Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Yamamoto vs. Bjorkstrand; Klingberg’s future; Dach’s value, and more – June 24

Rick Roos


Once again I'm pleased that no hockey didn't mean no mailbag questions, as I gratefully received plenty from loyal DobberHockey readers. As per usual, I'll aim to provide information via my answers to these questions while also giving advice that should be useful to all poolies even if they don't own the specific players being discussed.

As a reminder, if you want your fantasy hockey question answered in the next mailbag, be sure to check out the end of the column, where I explain the ways to get it to me. The earlier you send a question the more likely it is to be included, and the deeper dive I can provide with my reply. (editor's note: some questions edited for brevity without changing the intent or description of the original question.)


Question #1 (from Shadi)

I’m in a 10-team keeper league where each team has 18 roster spots (21 actually, counting 3 IR) and a starting roster consisting of 2C, 2LW, 2RW, 4D and 2G. The scoring categories are G (2 pts), A (1 pt), PPG (1 pt), PPA (1 pt), SHG (3 pts), SHA (2 pts), GWG (2 pts), Wins (5 pts), SO (5 pts). Also, the league is set up for 82 maximum played games for each roster spot.


My current roster is as follows: Nathan MacKinnon (C), Jack Eichel (C), Brad Marchand (LW), Jason Zucker (LW/RW), Mark Stone (RW), Blake Wheeler (RW), Jake Guentzel (LW/RW), Brock Boeser (RW), Nikita Gusev (LW), Viktor Arvidsson (LW/RW), Bryan Rust (LW/RW), Tyler Toffoli (RW/LW), Shea Theodore (D), Tyson Barrie (D), Rasmus Dahlin (D), Morgan Rielly (D), Erik Gustafsson (D), Tuukka Rask (G), Jaroslav Halak (G), Semyon Varlamov (G), Thomas Greiss (G).


We are able to keep 8 consisting of 1C, 1LW, 1RW, 2D, 1G and 2 from any position. I’d like your input on deciding on my keepers for next year. First, do you agree with my "must keep" list of MacKinnon, Eichel, Marchand, Guentzel, Dahlin, and Rask? If not, who shouldn't make the cut? And what about the other two (or more) spots? My thoughts are if I keep a 5th forward, it's either Stone or Wheeler and for a second D I'm debating between Rielly (will he get back on PP1?) and Barrie (where will he sign?). I also think I have some good trade bait to acquire picks or upgrade my keepers! On that note, would you deal Stone for Alex DeBrincat


I have no issues with your must keeps; they're well suited to your categories and, other than Marchand, likely to only get even better. For your two other spots, I'm probably keeping Rielly and Wheeler. Yes, Rielly was pushed to PP2 in favor of Barrie once Sheldon Keefe was installed as coach; however, with Barrie unlikely to re-sign, I think Keefe has little choice but to give the keys to the PP1 car back to Rielly. As for Wheeler, he started slow but had 57 points in his last 55 games. Also, since 2000-01, there are three other players who, like Wheeler, posted 91+ points at least twice at age 30+ : Jaromir Jagr, Martin St. Louis, and Joe Sakic. What do all three have in common? A season of 90+ at or after age 34, which is how old Wheeler will be for 2020-21. If for whatever reason you're still not comfortable with Rielly or Wheeler, then, for the last spot, give me Barrie over Stone. With Stone you know what you get, which is 80-85 points; but that's his ceiling, and he's had injury issues in the past. Barrie is a dynamic player who should fare well no matter where he signs. I'm taking him over Stone, if need be.

As far as trade options, look to move whichever of Rielly/Wheeler/Barrie you don't keep, plus Stone, as well as even Rust and Toffoli, who both got a lot of attention in the late season and thus might fetch a nice return. Perhaps you can trade one or more of the forwards, with Rielly or Barrie, to get a rearguard keeper upgrade? In terms of DeBrincat, I wouldn't acquire him. Yes. he'll almost assuredly rebound, but not enough to make him a keeper in view of your other options. Good luck!


Question #2 (from Julien)

I’m wondering who should be my keepers (ten total) for next year in a 12-team league (4C, 4LW, 4RW, 6D and 2G starting, plus 5 bench spots), with skater categories of Goals, Assists, +/-, PPP, SHP, GWG, and Games Started, Wins and SO for goalies.


It's only my second year in the league after having entered as an expansion team. I have accumulated a lot of early picks for next year’s draft and feel like I could compete for the first time, even while I’m still building the core of this team. My definite keeps are Andrei Svechnikov, Matthew Tkachuk, Quinn Hughes, Roman Josi, and Shea Theodore. Who would be your other five among: Dylan Larkin, Bo Horvat, Nico Hischier, Clayton Keller, Denis Gurianov, Sam Reinhart, Tomas Hertl, Nazem Kadri, Mikhail Sergachev, John Klingberg, Philipp Grubauer, Pavel Francouz, David Rittich, Linus Ulmark, and Thatcher Demko?


