Fantasy Spin: NHL free agent signings


NHL.com has fantasy hockey reaction to the biggest free agent signings for the 2024-25 season.

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From Guentzel to Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed Jake Guentzel after acquiring his rights, softening the blow of losing Steven Stamkos to the Nashville Predators in free agency and a trade that sent defenseman Mikhail Sergachev to the Utah Hockey Club. Guentzel joins Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy as top 30 overall fantasy options.

Guentzel had 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 17 games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he was Sidney Crosby's trusted linemate. Tampa Bay has made the Stanley Cup playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, winning Stanley Cup titles in 2020 and 2021, and Guentzel has 67 points (38 goals, 29 assists) in 69 career postseason games and won a championship with the Penguins in 2017.

Since 2018-19, Guentzel is 14th in the NHL in goals (189) and has two 40-goal seasons in his career. Despite being limited to 67 games last season, Guentzel was 20th in even-strength points (55), which should provide a boost for Tampa Bay, which was in the middle of the pack in 5-on-5 goals (172; tied for 14th).

Range for targeting Guentzel in fantasy drafts: Overall Top 30

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Stamkos, Marchessault, Skai join Predators

The Nashville Predators have substantially boosted their fantasy stock and Stanley Cup futures appeal by signing forwards Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Marchessault and defenseman Brady Skai in free agency. Although Stamkos may lose some personal value if he leaves the Lightning, the move gives Nashville four players overall in the fantasy top 50, with Stamkos joining wing Filip Forsberg, defenseman Roman Josi and goalie Juuse Saros.

Stamkos is coming off a 40-goal season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, marking the seventh time in his NHL career he has accomplished that difficult feat. He has been one of the most dynamic power-play producers in the NHL and should give the Predators, who ranked 16th with the man-advantage (21.6 percent) last season, a boost in that area. Stamkos ranks second among active NHL players in power-play goals (214) behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (312) and is fifth on that list in power-play points (422) as well.

Marchessault scored an NHL career-high 42 goals last season and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs. Marchessault has always been a top 75 overall fantasy player with strong range coverage for goals, points, shots on goal and hits no matter his lineup placement with Vegas, and if he plays on a line with Stamkos, the Predators get another high-scoring unit to complement last year's top trio of Forsberg, veteran center Ryan O'Reilly and wing Gustav Nyquist.

Skai quietly ranks fifth among NHL defensemen in goals (31) over the past two seasons and is tied with newcomer Roman Josi for third in even-strength goals (24) over that span, trailing only Erik Karlsson (29) and Cale Makar (25). Though Skai is clearly the No. 2 defenseman behind Josi, he’s still worth targeting in the late rounds as a potential fantasy bargain for a better Nashville team.

Range for targeting Stamkos in fantasy drafts: Overall Top 50

Range for targeting Marchessault in fantasy draft: Top 75-100 overall

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Montour to Kraken

The Seattle Kraken have signed high-scoring defenseman Brandon Montour, which will boost their defensive outlook, scoring offense and bounce-back appeal as a playoff contender. Montour joins Seattle, which qualified for the postseason two seasons ago and has another valuable fantasy defenseman in Vince Dunn; the two can either compete for first power-play usage or share the ice together in man-advantage situations.

Montour may lose some individual fantasy appeal with his move away from the Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers, but he still has a high ceiling considering he has two seasons of double-digit goals, highlighted by his 2022-23 season; he had NHL career highs in goals (16), assists (57), points (73), power-play points (33) and shots on goal (242) that year.

Range for targeting Montour in fantasy drafts: Top 100-120 Overall (Top 20-25 Among Defensemen)

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E. Lindholm to Bruins

The Boston Bruins have signed Elias Lindholm, making him a potential return candidate if he becomes their No. 1 center on a line with elite wings David Pastrnak and/or Brad Marchand. Lindholm is coming off a poor regular season with 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists) in 75 games with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, but demonstrated his high fantasy ceiling in 2021-22 when he scored 82 points (42 goals, 40 assists) mostly skating on a line with high-scoring wings Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau when they all played in Calgary.

Lindholm performed well for the Canucks in the postseason with 10 points (five goals, five assists) and 25 shots on goal in 13 games. Boston ranked 13th in goals per game (3.21) last season and was tied for the 11th fewest shots on goal per game (29.3), both categories Lindholm could help improve.

Range for targeting E. Lindholm in fantasy drafts: Top 125-150 overall

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Other players with fantasy potential on the new teams: Jake DeBrusk, VAN; Viktor Arvidsson, EDM; Teuvo Teravainen and Tyler Bertuzzi, CHI; Anthony Duclair, NYI; Tyler Toffoli, SJS


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