Fantasy Hockey

2021 Fantasy Hockey Free Agency Tracker


The NHL season is about to begin. Typically this happens in early October, but you know… 2020. Regardless we are here and this is the 2021 Fantasy Hockey Free Agency Tracker.

This means NHL fantasy drafts are bound to commence. It’s pivotal to outline free-agency moves that could play a role in your draft order and for the rest of the upcoming season.

Now it’s 2021 and we’ve left the most notorious calendar year in the rear-view mirror. A lot has occurred since NHL teams finished the regular season. We’ll be taking a look at some of the biggest offseason transactions that have occurred since the end of the 2019-2020 season.

Whether it’s through trades or signings, we’ll go from team to team to outline their top transactions to better your fantasy roster. Keep in mind, not every team has made moves that will affect their players’ draft stock. Also, players who re-signed to their current team will be left off the list.

2021 Fantasy Hockey Free Agency Tracker

Anaheim Ducks

Kevin Shattenkirk, D (ADP: 159)

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Fresh from a  Stanley Cup campaign, Kevin Shattenkirk agreed to a three-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks.

Shattenkirk is a solid veteran piece for the youthful Ducks organization that can bring both experience and offensive flair to Anaheim’s blue line. Last season the former 14th-overall pick totaled 34 points in 70 games for the stacked Tampa Bay Lightning squad.

Now that he’s in Anaheim, the 31-year-old has a chance to see top-4 minutes. Fantasy owners should expect his offensive production to increase, but on a much weaker Ducks team, expect his plus/minus to drop into the negatives.

He’s a good player on a bad team so fantasy owners should temper expectations.

Arizona Coyotes

Derick Brassard, C/RW (ADP: N/A)

This past offseason, veteran forward Derick Brassard signed with the Arizona Coyotes.

The former 6th overall pick is a true journeyman in the NHL as Arizona is now his eighth NHL franchise. Despite moving around the league often, Brassard has been relatively productive for most of his careers scoring 483 points in 852 NHL games.

Last year, Brassard posted 32 points in 66 games for the New York Islanders. There’s a chance that he repeats this production or even increases his point total, should he see top-six action. Brassard will likely play on the wing, but if injuries occur, he’ll likely play alongside veteran sniper (and hotdog aficionado), Phil Kessel.

Fantasy owners are best to take a wait-and-see approach with Brassard, even in deep leagues.

Boston Bruins

Craig Smith, RW (ADP: 161)

David Pastrnak will miss some time to begin the season, while he recovers from hip surgery. Fantasy owners need to take advantage of this gaping hole on Boston’s first-line by drafting Craig Smith.

Smith signed a three-year $9.3 million deal with the Bruins this past offseason. Smith played nine seasons with the Nashville Predators, where he had five 20-goal seasons.

Last year, he scored 18 goals in a shortened season but is likely to smash the 20-goal barrier so long as he sees time on the first unit. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are two of the most prolific playmakers in the game, so Smith should reap the rewards. Fantasy owners may want to target this sneaky pick in the mid-to-late rounds as he’ll be valuable to begin the season.

As soon as Pastrnak is back, however, Smith might be one of the top trade candidates as his production will drop off.

Buffalo Sabres

Taylor Hall, LW (ADP: 53)

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In the biggest off-season acquisition across the league, Buffalo signed Taylor Hall to a one-year contract worth $8 million during the offseason instantly making the Sabres contenders in the highly contested East division.

Hall will play beside Jack Eichel, who has blossomed into a franchise-caliber player in his own right. The two studs should increase each other’s production in a symbiotic relationship that’s sure to garner results.

Hall, a former MVP, scored 52 points in 65 games with the Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils last season. Fantasy owners should look to target Hall in the third or fourth round, while Eichel’s draft stock soars to late first-round consideration.

This will be a match made in heaven for the two offensively gifted forwards.

Calgary Flames

Jacob Markstrom, G (ADP: 80)

Jacob Markstrom cashed in during free agency as he was signed by the Flames on a six-year contract worth $36 million.

Fresh off an All-Star campaign with the Canucks last year, Markstrom is in Calgary for the long haul after going 23-16-4 last season. The Swede posted a 2.75 GAA and a .918 save SV% in 43 games last year to go along with a pair of shutouts.

Markstrom commands ample time between the pipes— he played 60 games in two-straight seasons for Vancouver before last year’s truncated schedule.