Of your five locked in keepers, the only one about whom I reservations is Theodore, as he did enough to lock down a spot on PP1 and produced well but had tons of secondary assists and some unsustainable puck luck. That having been said, you're only considering three d-men as retentions for a position where you start six, so maybe you keep all three, as I think Sergachev is on the rise and Klingberg, although not the force he was before Miro Heiskanen arrived, could still merit a spot.

I'm concerned about you not having a "tried and true" netminder keeper, as in a 12-team league with ten keepers I'm pretty sure most every other team will keep one, if not two, goalies, leaving you with scraps to draft. In my Goldipucks column on goalies I noted how I believed Grubauer would do poorly next season, so I don't think you keep him. But Colorado will likely give him every chance to succeed, so by the same token I don't think you keep Francouz. And I find it unlikely that Vancouver hands the crease to Demko even if Markstrom signs elsewhere. In the end I think you might have to grin and bear keeping Rittich, as Calgary is a team on the rise and for better or worse Rittich seems like the guy for them.

With Theodore, Sergachev, Klingberg and Rittich being kept, that leaves room for one forward. This league is almost perfect for Reinhart, as it doesn't count SOG or banger categories. He's tethered to Jack Eichel and, but for a late season slump, was scoring at a solid pace. As noted in my recent Forum Buzz column, I like Reinhart for 70+ points with an outside shot at point per game production is the Sabres improve as a team. But is he better than Keller, whom I see as the only other contender?

By Q4 Keller was finally on a line with Taylor Hall and Christain Dvorak. Also, his 65 points on 212 SOG as a teen puts him in fine company, as Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine were the only two other teens to score at least that many points and fire at least that many SOG dating back to 2010-11. And Keller did it for a team which scored 208 goals, versus 251 for the Leafs when Matthews accomplished the feat and 277 for the Jets when Laine did so. Plus, this will be Keller's magical fourth year and he's just above the 200-game breakout threshold, so a big jump in scoring might be in the cards. If you want the safer pick go with Reinhart, whereas if you want a better chance at home run potential, opt for Reinhart instead.

I happen to think Hischier, Hertl and Horvat will have solid seasons too. But I see the first two as redrafts given their disappointing, versus expectations, 2019-20 campaigns, and Horvat having a 70-point ceiling for 2020-21, which is a total that is likely easier for Reinhart (or even Keller) to reach.  Good luck!


Question #3 (from Robert)

Thanks for your advice last year. I was planning a rebuild at the time, but ended up going for it and together with some of your analysis I was able to secure the win. So now I'm looking to do it again!


My league is a 10-team, keep 5 counting G A +/- PP SHP GWG Shots PIM FW Hits Blocks GAA Save% Shutouts Wins and Saves. Rosters are 4C 4RW 4LW 6D 2G, plus 3 bench slots.


There is a 3-year maximum for keeping a player; but all my potential keepers have at least 2 years left, and there are no positional constraints on the players one can keep. In case it matters, we have 3 moves each week to stream players.


I plan on keeping John Carlson, Victor Hedman, Brady Tkachuk, Dougie Hamilton and Mika Zibanejad, but am wondering if I should swap in any of the following players instead: Matthew Tkachuk, J.T. Miller, Alex Pietrangelo, or Igor Shesterkin.


If it matters, I have my first round pick this year, but don't select again until rounds 5 and 6, where I have 2 picks each, then the rest of the picks are pretty much intact. The draft is a snake and I will draft 10th in the first round.


Which players would you keep, and which of my non-keeps do you think may be available in the first round and maybe with the four picks I have in 5th and 6th rounds? I'm concerned that Miller and/or Pietrangelo might not repeat their successes from last season and also wonder if I might be able to snag Tkachuk with one of my picks, but am not sure how he and Shesterkin might be valued next season. What are your thoughts?


I'm on board with your five keepers. You'll have arguably three of the league's top rearguards manning your blueline, plus a stat stuffer in Brady Thachuk and the newly – and sustainably – elite Zibanejad. A rock solid core.

In terms of your bubble guys, the only one I almost assuredly see making it to round five is Pietrangelo, but perhaps not if he signs with a high-profile team as a UFA. Maybe it's surprising that I'm not certain Shesterkin will be there at round 5, but the reality is he's played great at every level, is on a high-profile NHL team, and if he somehow doesn't ascend to be the clear cut #1 during 2020-21, he'll sit atop that perch for 2021-22 and, in all seriousness, could be more impactful than Jordan Binnington was during 2019-20. In fact, I'd put money on Shesterkin being a top five netminder by 2021-22 at the latest. For that reason, some team could reach for him prior to you picking in round 5. Then again, with only 40+ guys being drafted ahead of him and another 50 retained, maybe he makes it to round 5, in which case I think you seriously consider grabbing him.

