MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Top 250
Mrazek signs with Maple Leafs
Goalie Petr Mrazek has signed a three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, giving him fantasy appeal this season as part of a likely timeshare tandem with Jack Campbell. Mrazek was a top five fantasy goalie when healthy last season, going 6-2-3 with a .923 save percentage and three shutouts in 12 games. Although Mrazek dealt with multiple injuries and lost the No. 1 spot to Nedeljkovic for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Mrazek is still capable of being an efficient option for Toronto.
Mrazek was 50-32-8 with a .911 SV% and 10 shutouts in three seasons with the Hurricanes and could have similar fantasy peripherals with the Maple Leafs, who should provide plenty of goal support with elite forwards Auston Matthews, Mitchell Marner, John Tavares (if ready for start of season) and William Nylander. Campbell and Mrazek should be considered top 15-20 fantasy goalies and an ideal handcuff option worth targeting outside the top 100 overall.
Grubauer, Schwartz agree to terms with Kraken
The Seattle Kraken have agreed to terms with elite fantasy goalie Philipp Grubauer on a six-year contract and valuable left wing Jaden Schwartz on a five-year contract. These moves boost Seattle’s team fantasy appeal and could help them challenge for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Pacific Division.
Grubauer loses some fantasy appeal going from one of the NHL’s best teams in the Colorado Avalanche to an expansion franchise in the Kraken but should be the clear No. 1 starter over Chris Driedger, who signed a three-year contract with Seattle on July 19, and Vitek Vanecek.
A finalist for the Vezina Trophy (top NHL goalie) with the Avalanche last season, Grubauer was 30-9-1 with a .922 save percentage, tied for the most shutouts (seven) in the League and 6-4 with a .914 SV% in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Previously the No. 2 goalie in NHL.com’s fantasy rankings, Grubauer should now be considered a top 15 option with the ceiling of finishing among the 10 best if the Kraken are a big surprise in their inaugural season, similar to when the Vegas Golden Knights made the Stanley Cup Final in 2018.
Schwartz is a leading candidate to play on Seattle’s top line in its inaugural season. Schwartz, who scored at least 55 points in five of the six seasons when he played at least 62 games for the St. Louis Blues, should be one of Seattle’s leading scorers this season, along with right wing Jordan Eberle (selected in NHL Expansion Draft from New York Islanders).
Even with Schwartz missing time because of injuries in recent seasons, he has strong NHL career highs in many of the standard fantasy categories: 28 goals in 2014-15, 36 assists in 2016-17), a plus-28 in 2013-14, 20 power-play points in 2019-20 and three seasons with more than 180 shots on goal. Schwartz’s best NHL season came in 2017-18, when he scored 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists) in 62 games.
Although Schwartz should have prime usage for the Kraken under coach Dave Hakstol, potential No. 1 center Yanni Gourde (shoulder surgery) may not be ready for the start of the season. Schwartz, in recent seasons, had the luxury of a valuable center linemate in either Ryan O’Reilly or Brayden Schenn whenever healthy with the Blues. The options to center the Kraken top line include deep fantasy sleepers Jared McCann (32 points in 43 games with Pittsburgh Penguins last season) and Alex Wennberg (agreed to terms on three-year contract). Even still, Schwartz will be ranked third among Kraken players behind Grubauer and Eberle.
Suter, Holtby sign with Stars
Defenseman Ryan Suter has signed a four-year contract with the Dallas Stars, making them one of the strongest teams at the position in the NHL. Suter will join Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg among the top 50 rankings at the position; Heiskanen and Klingberg are ranked among the 20 best options.
Suter is coming off a down season (19 points in 56 regular-season games; one assist in seven playoff games) for the Minnesota Wild but was one of the most valuable fantasy defensemen in 2019-20 with 48 points (ninth in NHL at position), 18 on the power play (T-12th), in 69 games. He likely won’t get a first power-play role with the Stars but should still be drafted in late fantasy rounds as a safe bench defenseman from a potential bounce-back team.
The Stars have also signed veteran goalie Braden Holtby to a one-year contract. He joins an already crowded group at the position, which includes Ben Bishop, Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger. Fantasy managers should wait and see if Dallas makes any moves involving their other goalies before considering Holtby as a late-round pick behind a strong defense.
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