Markstrom is in the G10-G15 range in most non-dynasty drafts and depending on the draft flow, could be going anywhere between the 6th to 10th rounds. Once the goalies start coming off the board in drafts, it usually leads to an arms race of sorts, so fantasy owners should keep an eye on trends in their drafts.

If he slides in your draft, fantasy owners might be able to pick up a bit of a sleeper in Markstrom.

Chicago Blackhawks

Malcolm Subban, G (ADP: 162)

If the Blackhawks weren’t in full rebuild mode, they certainly are now. Losing youngster Kirby Dach to a fractured wrist during a pre-tournament game at World Juniors was bad news.

Losing Jonathan Toews, their captain, and the team’s heart and soul was the final nail in the rebuild coffin. Toews is out indefinitely with an undisclosed mystery illness which is a huge blow to the Blackhawks.

Malcolm Subban will likely be starting in goal for Chicago after signing a two-year contract with the Hawks. Subban was traded to the Windy City last season (shortly before the pandemic reared its ugly head) from Las Vegas.

Subban might have the starting role, but fantasy owners shouldn’t touch the 26-year-old goaltender in drafts because of the poor offensive unit and aging blue line that the Blackhawks have in front of him.

Carl Soderberg, C/LW (ADP: N/A)

With Toews and Dach out, Carl Soderberg should have an inflated role in the already dismal lineup for Chicago.

The veteran forward signed a $1 million contract with the Hawks this past offseason and should play a prominent role. Last season, he scored 35 points with the Coyotes.

Now donning the black and red, Soderberg is likely to thrive in fantasy terms and should be a key piece of their powerplay. If Soderberg pairs up with Kane on the man advantage or in even-strength situations, he should be worthy of a late-round selection in drafts.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Max Domi, C,LW (ADP: 161)

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The Blue Jackets swapped RFA’s in the offseason, trading Josh Anderson for Max Domi— a clear salary dump by the Habs.

The Blue Jackets get a consistent scoring threat in Max Domi who hit the 72-point mark two seasons ago. Obviously, this is a steal for Columbus, but how will it turn out for prospective fantasy owners?

Expected to play on the powerplay unit, Domi should be productive for fantasy owners. His current ADP is in the 160 range, which is a great opportunity for fantasy owners to buy low.

He’s a top-six forward, with a proven ability to put the puck in the back of the net. Fantasy owners should take a hard look at Domi. He’ll be starting the season playing between Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson.

Mikko Koivu, C (ADP: N/A)

While his best days are likely behind him, the Blue Jackets signed Mikko Koivu to a one-year $1.5 million deal this past offseason.

Likely wary of Pierre-Luc Dubois being offer sheeted, picking up Koivu was a smart move to protect themselves against salary cap issues. Dubois eventually signed with Columbus to a two-year $10 million contract.

Koivu was the first player in Minnesota Wild history to play over 1,000 games for the franchise but was not offered a contract going into 2021. This is likely due to having his worst year in over a decade, scoring only 21 points in a Wild uniform a year ago.

Koivu is likely to see third-line minutes and should be a staple on Columbus’ penalty kill, but he isn’t worth drafting unless you’re in the deepest of leagues. His upside is in face-off wins, where he’s perennially in the upper echelon, but even in leagues that count FW’s, it’s a stretch to go for Minnesota’s former captain.

Detroit Red Wings

Bobby Ryan LW/RW (ADP: N/A)

Bobby Ryan’s story is one of the craziest in NHL history. He’s had a checkered past and recently he missed 43 games to receive help for alcoholism— only to return and score a hat-trick in his first game back.

Bobby Ryan was the recipient of the Bill Masterson Trophy for best exemplifying the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the sport of hockey.

He was signed by the Redwings this offseason and should he see top-six minutes, he might be able to crack fantasy rosters. Last year, however, Ryan only scored eight points in 24 games. Hopefully, he’ll be able to bounce back, but on a team that’s in a rebuild, fantasy owners ought to temper expectations.

While it’s an interesting story to follow, the life and times of Bobby Ryan won’t include a chapter about fantasy relevance in the 2021 season.

Edmonton Oilers

Tyson Barrie, D (ADP: 101)

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Last season, Tyson Barrie had a tough time in Toronto.

There were multiple hiccups throughout the season, including well-documented issues with head coach Mike Babcock. Babcock was fired for issues relating to his treatment of players.

Even under Sheldon Keefe, Barrie only put up 39 points, despite being on the top defensive pairing on an offensively stacked squad. He also had to deal with the elevated scrutiny of playing in Toronto— the world’s biggest hockey market. For many players, it’s a tough task playing for the Leafs, as every mistake is under a microscope.