Miller might be a guy I take in round 1, as he is great in so many of your categories and appears to be just starting to come into his own on a team – and line –on the rise. I could also see grabbing Matthew Tkachuk since he too is a great category contributor and Calgary might be more willing than ever to give him a longer look on the top line, especially in hopes of resparking Johnny Gaudreau. But it depends on who else isn't retained, as there could be better options available for you. Good luck!


Question #4 (from Jim)

I have four questions – short answers to each would be fine:

1) What is the likely upside for Kirby Dach, and how long will it take him to get there?

2) Would you trade Evgeni Kuznetsov, one for one, for either Rasmus Dahlin or Filip Zadina?

3) How long will it take Jordan Kyrou to reach his potential, and what is his ceiling?

4) Is Ilya Mikheyev a potential keeper for 2020-21, and what is his ceiling?


I like Kirby Dach, a lot. Yes, he only had 23 points in 64 games on 101 SOG this season. However, if we look beneath the surface we can see that in the one quarter – Q3 – where he had 16:30 of ice time per game he had eight points in 19 games on 41 SOG, and that was despite most often lining up with Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome, each of whom had down years. And ice time does appear to be key for Dach, what with during his stretch of six points in five games he had his two of his top five ice times for the season. For 2020-21 I see him reaching the point per every other game level; and by the time he gets to his magical fourth year he'll be at his breakout threshold, plus Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will be slowing, setting him up for major success at or near the point per game level. And before all is said and done, I see him having a chance to put up one or more 90-point seasons. If you own him, get ready to enjoy the ride.

I'd trade Kuznetsov for Dahlin in a heartbeat. Dahlin just competed the most statistically productive two seasons as a teen d-man in decades despite being on a Buffalo team that was still in the bottom third in scoring and PP percentage this season. Kuznetsov is a fine player; however, he seems to take games off. Plus, with Nicklas Backstrom now not going anywhere, Kuz no longer has a clear-cut path to being the #1 pivot for the Caps. There's also the fact that Kuznetsov doesn't assuredly fit on Washington's PP1, which really is not designed to support two centermen; and if you're off that unit you will essentially lose 10+ points you might otherwise score. As for Zadina, I think he has 40/40 potential and is someone I'd be eager to own; but his upside still pales in comparison to Dahlin's, who, once Buffalo gets things going, should be a perennial 70+ d-man with a shot at point per game output.

Playing for St. Louis, I feel, is giving Kyrou great exposure to talent and fundamentals and top-notch coaching. By the same token, it's likely holding – and will continue to hold – him back in terms of being able to fulfill his potential. And let's not forget whereas Dach was 19 this season, Kyrou is 22, so he should be starting to shine by now. Perhaps a shift to wing might be in the cards, as otherwise he's seemingly stuck in the bottom six. I feel the best thing that might be able to happen to Kyrou is to see him traded in a deadline deal by the Blues in their quest for another Cup, as on another team he should be able to step into a top six role and perform well. If that doesn't happen, then I'm not sure he'll get the opportunity to shine in St. Louis.

What concerns me about Mikheyev is his lack of PP Time, having taken the ice for, collectively, fewer than three-man advantage minutes in 39 games. Dating back to 2014-15 the highest point total for a forward who had three or fewer PPPts was 53 and only three averaged 0.6 points per game or better. Thus, Mikheyev's 0.58 points per game is probably is the best we'll see, and might even be unsustainably high. A good sign is his IPP (defined as percentage of 5×5 goals scored – with Mikheyev on the ice – where he received a point) was 74.2 percent, although that largely came by virtue of playing apart from the best Toronto players. If somehow he was put on a top six line his IPP almost assuredly would drop, although perhaps the scoring boost of being on that line might make it a wash overall. I'd expect about 40-45 points, with more if somehow he's able to find his way onto either of Toronto's PP units.


Question #5 (from Kevin)

I’m in an 8-team, keep-6 league. Rosters are 21 total, with no forward position requirement. The scoring categories are Forward Goal (1 point), Forward Assist, (1), Defenseman Goal (1.5), Defenseman Assist (1.5), GWG (2), Hat Trick (3), PPG (1), SHG (2), Goalie Assist (1), Goalie Goal (10), Goalie Game Played (0.05), Wins (2), Shutout (3), Overtime Losses + Shootout Losses (1).


