Well, that was exciting, wasn't it? As the dust settles (somewhat) following the whirlwind player movement that took place on July 1st, here's a roundup of some of the fantasy-relevant players who have found new NHL homes, either via trade or by signing as free agents. We'll examine all of the fantasy hockey fallout that may entice -- or perhaps turn off -- managers in leagues of varying sizes.
Players on the move
Turns out the bright lights/big city appeal won out in the end for the now second-highest paid player in the NHL. He's proven capable of scoring in bunches in both Chicago and Columbus, so there's little reason to believe Panarin can't continue his productive ways in New York -- particularly aside top center Mika Zibanejad, who erupted for 74 points himself last season. The more pressing question concerns who settles in on the right side of that forward duo. Pavel Buchnevich? Second-overall draft pick Kaapo Kakko? Fantasy managers should pay close attention to how it all sorts out since whoever settles in that spot is in for a fantastic year. On the back end, former Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba is in line for his first 60-point season as the early favorite to anchor the Rangers' top power play, along with the likes of Panarin, Zibanejad and Kakko.
Pavelski's addition in Dallas shakes out one of two ways. Either the former San Jose captain joins a scoring line with sophomore center Roope Hintz, or he'll skate on a top unit with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, bumping Alexander Radulov to Hintz's line. Regardless of which it is, we can all agree that Hintz is the big winner here. He shouldn't be overlooked by fantasy managers of any stripe. Back in San Jose, the Sharks have a significant hole to fill on their right side up front, suggesting they'll add another body this offseason.
The Coyotes finally harbor an elite scoring threat, which will do wonders for whoever skates with the veteran winger, presumably center Derek Stepan and youngster Clayton Keller. The rest of Arizona's lineup still forecasts relatively conservative numbers. (Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the exception, as a member of the top power play.) Boy, that No. 1 line is going to score a bunch. Stepan, in particular, could be in for a career campaign and shouldn't be bypassed in the later rounds of most conventional fantasy drafts.
Jetting the other way in the deal sending Kessel to the desert, Galchenyuk couldn't ask for a better opportunity to finally prove he's more than a perennial disappointment. If the 2012 third-round draft selection can't contribute regularly on a scoring line with Evgeni Malkin (more likely) or Sidney Crosby (less likely), then we can probably call it a day for him, at least on this side of the Atlantic. In the final year of his NHL contract, the pressure is on. Fantasy managers with a taste for high-risk/high-reward assets should be all over this guy. Just don't seek him out too early.
Hopefully, Duchene settles in Nashville more hastily than when he joined the Senators two autumns ago, or even the Blue Jackets this past winter. He didn't make much of a favorable first impression in either of those places. Spending all summer getting used to his new digs, plus a full warmup in training camp, should do the trick. Serving as the club's "1B" center behind Ryan Johansen, Duchene isn't surrounded by top-tier scoring talent. Nevertheless, a bounceback season from winger Mikael Granlund should help in securing 60-plus points for the newest Predator. A role on the top power play with Filip Forsberg would also help in that regard.
While Barrie undoubtedly makes the Maple Leafs an even better hockey team, he's likely to see a minor dip in personal production outside of Colorado. The offensive-defenseman collected 25 points on the power play this past season -- most of them assists -- almost exclusively in the company of the Avalanche's top three guns: Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen. Unless Barrie bumps Morgan Rielly from his spot on Toronto's top unit, he won't be surrounded by the same caliber of special-teams scoring talent. The top-pair defenseman is still going to contribute regularly, just not quite to his most recent 0.76 points-per-game pace.
Back in Colorado, either rookie Cale Makar or Samuel Girard is favored to replace Barrie on the No. 1 power play. That's a big deal. Fantasy managers should seriously target whoever nails that spot down. Furthermore, Toronto's payment for Barrie, center Nazem Kadri, finds himself back on a second scoring line after falling behind the Auston Matthews/John Tavares combo in Toronto. Playing alongside fellow newcomer Andre Burakovsky (who desperately needed a change of scenery after never figuring it out in Washington), Kadri should return to his 30-goal/60-point ways. He may even do better than that if he carves out a spot on MacKinnon's power play.
Getting out from (slightly) under Roman Josi's shadow in Nashville, Subban takes over as the Devils' undisputed No. 1 blue-liner in New Jersey. The top-pair puck-moving defenseman will skate close to 24 minutes-per-game and notch around 60 points, many of them coming on a power play that might also include No. 1 draft pick Jack Hughes. Those are top-10 numbers for a fantasy defenseman.
Also, it's worth keeping an eye on how veteran forward Wayne Simmonds fits in up front with the Devils, following his freshly-signed one-year deal. Simmonds is coming off a dud of a 2018-19, split between Philadelphia and Nashville, but he largely played hurt. A restorative summer could go a long way to a bounceback year with his new squad. A formidable power-play presence not so long ago, he may be worth a flier later in deeper fantasy drafts.
The Wild isn't paying Zuccarello an average of $6 million a year to fill a depth role. Look forward to the diminutive winger's first 65-point season (assuming he stays healthy) as he competes on the team's top line and power play. He might also help to re-ignite center Eric Staal, who stumbled last year after two straight impressive campaigns in Minnesota.
The former Red Wing has big skates to fill as he replaces Panarin on Columbus' top line next to Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson. He won't score 80-plus points like his predecessor, but he should top 60 for the first time in his career. If not, he won't last on that No. 1 line very long. Consider Nyquist to be a fantasy wild card worth some thought a little later on in most drafts.
If you liked Bobrovsky as a fantasy asset in Columbus, you'll appreciate him more under Joel Quenneville. He certainly enjoy more goal-scoring support in Sunrise (even without Panarin on board). The Panthers are paying Bobrovsky the big bucks to start 60-plus games and help waltz them into the playoffs -- which he should manage well enough.
More interesting, perhaps, is the situation back in Columbus. Right now, Joonas Korpisalo sits solo as the clear No. 1, with Elvis Merzlikins as backup. If you don't believe the Jackets are headed off a cliff after winning their first ever playoff series -- and some certainly feel this way -- and if you have faith in Korpisalo's abilities, he might serve as an intriguing sleeper option in conventional fantasy leagues.
With full respect to the accomplishments of this past season, there are two significant concerns here. One, Lehrer parts ways with Islanders' goalie coach Mitch Korn -- a relationship that clearly worked in the netminder's favor. Second, Corey Crawford was better than solid in his healthy wrap-up to 2018-19 for the Blackhawks. If Crawford, seemingly symptom-free concussion-wise, performs up to his standards, why would Chicago evenly divvy up time in the crease? There's a clear No. 1 in Chicago, and it's not the Masterton Memorial Trophy winner.
Like Lehner before him, Varlamov is expected to split time with fellow Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss. Unless one of them runs with the gig -- and our money's on Varlamov if that's how it shakes out -- the situation is far from ideal for fantasy managers (outside of daily play). While we like him hooking up with Korn in New York, injuries have also been a concern for the former Colorado goalie. There are superior fantasy options in net to be found elsewhere.
Unless Andrei Vasilevskiy falls hurt, McElhinney won't see too much action through 2019-20. However, when he does play, the 36-year-old veteran merits a spot start or investment in DFS play. The Lightning will win far more than they'll lose, and McElhinney has been good-to-great, playing sporadically, four seasons running now.