Is It OK To… Drop Pacioretty? Trade Pettersson? Add Aberg?

Those drafting Max Pacioretty hoping for a bounce-back have been discouraged with the fact that he has recorded just two points (both goals) over his first ten games as a Vegas Golden Knight. Now that he is sidelined with a day-to-day injury, fantasy owners might be in the unenviable position of deciding whether to cut bait. Obviously, it’s more ideal if you can bench him or place him on IR (if/when he is eligible) should he need some more time to become acclimatized to Vegas.

The fact is, though, that Pacioretty has been mediocre for over a season now. In terms of points per game since the start of the 2017-18 season, Patches isn’t even among the top 150 (minimum 70 games played). Players with a similar points-per-game-played total include Kevin Hayes, Alexander Kerfoot, Kevin Labanc, Alexander Wennberg, and Bryan Rust – players who were drafted long after Pacioretty in single-season leagues. That’s simply not getting it done, particularly in shallow leagues where a higher-scoring option likely resides on the waiver wire.

Things could get better for Patches in Vegas. He should still be on the first power-play unit once he returns. Paul Stastny will also return from injury at some point. And maybe, just maybe, he even cracks the top line somehow. But when someone in the Forum inquired about dropping Patches for Anders Lee (among other choices he listed), I said I was fine with that. So if you're in a shallow league, go ahead and make the move if you need to. 


Is there anything that can stop Elias Pettersson right now? With two more goals, the kid is up to seven goals and ten points in just seven games. At this point, if you think he’s a flash in the pan, then you need to watch him and you’ll be convinced otherwise. Let’s just say he’s far surpassed what I usually draft in the 15th round (176th overall) in a single-season fantasy league.

It got to the point where as I was watching the Canucks/Wild game on Monday night, I was actually considering selling high on him. With just 16 shots taken, Pettersson is shooting at an out-of-this-world 43 percent clip. In other words, no one shoots that high. So unless he finds a way to take even more shots, or his shooting percentage remains sky-high similar to William Karlsson last season, the goal totals will eventually fall. Even if that happens, 30 goals seems like a realistic projection and would be an incredible output for the rookie.

I decided to look up Yahoo’s Trade Market feature to find out what Pettersson is worth on the trade market. Pettersson was traded 1-for-1 for the following players: Jordan Staal, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jonathan Marchessault, Leon Draisaitl, and Aleksander Barkov. The Staal deal seemed like highway robbery, but the other deals seemed fair. Ristolainen can provide help on D in certain multicategory leagues, while the last three are proven commodities that should be able to reach 70 points (barring injury). So if trading Pettersson, I would aim for about that caliber of player.

So with that in mind, I decided to accept the offer that, by coincidence, was presented to me today: Pettersson for Jack Eichel. As much as I would like to marvel at the super sleeper sitting on my roster all season, I’m pocketing the closer-to-sure point-per-game production and crossing my fingers that top-50 pick Eichel doesn’t fall victim to the injury bug again.


After being embarrassed by the Coyotes on Saturday, the Lightning took out their frustrations on the Devils on Tuesday with an 8-3 exorcism of the Devils on Tuesday (Halloween reference intended). Brayden Point led the charge with a goal and four assists. The Lightning have juggled their lines around numerous times this season, so it’s worth mentioning that Point was on a line with Yanni Gourde (3 assists) and Tyler Johnson (2 points).

Although he recorded just one assist in this game, J.T. Miller is back on the Nikita Kucherov/Steven Stamkos line. If someone hastily bailed on him because he was bumped down to the fourth line, he’s worth finding a roster spot for on your team. By the way, Kucherov and Stamkos each recorded three points on Tuesday.

Because he allowed seven goals (on 38 shots by the early third period), Keith Kinkaid was pulled in favor of Cory Schneider. This was Schneider’s first appearance of the season, where he allowed a goal on six shots over the garbage time known as the last 15 minutes of this game. Although Kinkaid has fallen back to earth recently, I think he’s played decently enough over this season and last to at least form a timeshare here. I’ll predict, though, that Schneider will start the Devils’ next game, which is a relatively cupcake matchup against Detroit on Thursday.


