Fantasy Hockey Mailbag: Trading Up for Lafreniere, Young Defenders, Konecny, & Shesterkin

Rick Roos

2020-07-29

As we move ever so closer to the NHL resuming play, what better way to celebrate than by emptying the mailbag and answering your fantasy hockey questions! Per usual, I'll aim to provide information 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.

 

Question #1 (from Jeff)

I'm in a 14 team dynasty league where you draft either unowned players or those eligible for that year's NHL Entry Draft. As a result, each team has roughly 75 players, including guys on the farm.

A deal I'm considering is my Trevor Zegras and 9th overall pick for the first overall pick, which I would then use on Alexis Lafreniere. Is this too much to give up for Lafreniere, especially after the disappointing rookie seasons from Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko? If it matters, I'd rank my team roughly fourth-best as it stands.

 

In a league where over 1000 players are owned, I think you do almost anything to get the first overall pick. Yes, recency bias makes you skeptical because of Hughes and Kakko; but as I noted in my review of my 15 Fearless Forecasts, those guys were not going into great situations. Also, prior to Hughes, the last 12 forwards who were picked #1 overall were Nico Hischier, Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, and Alex Ovechkin. So one bust (Yakupov), one TBD (Hischier), and one (Nugent-Hopkins) who looks to be coming into his own. The rest are already stars or superstars. In other words, forwards picked number one overall have a very solid track record, most recent results notwithstanding.

Also, with Lafreniere, not only is he considered the best player in the draft, at least by most; but he'll be going to one of the teams who lose in the play-in round of the playoffs. So although in the past the prior season's worst team hasn't always drafted #1 overall due to bad luck in the draft lottery, this time the team picking first overall we know will not be of the seven bottom teams. From where I sit, that will only help Lafreniere do better, and faster.

Long story short, Zegras might turn out well, and the ninth overall pick is nothing to sneeze at either (Mikael Sergachev, Timo Meier, Nikolaj Ehlers, Bo Horvat, Jacob Trouba, Dougie Hamilton, Mikael Granlund, Josh Bailey and Logan Couture were all drafted in that spot); but you have to roll the dice and make the deal to grab Lafreniere. Good luck!

 

Question #2 (from Steven)

I’m in a six-team league with line-ups consisting of 3C, 3LW, 3RW, 6D, 4G (max of five goalie starts per week), plus four Bench spots. Categories are, for skaters, G, A, +/-, PPG, PPPts, SOG, HIT, BLK, and, for goalies, W, SO, SV% and GAA. We’re allowed eight keepers, of which up to two can be goalies.

As of now, I intend to keep Auston Matthews, Nikita Kucherov, John Carlson, Blake Wheeler, Taylor Hall, Tuukka Rask, and Jacob Markstrom. Others who I could keep but decided against doing so are Jonathan Huberdeau, Tom Wilson, Johnny Gaudreau, Bryan Rust, Anthony Mantha, Jeff Petry, Mark Giordano, Ben Chiarot, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Matt Murray. 

Goals and peripheral stats are coveted in my league because those are tougher to find via FAs. And also, players with high assist totals are usually less valuable than players with high hits and blocks totals who are also decent scorers. Given this, would you swap out any of my proposed keepers? 

 

Let me stress at the outset that with there being only six teams and eight keepers per team, you need to ensure the guys you keep are rock solid. No reach guys, and no guys who are only great because they might be playing with other great players. You must stock your team with proven performers. And for sure that includes Huberdeau. Care to guess how many players have more points than him for 2018-19 and 2019-20 combined? Try eight. He's a lock.

Who should he replace? I'd say, Markstrom. I think in this league unless you have Andrei Vasilevskiy, Connor Hellebuyck, Tuukka Rask and perhaps Frederick Andersen, you do not keep a goalie. Why not? So many will be available and the rest of the pack are close enough in what they will bring to a team that you don't need to keep them. Instead, focus on forwards and defenseman, where more pronounced gaps exist between the best and the rest. So keep Rask, but not Markstrom.

The only other possible keep is Gaudreau, and it would come down to him versus Hall. Both had subpar 2019-20 seasons. The question is, who stands a better chance to rebound?

