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Fantasy Pool Look: Top 10 free agent value jumps

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Now that the free agent frenzy dust has settled let’s take a look at some of the players who saw their value jump after joining a new team. These are only the players who changed teams as free agents (not traded). Three big names you won’t see here - Brad Richards, Ville Leino and Tomas Fleischmann - are absent because their points projection went sideways (or even slightly downwards, in the case of Fleischmann leaving Colorado).

10. Cam Barker, Edmonton

Back from the dead? Poolies went from dropping the 2004 third overall pick in droves to suddenly being a little curious. Ryan Whitney will run this young power play, but Barker and Tom Gilbert will battle it out for the other spot on the blueline.

9. Sean Bergenheim, Florida

His career-high of 29 points is nothing special; his nine goals in 16 playoff games are. On the Panthers he’ll see more than the 13:58 per game he played in Tampa Bay, which boosts his value from zero to...mildly interesting. Think high-30s for points and potentially 70 penalty minutes.

8. Tim Connolly, Toronto

On most teams, as a second-liner, Connolly is still good for 45-to-50 points or so if he’s reasonably healthy (and that’s another article altogether). On Toronto as a top-liner, he could feasibly post 60 points in 70 games.

7. Simon Gagne, Los Angeles

Gagne showed in the post-season and down the stretch he is still a talented offensive player. As a part of the top six on a team that boasts two very talented pivots, the situation is much better for him than it would be in most other NHL cities.

6. Jose Theodore, Florida

Theodore went from hanging onto his NHL career by his fingernails to suddenly becoming a No.1 goaltender. Granted, it’s for the Florida Panthers, but still, 25 wins are better than zero.

5. Steve Sullivan, Pittsburgh

Injuries have slowed the offensive dynamo who looks like he’s on his last legs. But, just like they did with Bill Guerin, the Penguins will re-energize this veteran’s waning career. No other situation would set Sullivan up to reach the 55-point mark besides this one.

4. Sheldon Souray, Dallas

Just getting back into the NHL boosts his value. Going from a projection of zero points to as many as 45 or 50 will do that for a player. And no, I don’t think Souray’s arrival hurts Alex Goligoski - if anything, it will help him.

3. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado

Injuries, constantly losing the top job to Michal Neuvirth and finally the threat of the Kontinental League forced me to trade Varlamov a month ago to get what I could, when I could. Oops. The pick upgrade I got to the upper-middle round of the draft won’t compensate me for the potential 30 wins I didn’t know I was giving up.

2. Mike Smith, Phoenix

Even after a stellar, albeit brief, playoff performance, there was still doubt Smith would get a job at all in this league - at least in the minds of poolies. Now he’s the starting goaltender for a team that just missed posting 100 points in 2010-11.

1. Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia

Jagr was such a big superstar that even after he went to the KHL he was still owned in two of my keeper leagues for the next two seasons. If they just hung on to him one more they’d be laughing. That said, temper your expectations for Jagr, who is probably looking at 55 points…perhaps 60.

Next week we’ll have the top 10 players who saw their value impacted by the arrival (or departure) of another free agent.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.

Do you have a question about fantasy hockey? Send it to the Fantasy Mailbag.

Want more fantasy insider information or to contact The Dobber? Check out dobberhockey.comor follow him on Twitter at @DobberHockey.


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