Boyes, Parenteau, and more: some of the best signings from last summer.
Every year fantasy hockey poolies pay very close attention to the movement on July 1st (and July 5th this season). Big names change teams all over the league. This not only has a significant impact on the production of these players, but on their former and future teammates, as well. Free agent signings involving offensive players get most of the attention around here, as they should. Howerever, there are a lot of factors that go into production - quality of linemates and teammates, coaching, ice time, competition, chemistry, and so on.
With all of that being said, let's take a look at some of the best - and most underappreciated - UFA signings from last summer.
Boyes played his cards well last summer. Coming off of a disappointing stint in Buffalo, the former 40-goal man opted to go to Long Island in order to find his offensive game once again. He earned the right wing spot on the top line and didn’t look back. Boyes had 10 goals and 35 points in 48 games, and he will be looking to parlay that into a multi-year deal very soon.
The lesson here: pay attention to line combinations. Boyes benefitted tremendously from the fresh start and opportunity given to him by the Islanders.
Two things helped Matt Duchene get back on track. One was overhauling his diet and training, and two was the signing of Parenteau. Many thought that PAP would lose some production after leaving the Tavares situation on Long Island, but he was one of few bright spots in the Mile High City last year. PAP and Duchene were one of the best duos in the league, and they figure to carry the Colorado attack for the foreseeable future.
The lesson here: pay attention to line combinations – but not too much. PAP was supposed to suffer without Tavares, but he proved that he was a capable top six forward all by himself. Good talent shines through in most situations.
The lesson here: another “residual fantasy value” signing. McClement logged tough minutes for the Leafs, and he helped create easier roles for other forwards on the team. And his incredible work ethic rubbed off on several of his younger teammates, as he quickly assumed a leadership position in the dressing room. Pay attention to these types of signings.
The Flyers didn’t want to pony up for Carle (so they waited a year and gave the same money to a much older version – Mark Streit). Carle had a strong 2013 season for a very weak Lightning defensive group. He led their blue line in points (22) and ice time (23:44 per game). He’s a good skater and a very good puck mover – a valuable commodity in the NHL today.
Many said Carle was overpaid when he signed the deal last summer (six years and $33 million), but it was just a preview of what was to come. NHL teams value puck movers tremendously, and they are compensated for it. Carle doesn’t even turn 30 until September 2014.
As I said in my analysis below, the Flyers lost a 24 minute a night defenseman who was good for 40 points a season. Carle did exactly both of those things (per game pace for production) last year in Tampa Bay.
Garrison was brought in to Vancouver to play good defense and score goals. And after a shaky few weeks to start 2013, he did just that. He was Vancouver’s most dependable defenseman on many nights, and he has arguably the best one-timer in hockey. Canuck fans couldn’t figure out why he didn’t get PP1 ice time, but that should happen with a new coach in town.
Garrison scored 16 goals in his final season in Florida. Many figured he would struggle to hit half of that total with the Canucks.
Garrison scored only once in the first 15 games of 2013. He scored seven goals in the final 32 games of 2013 (an 18 goal pace).