Hall's shooting percentage was abnormally low; and had it been his norm he'd have added roughly seven points. Beyond that, he'll be embarking on his first full season with the Coyotes, so it stands to reason he'll be better adjusted and improve his stats. As for Gaudreau, he too shot below his usual rate and would've had about five more points had his shot percentage been his norm. What concerns me is complacency, as there were rumors that he showed up to summer training camp out of shape and even whispers of him being dealt. He's also not very good at all in multi-cat leagues. I think it's a pretty close call on which to keep. You prefer Hall, and I can get behind that, as if all goes well for both of them then Gaudreau probably outpoints Hall by 10+; but Hall will have the better peripherals, making it a wash or even favoring Hall if that happens. And if there scoring is comparable, like it was this season, then Hall is the easy winner. Good Luck!

 

Question #3 (from Stéphane)

I'm in a keep 15 league with the same cap as the NHL. Each team has 19 rostered players (12 forwards, 5 defensemen, 2 goalies); and via our draft, each team adds eleven more players who can be any position. Four of the eleven are rostered, with salaries counting against the cap; but the other seven don't count against the cap until/unless they replace one of the 19 rostered players. Scoring is one point per goal or assist, two points for a goalie win, one point for a goalie loss in OT or Shootout. 

After winning my league in 2018-19, with half my team on their last contract years, I had to do a small reset for 2019-20. This year I'm all in, with 14 draft picks in nine rounds, including four of the first 20 overall picks, and a lot of young talent (e.g., Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shesterkin) are available to draft.

For my 15 keepers, my intention is to go 9F, 4D, 2G (forward positions don't matter). I don't have to finalize these choices until near the start of next season, but I'd still like to get some early thoughts as perhaps there are trades that could be made.

Aside from knowing that I'm keeping Elias Pettersson (whom I got in trade for Kirby Dach and Noah Dobson and is a cap bargain), who would be your other keeps from this group (2020-21 salary listed): Blake Wheeler (8.25M), Sean Couturier (4.33M), Jakub Vrana (3.35M), Jake Guentzel (6.0M), Conor Garland (0.77M), Anthony Mantha (RFA), Oliver Bjorkstrand (2.5M), Martin Necas (0.86M), Joe Pavelski (7.0M), Frank Vatrano (2.53M), Ryan Donato (1.9M), Cam Atkinson (5.87M), Sam Steel (0.86M), Drake Batherson (0.73M), Kirill Kaprisov (0.92M), Eeli Tolvanen (0.89M), Michael Ferland (3.5M), Dougie Hamilton ($5.75M), Keith Yandle (6.35M), Adam Fox (0.92M), Shea Theodore (5.2M), Brendan Guhle (0.80M), Devan Dubnyk (4.33M), Robin Lehner (UFA), Antii Raanta (4.25M), and Darcy Kuemper (4.5M).

 

For instances like these, I like to go one by one picking players who are must keeps and players who are must drops, until you reach a grey area. Doing that, you keep Pettersson but don't keep Pavelski. Then you keep Kaprizov but don't keep Ferland. Next, you keep Bjorkstrand and don't keep Yandle, who isn't per se overpaid but who is simply your weakest link on D. Next you keep Fox but drop Dubnyk, who seems to have played his way out of the Minnesota crease and, at 34 and several seasons removed from being a top tier netminder, cannot make the cut.

After that is where I think you've run out of guys who are "no brainer" drops. As such, we have to look at the roster and salaries to determine who should be retained. Wheeler carries with him a sizeable cap hit; but after a slow start, he was a point per game player. And as I've noted before in this column, there have been players who – like Wheeler – posted 91+ points twice in their 30s since 2000-21 and all went on to have at least an additional 90+ point season. I think you keep him one more year. I also like Couturier, who now seems like a 70-75 point lock, which, at $4.33M, is great. Vrana also is a guy I'd hold, as he's only gotten better with each season and will be playing for a new deal; plus he just had a season of 0.75+ points per game despite not playing even 15:00 per contest, and the last forward who did that was a guy named Nikita Kucherov.

With no boost for goals, Guentzel loses a bit of value; but even in his abbreviated 2020-21 he showed he was elite and the chemistry he has with Sidney Crosby is off the charts. He could end up being your top-scoring forward. Speaking of guys worth their price, Hamilton also is a must keep, as he put forth a combination of scoring/shooting not seen – other than Brent Burns – since the days of Ray Bourque and Al MacInnis, plus he's playing for a new deal. He could flirt with a point per game scoring in 2020-21.