Which of the following do you recommend as my six keepers: Aleksander Barkov, Kevin Hayes, Jonathan Huberdeau, Alex Iafallo, Travis Konecny, Gabriel Landeskog, J.T. Miller, Ryan O’Reilly, Artemi Panarin, Brayden Schenn, Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen, Mark Stone, Vladimir Namestnikov, Tony DeAngelo, Cale Makar, Neil Pionk, Jaccob Slavin, Keith Yandle, Marc-Andre Fleury, Pavel Francouz, Jonathan Quick, Sergei Bobrovsky, Philipp Grubauer?


First off, with there being only 48 keepers, and given your categories and options, no way am I retaining a goalie here. So which six skaters make the cut? Let's start with Makar, who, although overshadowed as the season wore on by Quinn Hughes, was quite superb. And I like Colorado to score more goals than the Canucks, giving Makar an edge, not to mention him turning 22 in October, putting him less at risk for a sophomore slump as a younger d-man. I think we might have seen DeAngelo's best, with Adam Fox poised to take on a more prominent role. If the Rangers plan on not showcasing DeAngelo, they could trade him, in which case he could step into a great situation wherever he lands. He's probably a keep as well. A big question mark is Yandle. In the first half he seemed primed for a great campaign with 32 points in 42 games; however, as the season wore on he slumped to 13 points in his last 28 games and saw his minutes crater, except on the PP. Meanwhile, Aaron Ekblad was breaking out. The Panthers are paying Yandle enough to ensure he isn't put out to pasture; however, I fear his age and consecutive games streak might be catching up to him and unless there aren't four quality forwards, he probably does not make the keeper cut even with the defenseman scoring multiplier.

And a quick look at the forwards group reveals no shortage of viable keepers. Panarin is perfect for this league since it doesn't expose some of his multi-cat weaknesses. Barkov and Huberdeau are proven elite, so they too make the cut. What needs to be decided is who the last forward keeper is, and whether there is another forward good enough so as to supplant DeAngelo as a keeper. Long term I think Svechnikov will be the best of the remaining bunch. But not counting SOG and PIM lowers his value, as does not having hits for Landeskog and Miller and not having FOW for ROR. As I said above, Stone is a steady eddie, but has had injury issues in the past and has likely hit his scoring ceiling of 80-85 points. Konecny took a major step forward and has 70-point downside and 90-point upside. In the end I think what Svechnikov showed at 19, plus being on Carolina, which is a team on the rise, makes him a keeper. As for Konecny versus DeAngelo, I think in your league you roll the dice and stick with DeAngelo and hope he wasn't just a one-year wonder.

One thing to emphasize – in a league with only 48 players being kept, every team will have to let go of high-level talent. So don't lament the players you're giving up, as everyone will be in the same boat.


Question #6 (from Jérémie)

I'm in a 10-team, H2H, variable keeper League (explained below). Categories are G, A, PPP, SOG, HITS, BLK, GS, W, S, SO, GA (negative). Positions are 2C, 1LW, 1RW, 2W, 1F, 4D, 2G, 4BENCH, 4Rookies.


I haven’t seen any other league use our variable keeper format, which is based on standings. Teams which finished in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place each keep 8 players, 4th to 7th keep 9, and 8th, 9th and 10th keep 10. Rookies are all automatically kept and are defined as being age 25 or younger and having played fewer than 25 games in the NHL.


I stacked my team this year trying to win, but ended up in 2nd place. My roster consisted of Andrei Vasilevskiy, Connor Hellebuyck, Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Huberdeau, Brad Marchand, Steven Stamkos, Taylor Hall, Kris Letang, J.T. Miller, Shea Weber, Elias Lindholm, David Perron, Blake Coleman, Mikael Backlund, Darnell Nurse, Shea Theodore, Chris Kreider, Tomas Hertl, Mark Borowiecki and Petr Mrazek. I also had four rookies going into 2019-20: Cole Caufield (still a rookie), Alexander Romanov (still a rookie), Jack Hughes (no longer a rookie), and Nick Suzuki (no longer a rookie).


In trying to arrive upon my keepers, I definitely want to keep both my goalies, as they finished first and second at that position and shouldn't be any worse in 2020-21. Others I'm locked on are Crosby, Huberdeau, Marchand and Stamkos.


The last two keeper spots are a bit trickier, I don't have a defenseman as a keeper, so Letang has a lot of lure, even with his injury history. I like Weber too, but he has the same issue and if I keep an older defenseman, Letang is the better bet in my opinion. In terms of the remaining players, I feel like Hall has the highest potential; also, I traded for him so I'd prefer not to let him go. That being said, Miller had a breakout season playing a bigger role with the young Vancouver team. He has great exposure to players like Petterson and Boeser.


