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Fantasy: Contract situations to watch in 2017-18

Potential unrestricted, restricted free agents could perform well this season

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / Senior Fantasy Editor

A player's contract situation can be an important tiebreaker when choosing between two players in your fantasy hockey draft.

Last season, some of the biggest steals were pending restricted free agents: David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins), Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers), Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter (Minnesota Wild), Viktor Arvidsson (Nashville Predators) and Alexander Wennberg (Columbus Blue Jackets). 

With added motivation to compete for expanded roles, these players had career-best fantasy production for their respective teams and returned value based on Yahoo average draft position.

 

FANTASY RANKINGS: Top 250 | Top 100 'F' | C | LW | RW | Top 50 'D' | Top 25 'G

MORE COVERAGE: Standard mock draft 2.0 | Stat projections | Keeper leagues | Hits leagues

 

In a keeper league, contract information is even more essential to pre-draft strategy because it can indicate where a player will be in the future. Potential unrestricted free agents are more likely to join new teams than restricted ones. An example of a pending UFA having a strong season was Alexander Radulov, who returned to the NHL from the Kontinental Hockey League last season and returned value as a sleeper with the Montreal Canadiens. He went on to sign a five-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 3. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk had an NHL career-high 56 points last season with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before signing a four-year contract with the New York Rangers on July 1.

Below are the most notable players who can become unrestricted or restricted free agents July 1, 2018. Players have been arranged by position and are in order of NHL.com fantasy rank (listed in parentheses). Contract information is according to CapFriendly.com.

 

POTENTIAL UFAs IN 2018-19

 

FORWARDS

John Tavares, NYI (17)
Cam Atkinson, CBJ (67)
James van Riemsdyk, TOR (90)
Evander Kane, BUF (95)
Kyle Turris, OTT (110)
Patric Hornqvist, PIT (125)
James Neal, VGK (126)
Joe Thornton, SJS (153)
Patrick Maroon, EDM (155)
Rick Nash, NYR (162)
Jonathan Marchessault, VGK (204)
Mikael Backlund, CGY (208)
Daniel Sedin, VAN (209)
Tyler Bozak, TOR (211)
Patrick Sharp, CHI (214)
Henrik Sedin, VAN (239)
Paul Stastny, STL (247)

Other potential UFA forwards: David Perron (VGK), Radim Vrbata (FLA), Michael Grabner (NYR)

 

DEFENSEMEN

John Carlson, WSH (109)
Zdeno Chara, BOS (241)

Other potential UFA defensemen: Mike Green (DET), Jack Johnson (CBJ), Nick Holden (NYR)

 

GOALTENDERS

Jaroslav Halak, NYI (130)
Antti Raanta, ARI (152)
Antti Niemi, PIT (225)

Other potential UFA goaltenders: Carter Hutton (STL), Aaron Dell (SJS), Cam Ward (CAR)

Video: Pete Jensen reveals his top 10 fantasy defensemen

POTENTIAL RFAs IN 2018-19

 

FORWARDS

Jack Eichel, BUF (13)
William Nylander, TOR (42)
Nikolaj Ehlers, WPG (64)
Mark Stone, OTT (96)
Max Domi, ARI (117)
Sam Reinhart, BUF (141)
Anthony Mantha, DET (156)
J.T. Miller, NYR (160)
Ryan Strome, EDM (161)
Elias Lindholm, CAR (176)
Tomas Hertl, SJS (190)
Dylan Larkin, DET (213)
Kevin Hayes, NYR (228)
Boone Jenner, CBJ (231)
Vladislav Namestnikov, TBL (246)

Other potential RFA forwards: Oliver Bjorkstrand (CBJ), Drake Caggiula (EDM), Anthony Duclair (ARI), Nick Ritchie (ANA), Phillip Danault (MTL), Brock Nelson (NYI), Jimmy Vesey (NYR), Ryan Hartman (CHI), Teemu Pulkkinen (VGK), Daniel Sprong (PIT)

INJURY NOTE: Robby Fabbri (knee) will miss the entire season. He can become a restricted free agent July 1, 2018.

 

DEFENSEMEN

Jacob Trouba, WPG (151)
Matt Dumba, MIN (196)
Shea Theodore, VGK (198)
Brady Skjei, NYR (200)
Ryan Pulock, NYI (237)
Josh Manson, ANA (245)

Other potential RFA defensemen: Brandon Montour (ANA); Noah Hanifin (CAR); Josh Morrissey (WPG)

 

GOALTENDERS

Robin Lehner, BUF (138)
Connor Hellebuyck, WPG (195)
Juuse Saros, NSH (217)
Petr Mrazek, DET (236)

Other potential RFA goaltenders: Philipp Grubauer (WSH); Jared Coreau (DET); Jon Gillies (CGY)

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