So you're up to eight of your 15 keeps. Let's look at the inexpensive forwards, consisting of Garland, Necas, Steel, Batherson and Tolvanen. I think you keep Garland, as signs suggest he should be playing meaningful minutes plus will be on the last year of his deal. Steel also intrigues me as a player who seemed primed to take the next step and likewise is playing for a new deal. I like Necas and Batherson, but not for 2020-21. Tolvanen might end up a bust or just could use a change of scenery via a trade.

The next tier of forwards is Donato and Vatrano. Of them, Vatrano is interesting since Florida has two impending UFAs; and if even one leaves, that could make room for Vatrano. Then again, the spot might go to someone else. It's a tough call. We'll consider him a maybe. Donato is okay, but just okay, and not a real threat to markedly improve, in my opinion.

For forwards, that leaves Mantha. He'll probably sign for pretty decent money, but unless it's more than $5.5M I think he's a must keep since he was already starting to break out and should only get better, bad team notwithstanding. 

For your defensemen, I like Theodore at that price, as although he did have a lot of luck metrics in his favor this season, he is now "the guy" in Vegas. And whereas Vegas like to spread around ice time pretty evenly – man advantage included – concerning forwards, the same does not seem to apply to Theodore, who will have all the PP Time he needs plus good zone deployment. I like him at that price. Like most of your cheap forwards, Guhle is not going to be impactful soon enough to merit keeping.

In net, Lehner didn't do himself any favors; however, he's too good to risk not keeping. I probably also keep both Arizona guys, so you ensure you get the starter.

So your keeps are Pettersson, Kaprizov, Bjorkstrand, Fox, Wheeler, Couturier, Vrana, Guentzel, Hamilton, Garland, Steel, Mantha, Theodore, Lehner, Raanta, and Kuemper. Oops, that puts you at 16, which is one too many. Probably Steel can be subtracted, and voila, you get 15. None of the maybes needs to make the list, except perhaps if Wheeler proves too expensive or Mantha signs for too much.

One last thing – six of your 15 keepers (Kaprizov, Bjorkstrand, Vrana, Garland, Hamilton, and Raanta) will be on the last year of their deals, so keep that in mind, as several of them will be in line for substantial raises for 2021-22. Of course, other GMs will have the same dilemma; but I felt it was worth pointing out in case, for example, you might want to rethink any of the recommendations I made with this in mind. Good luck!

 

Question #4 (from Arthur)

I'm in a 12 team roto league with seven keepers and no limits on how many seasons a player can be kept. We roster 3C, 3LW, 3RW, 4D, and 2G, with four bench and two IR spots. Our scoring categories are, for skaters, G, A, +/-, PPP, SOG, Hits, Blocks, and, for goalies, W, GAA, SV%, SO. 

I have decided to keep Elias Pettersson, Brady Tkachuk, David Pastrnak and Connor Hellebuyck for sure, but am torn on the final three. Those I'm considering are Mitch Marner, Johnny Gaudreau, Bryan Rust, Neil Pionk, and Juuse Saros.

In case it affects your analysis, I don't have a draft pick until the end of the third round and goalies with good ratios and high number of starts are very valuable and either retained or drafted early. What's your take? Who should I keep?

 

If you're not picking until the end of the third round then theoretically you won't get one of the top 120 or so players, what with 84 being kept and another almost 36 being picked before you get a chance to select someone in the third round. Plus, goalie categories comprise 36% of your league's stats. Given those factors, I think you have to retain Saros, who should have a good shot at becoming if not a clear #1 in Nashville then at least a 50+ start guy.

To get to your last two keepers, first I'd remove Pionk. Could he be one of the top 120 performers in your league? Quite possibly; but your fellow GMs won't think of him so highly as to grab him in the first three rounds, and as such he's a non-keeper. Marner is already great and would assuredly be snagged early, so he's a keep. That means the last spot goes to Gaudreau or Rust. Here again, the categories are not great for Gaudreau, about whom, as noted above, we must have some doubts after last season. Rust is great in many of these categories and seems to have turned into Chris Kunitz 2.0 for Pittsburgh. If you toss back Rust, maybe he's available for redraft, whereas Gaudreau would be picked. Still, I probably go with Rust due to the categories and him looking like the real deal in Pittsburgh. Good luck!