Other players like Kreider, Perron, Coleman, Borowecki and Hertl had really good fantasy years but I think these players or similar players would be available in our draft. Do you think my last two spots come down to Miller and Letang, and, if so, who would you keep? I am leaning towards keeping Hall and Letang and trading Miller for better draft picks.


I'll be honest – I'm shocked this team didn't win your league. The good news is if you were able to put together a team this stacked, then even though you'll be losing some players who probably would be keepers on other teams, if you were able to assemble a team this good you should be able to do so again. Also, if there was ever a team made for moving non-retained players in the offseason, if that's allowed in your league, this looks like one to capitalize on doing so.

I agree with keeping both your goalies and the four guys you named. If you want to keep a d-man, I can see the lure in Letang, as if he even gives you 70 games, he figures to be worth his keeper status. That being said, there is some sense in considering Theodore, as although noted above he had a crazy high secondary assist percentage he is "the guy" in Vegas. So if you're truly too risk-averse to keep Letang, I'd go with Theodore as a d-man keeper. Whichever you don't keep, definitely explore trading.

Hall has the most name value of the guys left and likely would be picked earliest if all were put back into the draft. Still, I think you might want to give more consideration to Kreider, who was essentially a point-per-game player dating back to December. He was also averaging over three SOG per game in Q3, nearly two hits per game, and taking the ice for roughly two-third of the team's man advantage minutes. That's really good!

Yes, Hall is tantalizing; however, it's not clear whether he'll recapture his magic in Arizona. And even if he does he probably figures to be comparable to Kreider in scoring, but not in the other categories. As for Miller, he's likely a point-per-gamer too, and he hits; but he's not a high volume shooter so I think I still go with Kreder over him. As for Hall and Miller, do try and trade them, plus whichever of Theodore and Letang you don't keep. I might also consider keeping Miller or Hall over Letang or Theodore. Yes, that'd make it so you enter the draft with no rearguard keepers; however, your task is to build the best possible team and you might just be better with Hall or Miller than you would be with either Letang or Theodore. Or you could plan to keep none of the four, but instead trade one, two, or even more of them to get a top tier defenseman who then becomes your retention. Good luck!


Question #7 (from Jamie)

I'm in a deep dynasty points only league and I am one of a couple teams in true contention to win over the next couple years. I came in second this season due to losing key players (Dougie Hamilton, Mikko Rantanen, Steven Stamkos, etc.) to injury. Our league's salary cap takes the NHL's and multiplies it by 1.5 and my guess is the salary cap isn't moving next year so I need to start preparing for the worst.


My full roster is: Mikko Rantanen (W), Steven Stamkos (C, W), Ryan O'Reilly (C), Matthew Tkachuk (W), Alex DeBrincat (W), Filip Forsberg (W), William Karlsson (C), Jason Zucker (W), Jonathan Marchessault (C, W), Evgeni Malkin (C), Victor Arvidsson (W), Oliver Bjorkstrand (W), Kailer Yamamoto (W), Logan Couture (C), Chris Krieder (W), Evgeni Dadonov (W), Ilya Kovalchuk (W), Joel Armia (W), Kevin Hayes (C), Isac Lunderstrom (C), Serron Noel (W), Tyler Madden (C), Lias Anderson (C, W), Logan Brown (C), Brett Leason (W), Jason Robertson (W), Lucas Elvenes (C), Conor Garland (W), Bobby Brink (W), Erik Karlsson (D), Roman Josi (D), John Carlson (D), Victor Hedman (D), Adam Boqvist (D), John Klingberg (D), Mike Matheson (D), Calle Rosen (D), Lawrence Pilut (D), Oliver Kylington (D), Joel Persson (D), Semyon Varlamov (G), Ilya Samsonov (G), Braden Holtby (G), Matt Murray (G), Phoenix Copley (G), Daniil Tarasov (G), Ian Scott (G), Kappo Kahloken (G).


My issue is I have about two million in cap space and as things stand I have to extend Couture, whom we already know is making $8 million. I have Murray and Holtby signed already, but don't know how much they are going to make with both needing new NHL deals.


Players who are on two-way contracts are allowed to start the season in the minors. So I don't have to move Murray via a trade as I can let him sit for now and run with Holtby, Varlamov and Samsonov. If Holtby leaves Washington I might try and trade him. We do have a goalie max of 120 games played, so ideally I'd like to hit that with 2 "main" goalies and spot start a third.


Ultimately my question is, who do I keep and roster, and who do I move out or bench to make room for Couture's contract and possibly Holtby or Murray's contracts?