This offseason, Barrie made a change of scenery to Edmonton, signing a one-year $3.75 million with the Oilers.

Barrie should be slotted in the top defensive pairing, and with his offensive nature, should be right at home with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who are both top-tier fantasy producers.

Barrie should be prolific on the powerplay this season and fantasy owners might be able to net themselves quality draft value, considering his underwhelming tenure in Toronto.

Florida Panthers

Alexander Wennberg C,LW(ADP: N/A)

Alexander Wennberg was bought out of his contract by the Columbus Blue Jackets this past offseason, placed on waivers, and signed by the Panthers.

In the 2016-17 season, Weinberg scored a career-high 59 points for the Jackets but has fallen stagnant over the past couple of years. Last season, Weinberg’s totals took a dip, scoring 22 points in 57 regular-season contests.

Weinberg is slated to center the second line alongside Frank Vatrano and veteran signee Patric Hornqvist.

Florida scored 228 goals last year, which ranked sixth in the NHL. They should continue to have the offensive pistons firing going into the 2021 season and Wennberg, a pass-first playmaker should be able to lap up plenty of production in his new home.

Anthony Duclair, LW/RW (ADP: N/A)

Anthony Duclair is no stranger to being a stranger.

After being selected by the New York Rangers in 2013, Duclair has also played for Ottawa, Columbus, Chicago, and Arizona.

Now that he’s in Florida, his experience in being traded profusely should actually play to his advantage. The 24-year-old forward scored a career-high 23 goals and 40 points last season with the Ottawa Senators.

He was named an NHL All-Star for the first time for his performance with the lowly Senators.

Slated to play on the first line for the Panthers, Duclair has the potential to be in the top-50 conversation in fantasy. He’s playing with Jonathan Huberdeau who netted 78 points in 69 games and with Aleksander Barkov put together 62 points in 66 games for the Panthers. In 2018-19, Barkov put together a 96-point season. If he stays healthy could be in the 90-point range once again.

Duclair is playing with two talented players for the first time in his career and could be one of the biggest sleepers in fantasy hockey this upcoming season.

Minnesota Wild

Cam Talbot, G (ADP: 168)

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Minnesota’s brass had a big void to fill when the Wild moved on from Devan Dubnyk, who was the Wild’s starter for six seasons.

Answering the call was Cam Talbot, who helped lead the Calgary Flames to a playoff appearance. Talbot went 12-10-1 with a .919 save percentage to go along with a 2.63 goals-against average.

The Wild and prospective fantasy owners are hoping Talbot can get back to his production from 2018-19, where he won 42 games while posting a 2.39 GAA and .919 and seven shutouts in an Oilers uniform.

The Minnesota Wild had a bottom-seven penalty kill last season, but five-on-five were in the top half of the league when it came to goals against.

Talbot has shown that if he has a competent defensive unit in front of him, he has the chance to thrive. Also, being the sole starter, as opposed to being in a time-share situation like he was in Calgary, should help Talbot get into the groove this season.

Although he shouldn’t be on the top of anyone’s goalie list, fantasy owners should keep an eye out in the later rounds.

Montreal Canadians

Tyler Toffoli, LW/RW (ADP: 171)

Tyler Toffoli agreed to a four-year, $17 million contract with the Canadiens this past offseason after scoring 24 goals and 44 points with the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks.

It’s worth noting that Toffoli scored 10 points (six goals, four assists) after he was traded to the Canucks toward the end of the season.

The 28-year-old  is not going to be able to keep up the point-per-game pace. But if there’s anything to draw from the situation— is how bad the Kings were last year.

The Kings had trouble scoring all year and even top-end players like Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty weren’t able to produce.

If Toffoli can crack the top-six he should instantly become fantasy viable. As a true goal-scorer, Toffoli might also see second-unit powerplay time.

Although he’s not going to be the fantasy piece to ride to a championship, ownership of Toffoli could pay dividends should he live up to his contract.

Ottawa Senators

Matt Murray, G (ADP: 176)

The revolving door of starting goalies in Pittsburgh continues.

It isn’t news that Tristan Jarry out-dueled Matt Murray for the starting job for the Penguins. It Is, however, peculiarly reminiscent of the Marray-Fleury foray that occurred a few years ago.

Now Murray has landed on the Senators, he’s bound to be the top dog in Ottawa. While sharing crease time with Jarry, Murray is coming off a mediocre season. Last year, he had a 2.87 GAA and a .899 SV%.