 

Question #5 (from Logan)

I'm in a ten-team roto league (categories of G, A, +/-, PIM, PPPts, SHP, SOG, GWG; W, SV, Shots Faced, SV%, SO) where each team can keep any seven players this year, but next year that number likely will shrink to six. So you know, goalies are snatched up early and often in our draft; but I've found success in many years by resisting that temptation and instead cobbling together goalies via late picks or FA adds. My list of what I feel are potential keepers consists of: Marc-Andre Fleury, Igor Shesterkin, Darcy Kuemper, Robin Lehner, Max Pacioretty, Kris Letang, Adam Fox, Zach Werenski, Ryan Ellis, Max Pacioretty, Mika Zibanejad, Brady Tkachuk, Tyler Seguin, Travis Konecny, Evgeni Kuznetsov, Jonathan Marchessault, Sean Couturier, Jakub Vrana, Artemi Panarin, and Nikolaj Ehlers.

My initial instinct is to keep Panarin, Zibanejad, Shesterkin, and probably Seguin. Offseason trades are allowed and do sometimes occur. Do you agree with the players I'm learning toward? Either way, who would your seven be?

 

I agree about Panarin and Zibanejad; both are cornerstone keepers. You didn't list roster sizes or how many start at each position, but I'm likely keeping only one d-man, and I probably go with Letang, as although he's an injury risk and you don't get his blocks and hits, he is "the guy" on his team's blueline, whereas Wereneski has Seth Jones and Fox has Tony DeAngelo. As for keeping a goalie, it's either Shesterkin or Fleury. Kuemper is very good; however, he's in a goalie share scenario, and if I'm going with a shared guy it's Shesterkin, who has amazed each league and level at which he's played, and for sure will be the clear #1 in New York by 2021-22 at the latest. Lehner could be great if he lands in the right spot and is allowed to shine, but we can't be sure either of those things will happen. You seem to prefer Shesterkin and I can get behind that over Fleury, who seemingly is starting to show signs of breaking down due to age, as pointed out in my 15 Fearless Forecasts revisited column. Do try to trade Fleury and/or Kuemper.

That leaves room for three other forwards. Although I think he overachieved somewhat in 2019-20, Pacioretty should get a spot. He's almost perfectly suited for these categories; and if he even gives you 80% of what he did in 2019-20 that'll be very good. I'm inclined to go with Seguin too. Seguin's issue is he's a great player but not so great that he can do it himself, which is an issue since his supporting cast of linemates are old (Joe Pavelski, Alex Radulov, Corey Perry) or wearing down (Jamie Benn). As such, I think Seguin's days of more than 70 points are over, but not his days of tons of SOG, a key in this league.

To me, the last spot is between Konecny, Vrana, Marchessault and Kuznetsov. I worry that for 2020-21 Kuz and Vrana might split time on PP1, which is not ideal for either. Marchessault is – as pointed out in my recent Goldipucks column – a 55-60 point player who had a fluke superb season. But he shoots a ton. Still, I'm not sure his SOG prowess merits keeping him over Konecny, who should outscore him by 15+ points. If you want the guy who'll be toughest to redraft, that's Kuznetsov. But I'd probably go with who I feel is a safer bet in Konecny. Of course try and trade the other forwards who don't make the cut, plus perhaps even Couturier and Ehlers. Good luck!

 

Question #6 (from Barry)

I'm in a dynasty league that has 10 teams and 33 roster spots plus 18 prospects, where a prospect must be either promoted and kept or dropped after 60 NHL games, and with skater categories of G, A, PPPts, SOG, HIT, BLK.

For 2019-20 I had to promote Rasmus Andersson and he underwhelmed in terms of his production, although I wasn't really expecting too much from him. What I am hoping is in 2020-21 he takes a nice step forward. This offseason I need to make room for Philippe Myers. As with Andersson, I’m not really expecting him to blossom right away, but him becoming a stat-stuffing 40 point d-man down the road would be nice.

What are your expectations for Andersson and Myers in the next season or two? Do you have any suggestions of young d-men who would roughly fit the mold of one or maybe two years of dead weight before becoming solid contributors by year three on an NHL roster?