I have Erik Karlsson eating up 11.5 million. Is he a keep? I have a few other guys on two-way contracts like William Karlsson, Zucker, and Arvidsson in the $4.2 to $5.9 million range that can technically start in my minors next year or also be traded. Which of these do I bench or try and trade to free up cap space? I have Jonathan Marchessault at $5M and he's on a one-way contract so he has to be rostered or traded; the same goes for guys like O'Reilly ($7.5M) and Forsberg ($6M).


This question was tied closely enough to the salary cap for me to consult Alex MacLean, who pens the weekly Capped column. Here's what he had to say, with a few changes by me:


Two things stick out, the first being you’re loaded on defense. One reason to own Karlsson is to boost the stats from your defensemen; but you don’t need that. So having Karlsson isn’t added value; as such, you'd be best off finding a way to trade him. If you can’t get anything of value for him, then you can look to unload a couple other defensemen. Josi and Carlson are both at about the peak of their value right now. After all, it's called selling high for a reason….

The other thing I noticed is your forward depth includes a lot of mid-tier salary guys. Moving out two or three of them would be an easy and efficient way of dealing with your cap issues. Any of Forsberg, Karlsson, Zucker, Marchessault, and Arvidsson would fetch good returns, and it looks like you have some youth ready to fill their void(s).

Another option is that getting rid of Couture may actually be a better way to allocate your spending. He's not much more productive than any of those other middle-tier forwards, but is going to be paid a lot more. If you can get a similar package in return, he is the one I would look to move.

In the same vein, Holtby’s next contract may be more than he is worth as a goalie who either will be going to a new situation or losing starts to Samsonov.


In terms of my thoughts, I agree about Couture. Yes, even if San Jose is as bad as many think, someone has to score and Couture will be looked upon to carry the offensive load. But that's a lot of money for a guy who might not even find his way to 70 points, and that's if he stays healthy, which is no guarantee given his track record. I'm also no fan of Varlamov, whose career has mainly been one of injuries and overall disappointment. Yes, I realize that the Islanders are a very goalie-friendly team, and he's not paid a ton. But I might move him and one of the guys Alex mentioned to try and get a younger goalie in return, like MacKenzie Blackwood or Thatcher Demko, either of whom could pay off big time.

Another name I'd look to perhaps deal – despite what I said in responding to Queston #2 – is John Klingberg, who simply has not looked the same since the arrival of Miro Heiskanen. I fear a Shane Gostisbehere/Ivan Provorov-type of shift happening where the offensive d-man slumps and the all-around stud steps in. Plus Klingberg still is a name and doesn't make a ton. This might be your last time to move him for anything close to decent value.

Lastly, although I'm sure people are loath to trade for pending UFAs, I don't like the idea of having Dadonov going into 2020-21. He's 31 years old and looked considerably worse this past season even though he was still getting prime deployment. I fear a situation similar to what happened to Alexander Radulov where once he gets a huge deal he becomes unable to justify his price tag with his play. If you can find a suitor for him, I wouldn't think twice about cutting ties.


Question #8 (from dirtybirdy via the DobberHockey Forums)

I'm in a 12-team, 12-keeper roto league with 23 players rostered and starting lineups consisting of 3C, 3LW, 3RW, 3F, 6D, 1G. Each roster spot has an 82 games-played maximum. My roster is:


C – Mathew Barzal, Evgeni Malkin, Jack Hughes
LW – Artemi Panarin, Timo Meier, Max Pacioretty
RW – Ryan Strome, David Pastrnak, Andrei Svechnikov
F – Anze Kopitar, Nazem Kadri, Jakub Vrana, Conor Sheary, Garnet Hathaway, Andreas Athansiou
D –Ryan Pulock, Ryan Graves, Connor Murphy, Ben Chiarot, Ryan Suter
G- Connor Hellybuyck, Ilya Samsonov, Igor Shesterkin

My five keeper locks are Panarin, Pasta, Svechnikov, Malkin and Barzal. In terms of the other seven, should I keep two goalies? As you can see, goalie stats account for only 27% of the total scoring. What about my other skater keepers? Would you make any trades?


I can see the temptation in keeping two goalies since you have Shesterkin and Samsonov, who have great upside and there will be 144 players kept in total, meaning lots of goalie won't even make it back into the draft pool, and, in turn, causing the ones who are left to have inflated value. But with just one goalie starting and an 82 game maximum, I'm not leaning toward either of these guys being one of your 12 keeps, unless you truly lack 11 skaters who either are top 150 players in your format or who project to be in that echelon. So let's see if we can find six other skaters worthy of keeping.

First off, I'm keeping Malkin. Injury headaches or not, his points per game is so superb that even if he misses, let's say 20 games, but scores at a 1.2 point per game pace in the 62 he plays, right there you have 74 points. And let's say you just get point per every other game production from the guy you slot in to fill Malkin's spot – – that's 84 points, which is pretty darn good! In fact, I'd probably keep Malkin over Barzal if it came down to it, but let's see if that's the case.