Death, taxes, and Kris Letang injury reports. Letang was a game-time decision on Tuesday, but the Penguins appeared to err on the side of caution. But with Letang we can never be too sure it will be “just” one game. How can you tell I have been a Letang keeper owner for several years now?

Tanger’s injury meant that Jusso Riikola drew in on the stacked Penguins’ first-unit power play. Unfortunately he couldn’t record a point, and his presence on that unit will last only as long as Letang’s injury.

Speaking of oft-injured players, Robin Lehner left Tuesday’s game after two periods with what Barry Trotz described as a “strain.”


Torey Krug returned to the Bruins’ lineup on Tuesday, recording one assist while resuming first-unit power-play duties. Charlie McAvoy and now Matt Grzelcyk did not play due to injuries, though.

About a week and a half ago I mentioned that I wasn’t concerned about Jaroslav Halak stealing starts from Tuukka Rask. Well, here we are and Halak is still on a roll. On Tuesday he stopped 42 of 44 shots he faced in backstopping the Bruins to a 3-2 victory over Carolina. The Bruins don’t play again until Saturday against Nashville, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Halak gets the nod again, which would render Rask useless for this week. Rask owners will just need to ride this out, while Halak is worth at least a short-term pickup if you have room and he’s available.

Sebastian Aho continues to pile up assists. With a helper on Tuesday, he ties an NHL record with assists in each of his first 12 games.


With his first goal of the season and an assist on Tuesday, Alex Galchenyuk now has four points in four games as a Coyote. Don’t take the Yotes offense for granted right now, as they have scored 20 goals over their last four games.

Your lowlight of the night was from this game. A nightmare of a goal allowed by Mike Condon. What was funny was watching Derek Stepan skate to the bench as he dumped the puck in!


A night after being held pointless in Vancouver, Eric Staal scored a power-play goal and added two assists in the Wild’s 4-3 victory over Edmonton.

Of note for the Wild is that rookie Jordan Greenway was promoted to Staal’s line for this game, although he could not record a point. He was briefly sent to the AHL, where he recorded a hat trick during one of his two games. Minnesota has enough scorers for three solid forward lines, which could end up helping Greenway.


Joe Thornton returned to the Sharks’ lineup on Tuesday, but he was held without a point in 14 minutes of icetime. But if you’re holding out hope for him this season, the good news was that he was on a line with Joe Pavelski and the red-hot Timo Meier.

With another goal on Tuesday, Meier now has goals in five consecutive games (six goals over that span) along with a nine-game point streak. Scoring at over a point per game, Meier has been one of fantasy hockey’s top sleepers. But be careful, as his shooting percentage remains quite high (nearly 25 percent). Although he’s now a legitimate option in most fantasy leagues and has been placed with solid linemates, he will inevitably slow down at some point.


Pontus Aberg is red hot, having scored four goals over his past two games. You may recall that he was picked up off waivers on October 1 by the Ducks after being a somewhat surprising cut from the Oilers, who acquired him at last season’s deadline because the Predators couldn’t find room for him. Since the waiver claim, all he has done is match his goal total from all of last season (53 games) over the past three days.

If you drafted Aberg as a sleeper, it would have been because of the outside chance that he would receive the prized Connor McDavid golden ticket. Now he’s on Anaheim’s top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell, which isn’t quite McDavid but it’s much better than what he’s used to. At the moment he’s still a 1 percenter in Yahoo leagues, which makes him officially worth an add in deeper formats.  

John Gibson received a well-deserved night off, with Ryan Miller facing “just” 36 shots. That was the Ducks’ lowest shots allowed total over the past five games. If you’re a Gibson owner, once-a-week rest breaks to allow Miller to start should be considered a blessing in disguise. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m seriously concerned about a Gibson wear-and-tear injury with the barrage of shots the Ducks face on a nightly basis.

That Ducks/Flyers game took a strange turn. With just over two minutes to play, Aberg tied the game with his second goal (on the power play). But 21 seconds later when it was almost safe to assume that overtime was looming, Nolan Patrick put the Flyers in the lead for good.


Happy Halloween! Enjoy your evening, but remember to do so safely. Here’s a last-minute costume idea if you need one.



For more fantasy hockey information, you can follow me on Twitter @Ian_Gooding.