 

Taking the last question first, guys who might be under the radar now but could step up and be decent either in 2020-21 or 2021-22 are Rasmus Sandin, what with Tyson Barrie perhaps on his way out, and Noah Dobson, as the Islanders don't have anyone suited to be a PP QB, and he could step into that role. I also think Buffalo will lean on Henri Jokiharju a lot more this season. Two risk/reward guys could be Sami Niku and Josh Mahura; both have a lot of talent, but their teams seem content to bring them along slowly. If either was able to get a regular role though, they could shine.

As for Andersson and Myers, I like that Andersson was up to nearly 20 minutes per game in 2019-20. But even though he averaged 1:29 per game on the PP for the season as a whole, he received a total of four seconds of PP time in the team's last seven games, although that did coincide with the arrival of Erik Gustaffson, who is unlikely to be re-signed. Still, as long as Mark Giordano remains in the picture I think Andersson will continue to produce in the 20s.

Myers didn't even get sniffs of PP time; and the team likely views him as their sixth or seventh d-man. Also, even if Shayne Gostisbehere is shipped out, I don't see Myers being a major beneficiary, as the PP time would go to Travis Sanheim or Matt Niskanen. Myers might end up following a similar trajectory as teammate Robert Hagg. Long story short, I'm not too keen on either Andersson or Myers.

 

Question #7 (from Avs31 via the DobberHockey Forums)

I'm in a 9 team keeper with the following categories: G (4), A (4), +/- (0.5), PIM (0.5); W (5), GA (-0.5), SV (0.1), SO (5) and where we start 15F, 7D, and 3G. We get to keep 30 players and I think I have some very tough decisions to make as I'm definitely in win now mode but I also don't want to mortgage my team's future. Would you replace anyone in my proposed list of 30 with any of the "close call" guys?

Proposed keepers

William Karlsson, Elias Lindholm, Tom Wilson, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nathan MacKinnon, Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Couturier, Ryan Strome, Filip Chytil, Andrei Svechnikov, Mitch Marner, Alex DeBrincat, John Carlson, John Klingberg, Keith Yandle, Tyson Barrie, Shea Theodore, Mark Giordano, Sergei Bobrovsky, Philipp Grubauer, Kirill Kaprizov, Juuse Saros, Matt Dumba, Ilya Sorokin, Roope Hintz, Shayne Gostisbehere, Jason Zucker. 

Close call guys

Bryan Rust, Braden Holtby, Noah Hanifin, Rickard Rakell, Kevin Labanc, Andrei Burakovsky, Vince Dunn, Pavel Francouz.

 

Goalies seem like they matter a lot because there are as many categories (four) as skater categories, plus 3Gs start; but when you crunch the numbers, the -0.5 for GAA devalues them significantly. Bob and Holtby tallied, respectively, 178 and 180 fantasy points, which translates to waiver wire material for a forward. Even still, I can see keeping Saros, who likely becomes the #1 in Nashville; and maybe Bob is worth holding since Florida has no choice but to let him play out of whatever funk he was in, which, by the way, he has done in the past. But other than those two I don't keep another netminder. Sorokin was considered the best goalie outside of the NHL and now is signed; but Semyon Varlamov is inked for several more years and the brass on Long Island seems not to like rolling with a true #1 goalie, which cuts against the value of both. As for Grubauer, I previously noted I think he's in danger of being a 1B. So in the end, I can't see the wisdom in keeping more than Saros plus Bobrovsky, who I think can rebound and due to three goalies starting in your league.

Who's added in place of Grubauer and Sorokin? Rust, as noted above, he's the new Chris Kunitz for Pittsburgh and provided he stays healthy I can't see a scenario where he regresses. Instead, 70 points seem very likely, with a realistic shot at even more. I also like Burakovsky as a keeper, as if Colorado opts to spread around its offense he's the best bet to get promoted to the top line. And even if that's not the case, he showed he can put up solid numbers playing on the second line and PP2.

Could Dunn outperform Ghost, especially if Pietrangelo isn't re-signed? Quite possibly; however, I think you have to roll the dice and go with the risk/reward of Ghost.

Zucker did well, but that was without a healthy Jake Guentzel in the line-up. Still, though, I think Zucker stays in the top six, making him a keep.

