Tavares to Maple Leafs
Center John Tavares signed a seven-year contract with his hometown, Toronto Maple Leafs, which brings him back to the consideration of the first round of fantasy.
Tavares, 27, joins the elite fantasy center Auston Matthews in the Maple Leafs and places them next to the Pittsburgh Penguins (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin ) to get the best 1-2 hit at center in the NHL. The addition of Tavares will likely increase the fantasy value of potential line partner Mitchell Marner who played in a separate uniform force line from Matthews in his first two seasons of the NHL. Tavares should play with Matthews and / or Marner in the power play.
Video: John Tavares accepts a 7-year contract with Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have unquestionably the deepest central arsenal, in fantasy and reality, with Tavares, Matthews and Nazem Kadri and his entire staff receives a boost from this news. Matthews and Tavares should be considered in the first round of mid and late fantasy drafts once Connor McDavid Alex Ovechkin Nikita Kucherov Crosby and Malkin are off the board. Toronto ranked second in power play efficiency (25.0 percent) and now adds Tavares, who had 84 points (30 in power games) in 82 games last season.
His departure negatively affects most of the list of New York Islanders, center Mathew Barzal on the right Jordan Eberle and left wing Anthony Beauvillier being the only possible exceptions. Barzal, who won the Calder Trophy, remains one of the 50 best fantasy assets without Tavares, and Eberle could stay with Barzal by force and receive a boost from the first power game under new coach Barry Trotz.
Strikers Anders Lee and Josh Bailey who had well-documented chemistry and production on the Tavares line, lose significant value without the elite center. Beauvillier played with Barzal and Eberle with the same force and would go up with them to the top line and see an expanded power-play role at best.
Projected draft range for Tavares at 12 -team fantasy league : Round 1-2 (picks 6-18)
Van Riemsdyk to Flyers
Left wing James van Riemsdyk has signed a five-year contract to meet with the Philadelphia Flyers, where he played his first three seasons in the NHL. The move suggests that the Flyers are looking to improve their power play, which finished 15th overall last season (20.7 percent). Van Riemsdyk had 36 goals in the NHL, 11 in the power play for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Van Riemsdyk was one of the top 15 scorers in the NHL, despite averaging 14:54 per game last season mostly in the third line (career average: 16:39). His goal average by 60 (1.79) was third in the NHL behind Patrik Laine (1.95) and Auston Matthews (1.81). If van Riemsdyk's ice time increases, van Riemsdyk should outshine the 30-goal mark for the third time in his career in the NHL. The signing also has important implications for Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds who can become free agent without restrictions on July 1, 2019.
With versatile striker Claude Giroux (can play in center or wing), right wing Jakub Voracek and centers Sean Couturier and Nolan Patrick close to padlocks to play in the top six, Simmonds or Travis Konecny will have a third-line role with a strong point. Patrick should see an increase in value with exposure to van Riemsdyk and / or a scorer twice with 30 goals in Simmonds. As a result of the signing of van Riemsdyk, Patrick has become a more coveted favorite than Konecny.
Simmonds, who played multiple injuries last season and finished low on fantasy (152 on Yahoo) by his standards, regained potential if he plays on the first or second line. He has brought elite category coverage in the past, but he is a top player in the top 100 range due to his contract status and the uncertainty of the line. Simmonds and van Riemsdyk will be available in the same shooting range, with Simmonds being the safest option, but van Riemsdyk having the highest ceiling.
The Flyers will now have two powerful power play units, and the defender Ivan Provorov benefits from this development. In recent years, Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds and the defender Shayne Gostisbehere have been the main ones in the first unit. With Van Riemsdyk, Couturier and Patrick competing for fifth place in the first unit, Provorov will have talent in the second group if the Flyers stay healthy and get fantastic value as a result.
Scope of the projected shot for van Riemsdyk : Rounds 9-10 (selections 97-120)
Hutton to Sabers
] Goaltender Carter Hutton signed a three-year contract with Buffalo Sabers, giving them a new No. 1 option for next season. Former holder Robin Lehner did not receive a qualifying offer of the Sabers earlier this week, which made him a free agent without restrictions.
Hutton (finished 45th at Yahoo) was an efficient backup for Pekka Rinne for three seasons with the Nashville Predators and the timeshare goalie with Jake Allen at last two seasons for the St. Louis Blues. His NHL personal record in appearances (40) was in 2013-14, but he may have had untapped potential considering he won Allen's title last season and led the league in save percentage (.931, a minimum of 20 games).  Video: Sabers hopes to sign Carter Hutton
The 32-year-old will have every opportunity to start 50-60 games for Buffalo, which could be one of the most improved teams in the NHL after winning the NHL 2018 Draft Lottery and selecting defender Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Sabers have also signed Lawrence Pilut, the defender of the year in the Swedish Hockey League last season.
The Sabers have missed the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons, but could take the next step if the elite center Jack Eichel remains healthy for a full season, his playing power he recovers and the uniform force game improves as a result of Dahlin. With the possibility that many of these factors align at the same time for the Sabers, Hutton is a fantasy candidate in the same rank as the Colorado Avalanche tandem (Semyon Varlamov, Philipp Grubauer ) and just behind mid-level headlines Mike Smith Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider . Hutton and Grubauer come with risk but also upward if they are recruited as the third goalkeeper on their fantasy list.
Projected draft scope for Hutton : Round 13 or later (21-25 among goalkeepers)