Although he should bounce back, Murray is playing in the North Division. Just about every team in the division can rack up goals any given night. He’s also got the least capable defensive front out of anyone in the North Division. Outside of Chabot, it’s pretty much filler.

Fantasy owners should temper expectations, but Murray isn’t the worst option as a third goalie.

Evgenii Dadonov LW/RW (ADP: 166.1)

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Evgenii Dadonov is a solid player.

He played in the KHL for years before joining the NHL and while he isn’t a household name, he might make waves in Ottawa.

While he played in Florida, he often made his mark on the powerplay. Last season, he scored 47 points in 69 games. 17 were on the man advantage.

Outside of the shortened 2019-20 season, Dadonov has managed to average 67.5 points per season over the two previous years. He also throws a lot of shots on goal averaging 2.27 SOG per game over the course of his NHL career.

Although his plus/minus is likely to be negatively impacted by playing on the Senators, he’ll see top-line minutes in 2021. Expect Dadonov to be Ottawa’s go-to option on the powerplay going forward.

St. Louis Blues

Torey Krug, D (ADP: 70)

Boston lost their best defensemen this past offseason, and no, I’m not talking about Zdeno Chara.

Chara is earmarked for the Hockey Hall of Fame but Boston’s top D-man for the past few years had been Torey Krug.

The 29-year-old signed a blockbuster deal with the St.Louis Blues, inking a seven-year $45.5 million contract. Shortly after this deal, St. Louis’ former captain and defensive staple, Alex Pietrangelo opted to sign with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Krug scored 49 points in 61 games for the Bruins last year, after posting three straight seasons with at least 51 points. More importantly for fantasy owners, Krug led all defensemen in the NHL with 28 power-play points with 28.

Krug should be an elite-level defenseman this season, but fantasy owners won’t have to spend top-5 round picks. His ADP is 70.6, which translates to a mid-sixth-round pick. He’s a steal at this point but fantasy owners should gauge the draft flow to decide when to pull the trigger on a D-man.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Joe Thornton (ADP: N/A)

After 15 seasons with the Sharks, Joe Thornton signed a 1-year $700,000 deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Although he adds experience to the Toronto roster, most thought Jumbo would be a third or fourth liner.

Sheldon Keefe has different thoughts for the league’s most intimidating beard. Thornton is slated to start on the Leafs top-line where he’ll be skating with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

These are two of the most offensively explosive players in NHL, and while there may be less tread left on the tires for Thornton, fantasy owners should expect jumbo-sized results from the grizzled veteran.

He’s currently not on most fantasy radars, so do yourself a favor and scoop him up in the waning rounds.

Vancouver Canucks

Braden Holtby (ADP: 103)

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Braden Holtby for the first time since draft day is the new guy on the block.

The veteran netminder signed a two-year $8.6 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks during the offseason. Last year Holtby was 25-14-6 with a .897 save percentage and 3.11 goals-against average.

Over his career, the 31-year-old has a 282-122-46 record to go along with a 2.53 GAA, .906 GAA, and 35 shutouts. Despite the excellent career numbers, the Washington Capitals have decided to name Ilya Samsonov their starter, who is younger and commands a smaller contract.

Holtby should get the majority of the starts for Vancouver but falls victim to placement in the North Division. The division is filled with offensive powerhouses including Toronto and Winnipeg.

Despite this, Holtby should be on your fantasy radar as a second goaltender. Expect his GAA and SV% to return close to his career averages.

Vegas Golden Knights

Alex Pietrangelo, D (ADP: 56)

As one of the most highly sought after free agents in the NHL this past offseason, it came as a bit of a surprise that Alex Pietrangelo opted to sign with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Nonetheless, the NHL’s newest team signed the veteran blueliner to a seven-year $61.6 million contract. After 12 seasons with the Blues, he’s still on top of his game.

Last season St. Louis’s former captain scored 16 goals and 36 assists. His 52 points ranked sixth in the NHL among blueliners and his 16 goals ranked third. Now with Vegas, a well-oiled machine of two-way players, Pietrangelo should be near the top across fantasy stats.

Owners who are looking to bolster their defense in the middle rounds would not be mistaken if they pulled the trigger on this stud.

Check out the rest of our Fantasy Hockey Content from the great team of F6P writers.

About Tyler Mulligan

Sports Journalist from Toronto, Canada. Fantasy hockey, basketball and football aficionado.

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