I'm not sure how much better Hintz can get since the new coaching staff did not seem too keen on deploying him in productive situations. I like Rakell instead. At worst he's a 50-55 point guy; but his upside is in the 60s, which I'll take over Hintz, a seemingly very good player who's in a subpar situation.

Labanc is better than he showed in 2020-21, but he plays for a poor team and I'm not sure he rebounds enough to push aside one of your proposed keepers. The only ones I could see making way for him would be Giordano, whose age might be catching up to him, or Chytil, although I do see him being more in the mix next season. Probably I roll the dice with them though, rather than with Labanc. That just leaves Hanifin, who for sure should not be a keeper.

So in sum, I like removing Grubauer, Sorokin, and Hintz. In their place, I like keeping Rust, Burakovsky, and Rakell. Good luck!

 

Question #8 (from Chris)

I'm in a 12 team, H2H dynasty league counting G, A, PTS, PPG, PPPts, PIM, SOG, HIT, BLK, TK; W, SV, SV%, GAA as categories. I need a roster of 26 (as of now I have 24) and a farm of no more than ten (as of now I have 15). The 24 on my roster consist of:

Forwards: Dylan Larkin, Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Fiala, Max Domi, Dylan Strome, Nick Ritchie, Robert Thomas, Nikita Gusev, Filip Forsberg, Elias Lindholm, Jeff Skinner, Tomas Hertl, Alex Tuch, Pierre-Luc Dubois; Defensemen: Ivan Provorov, Matt Dumba, Morgan Rielly, Cale Makar, Charlie McAvoy, Dustin Byfuglien, Darnell Nurse; Goalies: Frederick Anderson, Sergei Bobrovsky, Elvis Merzlikins

Those on my farm are: Kirill Kaprizov, Jason Robertson, Klim Kostin, Owen Tippett, Nicolas Hague, Barrett Hayton, Rasmus Sandin, Emil Brannstrom, Drake Batherson, Eeli Tolvanen, Juuso Valimaki, Vasil Podkolzin, Kaapo Kahkonen, Spencer Knight.

To get to the ten farm keepers, I can either drop guys or promote them to the main roster, in which case they become one of the 26 maximum I can carry there. Please approach this question knowing that I consider my team in the midst of a rebuild – that is, I'm not looking to win this year for sure and perhaps not for a few more. I also hold five of the first ten overall picks in my league's draft, including second and third overall.

Can you pick the bottom three of this list and make some comments on why you put them there?

 

The second I read rebuild and saw the name Dustin Byfuglien, I knew he should be traded or dropped outright. My guess is you can get something for him from a contending team hoping that somehow he returns to the NHL. But he's of no use to you given your situation and his. Trade him for a draft pick if you can; otherwise, drop him outright. Or trade him with a draft pick for a draft pick upgrade.

The other name on your roster that jumps out to me is Nick Ritchie. Yes, he's still only 24 and a former tenth overall pick. He's also a bigger guy; and players of that mold tend to take longer – if ever – to find their game. Look no further than Denis Gurianov this season. But what concerns me about Ritchie is he seems to be shooting and hitting less by the year. He wore out his welcome in Anaheim and had two points in seven games for Boston. At this point, I'd put the chances of him being an impactful player at maybe 20%, if even that. With a success rate that unlikely, I'd rather take a chance on your prospects. If you can trade Ritchie for any sort of a draft pick or with a pick for a pick upgrade, which I highly doubt, by all means, do so; otherwise, drop him and don't think twice about doing so.

I'm also unsure whether you should be keeping Jeff Skinner. Is he better than the 32 points full season scoring pace player he was in 2019-20? Definitely; but at the same time, I think his 63 point season in 2018-19 was a substantial overachievement. What he has going for him is Buffalo doesn't have a ton of talent that would relegate him to the bottom six, plus his game isn't suited for such a role. But he seems to be playing older than 28, and I'd say he might not best the 50 point mark again, or if so not 55. Heck, he might become Kyle Okposo 2.0. Of course trading, Skinner now is not ideal, as his value has never been lower. But for a rebuilding team, I'd keep all your prospects rather than hold Skinner. Do the same for him as you did with Byfuglien, namely trade him for a pick or with a pick to get a pick upgrade.

