There were a flurry of free agent signings when the market opened July 28. Many involved teams rounding out their depth charts and AHL squads with minor signings, but several involved teams backing up the Brinks truck in order to bring major pieces in that will be key to the club's success over the next few seasons.

Let's examine some of this offseason's major free agent signings that will surely impact this season's Fantasy landscape.


Alex Ovechkin - Washington Capitals

There was little doubt that Ovechkin would re-sign with the Capitals, as he'd been vocal about his desire to stay in Washington leading up to free agency, and what seemed like an inevitability came to fruition July 27 when the Great Eight signed a five-year, $47.5 million deal with the Caps. Ovi had a bit of a down year from a goal-scoring standpoint in 2020-21, potting 24 through 45 games, but the Russian sniper racked up 48 scores through 68 contests during the previous campaign, so there's little reason to believe he won't return to Rocket Richard form in 2021-22, even at 35 years of age.

Jaden Schwartz - Seattle Kraken

The Kraken didn't wait long to make a splash in the forwards market, signing Schwartz to a five-year, $27.5 million contract on the first day of free agency. Schwartz wasn't great offensively last season, totaling just eight goals and 13 helpers through 40 games, but he's posted 55-plus points in three of the past five campaigns and two 22-plus goal seasons over that same stretch, so the upside will be there heading into 2021-22. The 29-year-old winger will almost certainly skate on Seattle's first line and top power-play unit, so opportunities to put up points shouldn't be in short supply.

Gabriel Landeskog - Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche had to let a few complementary pieces, including Brandon Saad and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, walk in free agency in order to make it work, but it was worth it to keep Landeskog in the fold for the next eight campaigns at a reasonable $7 million per year. Landy will continue to flank the ultra-talented Nathan MacKinnon for the foreseeable future, and he shouldn't have any trouble putting up at least 25 goals and 60 points in 2021-22.

Phillip Danault - Los Angeles Kings

Danault has spent the last five seasons with the Canadiens, but he was lured away by LA on the first day of free agency with a six-year, $33 million deal. Danault is one of the best two-way players in the league and is particularly renowned for his faceoff and defensive abilities, but he's also more than capable of chipping in offensively. The 28-year-old pivot notched just five goals and 24 points in 53 games last season after racking up 13 scores and 34 helpers through 71 contests during the previous campaign, but it sounds like the Kings are willing to give him more opportunities to contribute offensively, which could lead to a return to form for Danault as a points producer in 2021-22.

Zach Hyman - Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers made a major splash when they signed Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5 million deal when free agency opened. Some suspect it was an overpay for a 29-year-old forward who plays a physical game and who's dealt with significant injuries in each of the last two seasons, but Edmonton clearly was willing to pony up some extra cash in order to land a much-needed top-six option. Hyman will likely get the opportunity to skate with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl (and perhaps occasionally, both) in 2021-22, putting him in a position to put up career-high numbers across the board.


Dougie Hamilton - New Jersey Devils

The Devils arguably snatched the crown jewel of this year's free agent class when they signed Hamilton to a monster seven-year, $63 million contract July 28. Although he has some shortcomings in his own end, Hamilton has been one of the NHL's best offensive-minded defenseman since his age-21 season in 2014-15, amassing 94 goals and 300 points through 501 appearances over the past seven campaigns. The 28-year-old blueliner should immediately invigorate a Devils power-play unit that ranked 28th in the NHL last year with an unsightly 14.2% conversion rate. Despite his new surroundings, look for Hamilton to put up around 15 goals and 60 points this season.

Tyson Barrie - Edmonton Oilers

Barrie had arguably his best season yet during his first year with Edmonton in 2020-21, racking up eight goals and 48 points, 23 of which came with the man advantage, in just 56 contests, so it was hardly surprising to see him re-sign with the Oilers on a three-year, $13.5 million deal when free agency opened. The 30-year-old blueliner will continue to quarterback an Edmonton power-play unit that boasts elite talent in Connor McDavid andhttps://www.rotowire.com/hockey/player.php?id=4712Leon Draisaitl, so a repeat performance could be on tap for Barrie in 2021-22.

Alec Martinez - Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights retained a key piece of their blue-line corps when they re-signed Martinez to a three-year, $15.75 million deal July 28. The 34-year-old American was fantastic for Vegas last season, picking up nine goals, 32 points, 85 shots and a plus-26 rating as well as a league-leading 168 blocked shots. Especially if your Fantasy league rewards blocks, Martinez will be a player worth targeting on draft day.

Ryan Suter - Dallas Stars

It came as a bit of a surprise when the Wild announced in mid-July that the final four years of Suter's contract would be bought out, but the veteran blueliner didn't have to wait long to find a new landing spot, signing a four-year, $14.6 million contract with the Stars on the first day of free agency. Suter's offensive production fell off a cliff in 2020-21, as he only managed 19 points in 56 contests after racking up 48 points through 69 games during the previous campaign. It also remains to be seen how much power-play usage Suter will see with Dallas with John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen both ahead of him in the pecking order, so selecting Suter on draft day will come with a fair amount of risk.


Philipp Grubauer - Seattle Kraken

Despite already having Chris Driedger on their roster, the Kraken decided to go all out in acquiring a No. 1 netminder by signing Grubauer to a six-year, $35.4 million contract July 28. Grubauer was fantastic for the Avalanche in 2020-21, going 30-9-1 with seven shutouts while maintaining an impressive 1.95 GAA and .922 save percentage, a performance that made him a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Grubauer almost certainly won't put up a repeat performance in 2021-22, but the Kraken have a respectable blue-line corps and could surprise in a questionable Pacific division, making the 29-year-old German an option worth considering on draft day.

Linus Ullmark - Boston Bruins

Tuukka Rask, an unrestricted free agent, underwent hip surgery in late July and may simply opt to retire, and Jaroslav Halak signed with Vancouver to be Thatcher Demko's backup, both of which prompted the Bruins to bring Ullmark in on a four-year, $20 million contract. Ullmark has been solid over the past two seasons despite playing for an awful Sabres team, going 26-20-6 while posting a 2.63 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Jeremy Swayman is the Bruins' goalie of the future, but Ullmark is poised to serve as a strong Boston squad's No. 1 option in 2021-22, making him an attractive Fantasy option.

Frederik Andersen - Carolina Hurricanes

Andersen struggled with the Maple Leafs last season, going 13-8-3 while posting a sub-par 2.96 GAA and .895 save percentage, but the Hurricanes nonetheless made it clear they intend to have the 31-year-old Dane serve as their top option in goal in 2021-22 when they signed him to a two-year, $9 million deal after trading Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic to the Red Wings and letting Petr Mrazek walk in free agency. If Andersen is able to return to form, he should be able to rack up plenty of wins with a Carolina club that shouldn't have any trouble making the playoffs, but that's a big if.