Dynasty Hockey League

Free Agent Frenzy – Wave 1

Free Agent Frenzy – Wave 1

*Alex Ovechkin (STL)

The Skinny: Ovechkin checks in as the best pure goal scorer available on the market this year.  Any team with aspirations of making a deep playoff run would benefit from the added goals.  The question is which teams can take on a big salary and the bonus needed to bring him on board.  In looking at the financials of many of the DHL teams, it may be a limited market.

Potential Landing Spots: STL, PHI

Prediction: While a number of teams have the cash to spend on landing Ovechkin, many of those teams are locked into other pieces in Wave 1 which likely comes to STL retaining Ovechkin. 

*Patrice Bergeron (CBJ)

The Skinny: Arguably the top C (Getzlaf in consideration as well) available this time around.  Bergeron brings an elite 2 way game that would play well on any teams 1st line.  Much like Ovechkin and the other big names to follow, the question will be which teams have the funds and are willing to give up a large chunk of their money to go after Bergeron, or one of the other big names.  Rumours are that some teams have already hinted at being in on Bergeron so it could be interesting.

Potential Landing Spots: CLB, PHI, NSH, FLA

Prediction: Columbus has made a point of clearing cap and adding money throughout the season and off-season to bring Bergeron on board.  There will no doubt be other suitors in the mix but ultimately Bergeron ends up in Columbus.

*Patty Kane (SJ)

The Skinny: Any team going after Kane is likely looking more towards next season and his rerate that should come after a boffo season.  Thanks to a down rating compared to what will be a future rating, Kane’s contract could come at a bit of a discount.  The signing bonus likely will not but it could make for a sound investment moving forward.

Potential Landing Spots: SJ, NYI, WSH

Prediction: Any other off-season, Kane could easily be the biggest fish with the most attraction.  Like Ovechkin, too many of the teams that could and would go after Kane simply aren’t position to.  For those reasons, Kane ends up back in San Jose.

Ryan Getzlaf (SJ)

The Skinny: Sharks are likely left in the unenviable position of having to let Getzlaf walk as they weren’t able to find a trading partner for him and he’ll be competing with Patty Kane for the Sharks’ dollars.  Teams will be deciding whether Getzlaf or Bergeron is the centre they want to go after as both offer top line capabilities.  Getzlaf will provide more of a power forward came to compliment offensive wingers.

Potential Landing Spots: MTL, NSH, PHI, WSH, FLA, DAL

Prediction: This is where things could start to get interesting.  Does a team like MTL or PHI with big cash avoid players that are loyalties and instead tries to bid big on Getzlaf knowing some of the competition is out of the mix? Will a wildcard like FLA that is always looking to upgrade the lineup swoop in and make an offer? Nashville has some pieces in place but could a #1 centre to offset Braydon Point be the missing piece?

We see Ryan Getzlaf signing with the Montreal Canadiens.

Brent Burns (WSH)

The Skinny: Potentially the most impactful piece on the market will be Burns.  An elite offensive option from the back end that will provide offence.  Like the Sharks, the Caps are likely headed to losing Burns in free agency.  How many teams can take on the salary and bonus commitment needed to land the Bearded Wonder? Whoever does will make an impact.

Potential Landing Spots: MTL, PHI, PIT, STL, DAL

Prediction: Hmm, sounds a lot like what was said about Getzlaf.  Teams like Pittsburgh and St. Louis that could use an upgrade on defence may find themselves thinking about an offer on Burns.  St. Louis may not be able to after signing Ovechkin so it looks like a 3 horse race.

Ultimately, Burns will sign in Philadelphia in a big of a surprise as Nick starts building the Flyers back up.

*Kris Letang (VGK)

The Skinny: Is it fair to call Letang the consolation prize to losing out on Burns? Many out there may view Letang as on the same level as Burns, the difference being Vegas is invested in Letang and will do what they can to keep him on board.

Potential Landing Spots: VGK, MTL, PHI, PIT

Prediction: Much like Burns, Letang is another piece that would fit nicely on a number of blue lines.  In the end, it appears Vegas is set on keeping him around and has the resources to do it so we see him headed back to Vegas.

*Erik Johnson (MIN)

The Skinny: How sold are teams on spending big on defence? That’s the big question that may face a number of teams as they decide to go after a Burns or Letang, or look at the next tier that includes Johnson.  While not the impact piece the other two are, he will log big minutes in the top 4 for any playoff bound team and a far cheaper cost to acquire his services.  That reason alone may attract more suitors than the big fish will.

Potential Landing Spots: MIN, PHI, PIT, STL

Prediction: If Johnson was in Wave 2, this could be a lot more interesting.  With so many top names in Wave 1, he may be forgotten about.  That will allow Minny to get him signed to a friendly contract.

*Sergei Bobrovsky (VAN)

The Skinny: The only goalie in the first wave is Bobrovsky.  Like what seems like most of the league’s goalies, ratings are down for Bobrovsky which will make this UFA process interesting.  Will teams see the drop in goalie ratings as a sign that elite options are harder to come by? Or will they see it as a sign that it’s not worth overspending for a goalie? Any team going after Bobrovsky is clearly hoping that he is going to figure out whatever ails him and return to elite status considering the money that will need to be shelled out to bring him aboard.

Potential Landing Spots: VAN, DAL, PHI

Prediction: Anytime a team makes their goalie a loyalty, there is no doubt that they are all in on bringing them back.  As much as teams like Dallas and Philly could use the upgrade in net and have the resources to spend, Bobrovsky will be back in Vancouver.

Our take:

On paper it looks like Wave 1 will be somewhat expected in terms of results.  The teams with the elite players have the money to spend to keep them on board and that’s likely to happen.  There are some wildcard teams that could make things interesting when looking at their bank accounts (PHI, DAL, MTL) but questions around the cap and wanting to go after more free agents will convolute that a little bit for those teams.  Will Philly and Dallas want to add players that may not necessarily fit into their plan moving forward? Those seem like questions that could be better answered in later waves that should see more movement.

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