In the end, you keep all your prospects, which you want to do on a rebuild. And you hopefully turn some dead weight (Ritchie) and assets who don't help you (Byfuglien and Skinner) into more and/or even better picks than you already have. Good luck with the rebuild!

 

Question #9 (from Sandra)

I'm in a 12 team H2H league starting 2C, 2RW, 2LW, 4D, 1UTIL, 3G, and with 6 bench spots. Categories are G, A, PPPts, SOG, FOW, HIT, BLK; W, GAA, SV%, SHO. Each team keeps six, which become their first six rounds of draft picks. There are 20 draft rounds total, with it being possible to trade for/away picks in rounds 11-20 but not those in rounds 7-10. I have all my draft picks except my 20th rounder, and I have two picks in round 13.

I took over this team last season just after the draft, and it was thin on talent to say the least. So I focused on making trades in order to get six top keepers, whom I believe are Connor McDavid, Brad Marchand, Mark Scheifele, Morgan Rielly, Frederick Andersen, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Others I could keep are Dominik Kubalik, Bryan Rust, Nikita Gusev, Vincent Trocheck, Joel Eriksson-Ek, Ryan Reaves, Mike Hoffman, Brayden McNabb, Kevin Shattenkirk, Duncan Keith, Alec Martinez, Keith Yandle, Dmitri Orlov, and Anton Khudobin.

My objective is to be in the title hunt this season. What do you think about my keepers? Should I look to move Vas or Andersen, what with goalies being unpredictable and those two commanding a lot of value? Is Rielly worth keeping; if not, then who – Yandle? I really dislike Marchand and would prefer to trade him; who would I target? Do I consider trading McDavid, whom I paid a steep price to get in a deal but who, in turn, could fetch a strong return?

 

Goalie categories comprise 36% of your scoring, and you start three of them. And although you are correct that we're in a new era of sorts where no goalie is guaranteed to be superb year in and year out, I believe Vasilevskiy and Andersen are two you should keep. Since you don't count Saves, just SV%, I'd try to draft guys who figure to get 25-35 starts and will give you solid GAA and SV% numbers, like Jaroslav Halak, Khudobin, and Pavel Francouz, with Francouz, I believe, having a real shot to steal the #1 job in Colorado.

I also think you need to bite the bullet and keep Marchand. Guess how many players have more points per game than him over the past three seasons? Try three – McDavid, Nikita Kucherov, and Nathan MacKinnon. Yes, Marchand is not young; however, he has shown no signs of slowing and Boston's top line is pure gas. Fantasy hockey is about building the best team. If you let emotion or fandom enter the equation, it will hurt your team.

Rielly is a concern. Sheldon Keefe installed him in more of a shutdown role during 2019-20, gifting the PP1 QB role to Tyson Barrie. But Rielly might not have been playing at 100%, plus Barrie would have to re-sign with the team for there even to be a chance that Rielly doesn't get reinstalled as the top dog, including on the PP. And for that to happen Barrie would need to take a lot less money. Could it happen? Sure; but I think Barrie will go elsewhere and Rielly will rebound. Also, your only other d-man option is Yandle, who, as touched upon above, slowed significantly as the season wore on, saw his ice time shrink, and looked like a shell of his former self. Perhaps Yandle's iron man streak has caught up to him; but even if he keeps his role as PP1 QB, he still might have a tough time getting much more than 50 points if he plays as little as he was when the season ended. I roll the dice with Rielly.

I'm not trading McDavid in your shoes. Placing aside the fact that you literally just dealt for him, what would you look to get in return? It's not like you can move him for a high draft pick, and the caliber of player(s) it would take to get him are likely owned by GMs who wouldn't want to move them. Stick with McDavid and I highly doubt you'll be disappointed.

I like Scheifele as your last keeper. Another potential option is Mike Hoffman, who just had his best season which happened to occur as a UFA to be and fell below Scheifele's 80-85 consistent point range. There's also Rust, whom I discussed a couple of times in answering earlier questions. Could Rust end up with more fantasy points than Scheifele? It's possible given Rust's multicat contributions; but that's if all goes right, including Rust staying healthy, which has been an issue. Although Scheifele is not spectacular, he's solid; and I like him as your final keeper over Rust. Congrats on a great rebuild, and good luck!

 

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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 questions 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!

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

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