Without knowing your categories, if SOG are included then Pacioretty also should make the cut for sure, as he seems to be thriving in Vegas. Yes, he's going to turn 32 before 2020-21 begins; however, his 4.3 SOG per game average at age 31+ puts him in some fine company. Since 2000-01, Alex Ovechkin has done so several times, but so too did Petr Bondra, Bill Guerin, and Brendan Shanahan, each of whom scored at a 65+ point pace at least once at age 33+. As such, Pacioretty probably makes the keeper list, and for sure if SOG is a category.

I'm also probably sticking with Kopitar. Yes, LA is not great and Kopitar is aging; however, he still will get the ice time and deployment sufficient to score 70+, with a better chance at 75 than 65. I also like the idea of holding Strome, who'll be signing an RFA deal that will ensure he still gets prime deployment, perhaps again with Panarin, giving you a nice one two punch. I'm also on board with Vrana, who has taken strides each season, first in 2018-19 getting into the top six, and then in 2019-20 finding his way onto PP1. His future looks bright, and you want it to brighten your team.

That leaves one more spot. And no other skaters dazzle me to be honest. Suter seems to be defying Father Time, so I could see holding him, or Pulock if you believe his long-awaited breakout will occur. But perhaps if you are so inclined you do end up retaining a second netminder, in which case I'd have it be Shesterkin, whom you can stream with Hellebuyck to get the best 82 goalie games you can.


Question #9 (from Philippe)

I’m in a keep-8 league where we start 3C, 3LW, 3RW, 4 D, 1 Util, 2G and have 5 Bench spots. Stats are: G, A, Pts, PPP, +/-, SOG, Hits, BS and W, SV, SV% AND GAA.

I already plan to keep Sebastian Aho, Elias Pettersson, Andrei Svechnikov, Brady Tkachuk, Mikko Rantanen, Jake Guentzel, and Dougie Hamilton. For my last keeper I'm torn between Kailer Yamamoto and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Who would you choose?


This is a very tough choice. Before getting hurt, Bjorkstrand was a point-per-game player over his most recent 30 contests, firing 128 SOG in the process. Those are jaw-droppingly great stats, especially for someone on the Blue Jackets. And that's the rub against Bjorkstrand – his team is far from an offensive powerhouse. Even still, for Bjorkstrand to have done what he did despite the struggles of the Columbus offense as a whole (27th in both team goals scored and PP conversion rate) bodes very well for him to be able to hit the ground running in 2020-21.

Yamamoto had 24 points in his last 23 games and became a fixture on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, which arguably was the top line for the Oilers as the season progressed. Where concern lies, however, is his lack of SOG (just 28 in those 23 games) and him not being a fixture on the top PP unit. Yes, Columbus had and figures to again have a poor PP, but Bjorkstrand will be an integral part of it. Yamamoto might find his way to PP1, but it's far from a lock; and in fact he saw zero PP time on any unit in his last seven games of the season. Looking at peripherals, Yamamoto hits more, but, as noted, shoots a ton less, so if anything Bjorkstrand would appear to hold the edge in non-scoring.

Both players are talented; but I'm taking the guy – Bjorkstrand – who showed that he can do it himself, rather than the guy – Yamamoto – who might be put into a great situation but could just as likely play himself out of the top six. Or to put it another way, things can't get any worse for Bjorkstrand, while they could for Yamamoto, making the choice Bjorkstrand for me based on what they've both shown.


Question #10 (from Cody)

I'm in a 16-team, keep-3 league with the following scoring categories: G (6), A (4), +/- (1), SOG (0.9), W (5), GAA (-3), SV (0.6). I have Mika Zibanejad and Jake Guentzel as locked in keepers. My last spot is up for debate between Dougie Hamilton and Igor Shesterkin. I'm afraid my status as a die-hard Rangers fan is preventing me from making an objective choice, so please let me know which to keep.


I do think your being a Ranger fan is making this decision seem closer than it is. Don't get me wrong, once Shesterkin becomes the number-1 netminder in the Big Apple, I can see him thriving in a league like this, as he'll face a lot of rubber but likely will emerge with a low GAA and high SV count, plus wins due to New York on track to get better and better in the coming years. The issue is Shesterkin might not be the clear cut #1 for 2020-21 unless Henrik Lundqvist walks away or is bought out and Alexander Georgiev is pushed into a true back-up role. What I suspect happens is the Rangers aim to give Shesterkin 35-45 stats this season, unless he truly dominates and Georgiev falters.

