Fantasy Impact: The Predators have inked speedy winger Viktor Stalberg to a four-year contract worth $3 million per season. Veteran center Matt Cullen was also signed two a two-year deal worth $3.5 million per season.
Update: Matt Hendricks has signed a four-year deal worth $1.85 million per. Gritty guy who is dynamite in the shootout.
A solid second/third line winger who can play top six minutes in a pinch (hey, sounds like every other Predators forward). Stalberg had a good regular season in Chicago but saw his role decreased during the postseason. He's big and a great skater, and he can score goals, but this is a lot of term for him. The dollar amount isn't so bad considering overpayment is the name of the game today.
Stalberg should get a chance to prove himself in a top-six role with the Predators this year. Chicago wouldn't have been able to afford him at this price, and there is now a spot for Bryan Bickell and another young forward to move up. Bickell more than earned it with a stellar postseason (and a big contract soon after).
Cullen is a speedy two-way center who is best suited for third line duty at this stage of his career. He's quite similar to David Legwand - a bit bigger, older, and maybe a bit less skilled. Very similar players though. Here's more on Cullen.
Hendicks is a fourth line energy guy with a lot of talent in the shootout. He maybe good for an extra point or two next year for the Predators because of this. A lot of money and term, though. Nashville knows you don't need to ice five forward lines, right?
Fantasy Players Impacted:
Stalberg won't play with Toews/Kane in Nashville, but he will get more ice time and a bigger opportunity to prove himself. Cullen's role in Nashville will be similar to his in Minnesota - third line minutes with the occasional stint in the top six depending on injuries and other factors.
Potential lines for the Predators:
Who freakin' knows! So many similar forwards. A shot in the dark:
Kostitsyn to KHL?
Potential lines for the Blackhawks:
Fantasy Players this helps, in order:
2. Jeremy Morin
3. Mikael Granlund
4. Mike Fisher
5. Ben Smith
6. David Legwand
7. Brandon Bollig
Fantasy Players this hurts, in order:
1. Taylor Beck
2. Craig Smith
3. Austin Watson
4. Gabriel Bourque
5. Rich Clune
6. Nick Spaling