding 24 points (18 last season), and now he lands on the top pair for a team that’s starving for defensive efficiency – the Oilers gave up the fourth-most goals in the league last year. The gift of opportunity is before him, but the Swede is far from guaranteed to thrive for fantasy owners.

Jason Demers, Florida Panthers

Demers is on the list of excellent adds by the Panthers this offseason, having signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal to bolster a playoff team that aims to take the next step in 2016-17. The blueliner had seven goals, 16 assists, 72 PIM and a plus-16 rating in 62 contests this past year. There’s reason to be concerned with the 28-year-old’s injury history, but as long as he can stay healthy, Demers provides an immediate upgrade to Florida’s second pair. Stephen Johns gets a shot at securing that same role in Dallas, but has just 14 NHL games under his belt and hasn’t exactly dominated at the AHL level.

GOALIES

Brian Elliott, Calgary Flames

For the price of a second-round pick this year and a conditional pick in 2018, Elliott heads to Calgary, where a new starting netminder who put up a 2.07 GAA and and NHL-leading .930 save percentage in 41 appearances last season will be welcomed with open arms. The Flames ranked at the very bottom of the league defensively last season, giving up 3.13 goals per game. At 31, Elliott brings a career mark of .914 defending the crease and provides an immediate upgrade to a suddenly threatening team led by Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, although it’s worth noting that he’s never enjoyed a starter’s workload over a full season. That leaves Jake Allen as the unquestioned starter for the Blues, whose top-five defense should help make the 26-year-old one of the league’s more valuable netminders.

Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs

Andersen has no competition for the starting role with the Leafs, as Jonathan Bernier was shipped to Anaheim in a corresponding move to the Dane’s own trade into Toronto. That leaves the 26-year-old to defend the crease full-time for the rebuilding Maple Leafs, and he should provide an upgrade in net, having posted a .919 save percentage and 2.30 GAA in 43 appearances with the Ducks last year. Andersen should upgrade a defense that gave up 2.93 goals per game (sixth-worst in the league), but unless the kids come along quickly, he won’t have the luxury of much offensive support –Toronto owned the 28th-ranked attack last year. Wins could be hard to come by, but Andersen is worth a late-round flier on a squad that’s all upside.

James Reimer, Florida Panthers

Reimer spent his career with the Maple Leafs before being traded away to the Sharks at the deadline, ultimately sitting behind Martin Jones during San Jose’s playoff run. The 28-year-old put up a 2.31 GAA and .922 save percentage in 40 appearances last year, and now he gets to compete for crease time with Roberto Luongo (hip surgery; estimated return Nov. 1) and Reto Berra. Luongo is 37 years old, so there’s no guarantee the netminder will return to form following his injury, leaving the door open for Reimer to prove himself in the early going. With a five-year contract in hand, he clearly appears to be considered the goalie of the future for the Panthers.

Jonathan Bernier, Anaheim Ducks

Acquired for a conditional draft pick from Toronto, Bernier has been rather unspectacular in his eight-year career, notching an 88-88-23 record with a 2.67 GAA and .915 save percentage. Coming off his worst campaign as a pro, the 27-year-old will serve in a backup role behind John Gibson, who isn’t as experienced, but has a far better track record in limited action. Bernier’s value is directly tied to the success of Gibson, and he has just one year to prove his worth before hitting the open market as an unrestricted free agent.