Conversely, keeping Hamilton will get you superb and immediate benefit. Hamilton's 2019-20 SOG and scoring rates put him in the rarified air of Al MacInnis and Ray Bourque, who were point-per-gamers several times. And like New York, Carolina projects to be a team on the rise. Guentzel is on a path to being elite, and a great fit for these categories given his SOG volume and goal scoring.  So, from where I sit, you should not keep Shesterkin. It's a tough pill to swallow in losing him, but all teams will have difficult non-keeps when they can only retain three. Of course not keeping a player isn't the same as losing him; but remember though, as much of a Rangers fan as you are, and as great as they project to be soon, don't let that influence your objectivity when it comes to drafting their players.


Question #11 (from simcast via the DobberHockey Forums)

I’m in two dynasty leagues. In League A, I won in 2018-19 and 2017-18 and finished second this season, whereas in League B I'm in the midst of a full rebuild, and have the first overall pick in this year's draft.  In both leagues we count G, A, +/-, PIM, PPPts, SOG and HIT. We also have a "farm team" in each, with a maximum of ten players per farm team and players having to graduate from the farm the season after they hit in 43+ total NHL games. Here's the situation for each league:


League A (12 teams)
Farm players that must be promoted: Troy Terry, Martin Necas, Jordan Kyrou, Sam Steel
Bubble keepers: Viktor Arvidsson, Victor Olofsson, Vincent Trocheck, Mike Hoffman, Clayton Keller
Should any of the farm guys be kept over one or more of the bubble player?

League B (10 teams)
Bubble players: Casey Mittelstadt, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Robert Thomas, Max Domi, Victor Olofsson
Is Necas could be a better choice of one the players above? Also, for a rebuilding team, what would you do with assets like Tuukka Rask, John Tavares, and Max Pacioretty? Should any be kept for the post-rebuild era, or should they be sold sooner rather than later?


For League A, to stay competitive you need to dial down risk, which makes me inclined not to retain any bubble players. The one exception might be Necas, whom I could see possibly replacing either Arvidsson or Trocheck. If Trocheck and Arvidsson rebound to past production levels though, it would take a big step forward for Necas to be more valuable, especially with Hits you get from Trocheck and SOG from Arvy. Looking at Necas' stats, he hits, but doesn't shoot much and I fear he's a couple of seasons away from being impactful, although he certainly does possess the talent to emerge sooner. For your team and situation in League A however, I'd just let all your Farm guys go back into the draft pool.

For League B, I'm not sure how many of the listed players you want to keep, but Thomas, Domi and Olafsson all strike me as guys you want to hold. Necas I'd definitely keep over Kotkaniemi or Middlestadt, probably Middlestadt, whom I think is looking more and more like he won't like up to the hype. At least with Kotkaniemi he's had two seasons of NHL time under his belt as a teen and that should make him better and sooner.

Of the three veterans you named, I think Tavares is all but assured to be a 75-point guy, with a better shot at rising to 80 than falling to 70, but little hope of much more than a point per game due to him aging and there only being so many points to go around in Toronto. Rask is also getting up there in age; but with his load being lightened in the past two years he's younger in NHL years than actual years, and Boston could still be a top team for several seasons before its core starts to decline. As for Pacioretty, as noted above his SOG total suggests, he's got more in the tank. However, I'm not sure his value will ever be this high again. I'd dangle all three and see what you get offered, since none has a risk of being much better than they've been. But be more inclined to pull the trigger on a Pacioretty deal, in case he does prove to be a one-year wonder in Vegas. The other option of course is to wait to make some or all deals until at or near the trade deadline, as by then contending teams will have needs to fill and these three could command more in return than they might in the offseason. But I'd be more inclined to do that with Rask or Tavares, and move Pacioretty before the season starts.



For those reading this now, it's never too early to start providing me with mailbag questions, which you can do in one of two ways: (1) by emailing them to [email protected] with the words "Roos Mailbag" as the subject line, or (2) by sending them to me via a private message on the DobberHockey Forums, where my username is "rizzeedizzee". Or if you prefer to wait, the time to get me question is right after each Roos Lets Loose Poll, since the mailbag normally runs the following week.

When sending me your questions, remember to provide as much detail about your league/situation as possible, since as you saw above in a couple of the questions there were some omitted details which made it difficult for me to give a truly proper answer. Examples of the types of things I need to know include what type of league you're in (i.e., limited keeper, dynasty, or one-year; roto vs H2H), does the salary cap matter, how many players are rostered (and of those, how many start at each position), what categories are scored and how are they weighted, plus other details if necessary (such as free agents available if you're thinking of dropping a player or rosters of both teams if you're thinking of making a trade). The key is to tell me enough for me to give you a truly proper answer, and for readers of this column to benefit from the answer/advice I provide. When in doubt, err on the side of inclusion. See you next week for Goldipucks and the Three Skaters!


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